Church in the War of 1812
The war of 1812 received from his contemporaries the honorary name of the Patriotic War, since all the classes of Russian society took part in the defense of the Fatherland. The Russian Orthodox Church, which was the spiritual and moral foundation of the Russian Empire, played a very important role in this war. She conducted multilateral activities aimed at maintaining the people's religious and patriotic sentiment and the organization of the resistance movement.
One of the main activities of the Orthodox clergy was the anti-Napoleonic church sermon, during which not only explained the just, liberating nature of the war, but also created an impartial, “godless”, and sometimes even “dark”, that is, “unclean” image of the enemy and thought was held that Russia is intended by God to stop the atrocities of Napoleon and free Europe from him. In the appeal of the Holy Synod, the speeches of church hierarchs, the clergymen’s sermons, Napoleon was presented not only as a usurper, enslaver of mankind, “a violent enemy of peace and blessed silence”, but also as a persecutor of the Christian church who had departed from God.The connection of the events with the revolution of 1789 was emphasized, during which the French people executed the legitimate king Louis XVI and desecrated their own temples, which earned the curse of God, which also spread to those countries that followed France.
Artist I. Luchaninov. Blessing of the 1812 Militia
This war was realized as a “test” that fell to Russia, which it must overcome with God's help and establish itself even more “in the hope of Providence” (1). Religious phraseology was also actively used by secular propaganda, during which France and Russia opposed each other as “godlessness” and “piety”, as “vice” and “virtue” (2, pp. 50–57). At the beginning of the war in the army, by order of the Minister of War M. B. Barclay de Tolly, the regimental priests distributed the Kabbalistic explanation of two places from the Apocalypse, the final part of the Bible, where the name of Emperor Napoleon was calculated to be 666, indicating the his demonic essence, and also predicted his imminent fall (3).The action of the anti-Napoleonic appeals was intensified by the blasphemous attitude of the enemy to the Orthodox shrines, which caused an unprecedented religious and patriotic upsurge in the army and the people. Propaganda has become one of the most effective measures developed by the government and the Church to combat foreign invasion, which had a huge scale and a high degree of danger.
Religious accusations against Napoleon can not be called unfounded. The persecutions of the Church and the clergy of the Great French Revolution, as well as the pragmatic, even unprincipled church policy of Napoleon, his repeated clashes with Pope Pius VII, which ended in 1809 with the excommunication of the French emperor from the Church and the capture of the Roman high priest, created in his contemporaries a sense of a certain spiritual and religious the revolt raised by Napoleon against Christianity. The great army, which covered half Europe with blood, plundered and desecrated Russian Orthodox churches, was indeed perceived by many as a kind of dark force, and its leader was compared with the Antichrist, the appointee of Satan,which, according to Christian eschatology, should appear on earth shortly before the second coming of Christ and concentrate all the evil that exists on it to fight against the Christian church. According to a number of memoirists, on the eve and during the war of 1812, many tried to find answers “to the topic of the day” in the Bible, and above all in the Apocalypse, the book of prophecies. For example, a contemporary of events, DI Zavalishin, recalled that in 1812, even in the deep rear, "everywhere they talked about what would happen to Russia, what Bonaparte would do to her", in houses where "there was a Slavic Bible, they ran around to predict "(4, p. 17). According to Lieutenant I. T. Radozhitsky, Napoleon’s name was thrilled by the “Russian mob”, which “did not otherwise understand him, as the Antichrist,” according to the consonance “with the apocalyptic Apollyon” - the demon of extermination, destruction and death (5, p. . 13). There were rumors among the people that an army of the devil is marching toward Russia, whose soldiers are afraid of the cross (6, p. 113-115).
The Orthodox clergy took direct part in the organization and activities of the national militia. Immediately after the release of the highest manifesto of July 6, 1812 on the convening of the militia, the Holy Synod issued an appeal,in which, in particular, he ordered the clergy to “teach everyone in word and deed not to value any property other than faith and the Fatherland”. In terms of the fulfillment of this prescription by the clergy, the case that occurred on July 25, 1812 in Tambov during a meeting of the Nobility Assembly, which considered the issue of creating a militia, is indicative. Bishop Jonah (Vasilevsky) of Tambov and Shatsk, having performed Divine Liturgy, entered the house where the meeting was held, performed prayer with singing, and turned to the nobility and the merchants with a short speech, urging them to “unite and brush their teeth. to prove that "we are for the holiness of faith, for the house of the Mother of God, for the honor and glory of our great monarch, ready to conquer or die." Jonah was the first to make three thousand rubles to create a militia. This act, according to an eyewitness, “prompted all states to commendable competition” (7).
