Russian history 12: Christian church in early Russia

Christianity brought a number of new institutions to Russia. One of them was the church hierarchy. Russia has got its own metropolitan, appointed by the patriarch of Constantinople. He lived in Kiev and appointed bishops to other cities. During the earlier years, there were five bishops, but later their number grew to fifteen. Churches and monasteries were supervised by these bishops. In this way, the authority of the metropolitan embraced the whole country. Christianity also brought literacy to Russia. The church books were written in Slavic language by St. Cyril and St. Methodius and their Bulgarian followers. So, immediately after the adoption of Christianity, first schools appear in Russia, run by priests. The metropolitan and the clergy in general managed their subordinates according to the laws collected in the book called Nomocanon (called also the Governing Book in Russian). The book included both ecclesiastical laws and some civil laws of the Byzantine emperors. The churches possessed lands, where the clergy used Byzantine laws and customs and established the relations between the church and the peasants, which were typical for Greece.

So, the new religion also brought to Russia new authorities, new education, new laws and traditions. Since the religion itself came from Byzantium, all related customs also had the Byzantine character.

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