Tamara Vasil’evna Panich,

Doctor of Philological Sciences, Institute of History of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russia, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Church Writers of the Second Half of the 17th Century in the Struggle Against Schism


 DOI: 10.31518/2618-9100-2024-2-10

 The church reform of the second half of the 17th century, initiated by Patriarch Nikon and Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, and the split of the Russian Orthodox Church led to the appearance of numerous polemical writings reflecting the contradictions between adherents and opponents of ceremonial innovations. Of the many texts of the second half of the 17th century related to the topic of schism, written on both sides of the conflict, the texts of representatives of the patriarchal Church have been studied to a lesser extent than the writings of defenders of the “old faith”. This circumstance determined the purpose of this article. The anti-Old Believers writings of church writers of the second half of the 17th century: Epiphaniy Slavinetsky, Simeon Polotsky, Athanasiy Kholmogorsky, Ignatiy (Rimsky-Korsakov), etc. are used as research materials. Based on the materials of the texts of these authors, the features of the struggle against schism in the second half of the 17th century are considered, the forms of organization of polemical discourse are revealed, the problematic and main directions of criticism of the views of the defenders of the “old faith” are determined. One of the first accusers of the opponents of the ritual reform was Epiphany Slavinetsky, who wrote several sermons on the topic of schism. The writer defended the position of the Church, explained and justified the reasons and the need for Patriarch Nikon’s reform, and denounced the ignorance of its opponents. Later, the writings of other church writers aimed at combating the schism appeared, “The Rod of Government” by Simeon Polotsky, “The Spiritual Covenant” by Athanasiy Kholmogorsky, “The Word on Nikita Pustosvyat” by Patriarch Joachim, etc. The study of these texts allows us to see how the directions of criticism developed, which were formulated by Epiphany Slavinetsky in the earliest period of the confrontation. Over time, the writings of the writers gradually actualize new controversial topics, new methods of denouncing the advocates of the “old faith” and their teachings, and the range of sources used as arguments in the fight against the schism in the second half of the 17th century significantly expands.

Publishing: 28/04/2024

The article has been received by the editor on 03/03/2024

Original article >

How to cite: Panich T.V. Church Writers of the Second Half of the 17th Century in the Struggle Against Schism // Historical Courier, 2024, No. 2 (34), pp. 147–155. [Available online: http://istkurier.ru/data/2024/ISTKURIER-2024-2-10.pdf]

The article was made on the topic of the state assignment “The Past in the Manuscript Sources of the 16th–20th Centuries: Preservation and Development of Traditions” (FWZM-2024-0006).

Links: Issue 2 2024

Keywords: 17th century; church writers; Old Believers; struggle against schism