6. Russian Orthodoxy (41 pages)
From Schmemann's A History of the Orthodox ChurchPage 11
For all its participation in state affairs, the hierarchy continued to recognize that it represented another, higher whole, the Church Universal, and this made its patriotic contributions weightier and more independent. One sees this awareness even in the first Russian primates. But the stronger Moscow and the power of the Moscow princes became, the weaker became the authority of the metropolitan of Moscow. At a local council held in 1459, the Russian bishops solemnly pledged not to withdraw the metropolitan see from Moscow.
There is no doubt that the nationalization of the Russian Church and its gradual liberation from Constantinople was inevitable. The link had lost its value in the fifteenth century; in impoverished and ruined Byzantium, bribes and deception were frequently stronger than canonical and universal consciousness. Still one must note this narrowing of the horizon of the Russian Church, its gradual subordination to governmental rationale, and its transformation into an “aspect” of the life of the state.
The change in relations between Church and state is connected with the terrible moral collapse that followed upon the Mongol domination. This experience in slavery inevitably brought forth its fruit. The Russian character was completely coarsened and poisoned by “Tatarism.”
The princes themselves had to go to the Horde with declarations of their slavish submission and constantly tremble before the might of the Despot and the constant denunciations of spies, even among their own brother princes . . . For the people this school of slavery was even more oppressive; they had to bow down before every passing Tatar, do all that he asked, and get rid of him by deceit and bows . . .
Duplicity, slyness, prostration, base displays of the instinct of self-preservation, became the virtues of the era, preached even by the morality of the chronicles.
“Tatarism” — lack of principle and a repulsive combination of prostration before the strong with oppression of everything weak — unfortunately marked the growth of Moscow and the Muscovite culture from the very beginning, and it is incomprehensible, in view of such monstrous aberrations of religious nationalism, why the Moscow period captivated the minds of Russian Churchmen for so long and became for them the standard of Holy Russia.
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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/schmemann-orthodoxy-6-russian-orthodoxy.asp?pg=11