Irina Leonidovna Mankova,

Candidate of Historical Sciences, Institute of the History and Archaeology of Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterinburg, Russia, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Ritual Practices in the Space of a Diocesan City: The Meetings of Siberian Bishops in Tobolsk (17th – Early 18th Centuries)


 DOI: 10.31518/2618-9100-2024-2-9

 The Siberian and Tobolsk diocese was established in 1620. The presence of bishops in Tobolsk diversified the religious life of the city with new ritual practices. Important events were the arrival of new bishops to Tobolsk and the return of ruling bishops from long trips. The meetings were held according to royal decrees, which regulated the ceremony. An analysis of the order to Archbishop Macariy (1625), royal letters on the arrival of Archbishops Cyprian (1621), Gerasim (1640) and Corneliy (1665), as well as their comparison with the decree on the arrival of the Kazan Archbishop Guriy (1555) showed that the recommendations were of a general nature. Administrators, clergy and all townspeople were supposed to meet the bishop outside the city with a procession and honor. The liturgical part of the ritual is described in detail in the letter of 1555. It was not reproduced in the letters of the 17th century. Without this it was carried out according to generally accepted canons. Despite the commonality of norms, in the conditions of a particular diocesan city the ceremony had to be adapted to the proposed circumstances. The ritual involved movement throughout the territory of Tobolsk, so the complex terrain and cultural landscape of the city, as well as the circumstances of arrival (seasonality, church calendar), were taken into account. All visits of bishops are reflected in the Siberian Chronicle Code (SCC). 13 entries were made, the vast majority of them are of the same type and laconic. Based on the records of the SCC in the literature, an idea was formed of a single scenario for the meeting ritual: the arrival of the bishop at the Znamensky Monastery, the beginning of the service in the monastery church, then a procession with a religious procession to the mountainous part of the city, where the bishop’s courtyard and St. Sophia Cathedral were located. After the liturgy in the cathedral church, the bishop went to his residence. Detailed descriptions of the meetings of Archbishop Nektariy in 1636 (from the travel records of clerk S. Khlomov), Metropolitans Paul in 1687 (from two copies of the Golovin edition of the SCC) and Ioann in 1712 (from the Chronicle of Siberia by I. Cherepanov) made it possible to doubt the static nature of the meeting ritual, trace its changes and adaptation to the changing urban space. A hypothesis has been put forward about the connection between the ritual practice of meetings and the symbolic perception of urban space: the procession of bishops along the mountain to the bishop’s courtyard was associated with the biblical story of the procession of Jesus Christ to Mount Zion. Detailed descriptions of the participation of the Tobolsk garrison in meetings of the late 17th – early 18th centuries may indicate the existence of secular regulations for this ceremony.

Publishing: 28/04/2024

The article has been received by the editor on 02/01/2024

Original article >

How to cite: Mankova I.L. Ritual Practices in the Space of a Diocesan City: The Meetings of Siberian Bishops in Tobolsk (17th – Early 18th Centuries) // Historical Courier, 2024, No. 2 (34), pp. 133–146. [Available online:]

Links: Issue 2 2024

Keywords: Siberian and Tobolsk diocese of the 17th–18th centuries; ritual of meeting the bishop; Orthodox ritual practices