On July 25, 1812, Emperor Alexander I approved the report of the Holy Synod, which offered to donate 1.5 million rubles from the profits from the sale of candles in churches, to contribute to the compilation of new forces (that is, the militia), and allow the clerkschildren of clergymen and clergymen and seminarians (not above the rhetorical class), if they so desire, retire to the militia. Since that time, the clergy began collecting cash donations across the country. Judging by the reports of diocesan bishops stored in the archives of the Synod, as well as some other sources, the total amount of donations of the clergy to the militia (together with 1.5 million rubles, the Synod) amounted to: 2 405 076 rubles 60 kopecks in banknotes, 27 214 rubles 88 kopecks silver, 556 gold rubles, 3388 rubles 10 kopecks with copper; 60 pounds 27.5 pounds of 67.5 silver spool and 10 pounds of 18.5 gold spool in articles and ingots (8).
The militia received 412 people of the clergy, including students of theological academies, seminaries and county schools. For example, the Kazan Theological Academy gave 56 people, Kiev - 22, Kaluga Theological Seminary - 50. Vasily Yakhontov, a student of the Kostroma Theological Seminary, who served as a volunteer in the militia, was promoted to non-commissioned officer (9).
In addition to seminarians and clergymen, who, like those who had no holy dignity, could take up arms, priests were attached to the militia units.They performed the same functions as the military clergy in the regular army. Some of the trips did not return. Thus, for example, in October 1814, Archpriest of the 3rd detachment of the St. Petersburg militia Alexei Shashkevich died near Warsaw.
Before the militia went on the march, the clergy, as a rule, served a prayer service and handed icons and consecrated banners to the commanders of the detachments. The Emperor Alexander I of the Moscow Militia conveyed the image of St. Sergius of Radonezh sent to him by the Moscow Metropolitan Platon (Levshin).
In the regular army, each regiment had its own priest, its own camp church, and, as a rule, its icon, which was considered the patroness of this army unit. During the Patriotic War in the Russian army for three months was also a common shrine - the miraculous icon of the Smolensk Mother of God, taken out of Smolensk on August 5, 1812, while leaving the city and returned to it after its liberation. On the eve of the Battle of Borodino, on August 25, the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God was carried throughout the military camp. In the evening before her, in the presence of M. I. Kutuzov, a prayer service was served.
Divine services and prayers, regularly conducted by regimental priests, raised the morale of the Russian army and strengthened its courage. Before the battle, bypassing the positions of their regiments, the priests reminded the soldiers of their duty and oath. On the battlefield under enemy fire, they admonished the dying, and if necessary they inspired the soldiers with a personal example — they stood up with a cross in their hand in front of the regiment, dragging him into the attack.
According to the Synod’s archive, in 1812, there were 240 members of the army clergy department, about 200 of whom participated in the Patriotic War and the foreign campaigns of the Russian army of 1813-1814, 14 regimental priests were wounded and contused. The priest of the Chernigov Dragoon Regiment Cyril Zabuzhenkov died in the battle of Borodino. Many clerics have been awarded various awards. So, for example, in 1812–1814, 30 regimental priests were awarded skufy, 35 - Kamilavka, 12 - a gold pectoral cross, issued from the Holy Synod, 8 - the Order of St. Anne (10) for the differences in military actions. The most famous during the war of 1812 was the priest of the 19th Eger regiment Vasily Vasilkovsky, who was awarded the feat of St. George of the 4th class for the feat in the battle of Maloyaroslavets (11).In the history of Russia, this was the first, and in the period of the Napoleonic wars, the only time that such an award was given to a priest.
On the territory of Central Russia, the Great Army of Napoleon was confronted with active resistance from civilians. Among the self-defense detachments there were many clergymen and even priests, who often were the organizers and leaders of the peasant detachments. They were often led by their barbarous attitude towards church shrines to engage in armed struggle against the enemy. For example, the priest of the village of Krutaya Gora, Yukhnovsky district of Smolensk province, Grigory Lelyukhin, saw that a detachment of French marauers had robbed the church and desecrated the altar, convinced his parishioners to arrange a chase. Armed with axes and pitchforks, the peasants unexpectedly attacked the robbers in the forest and, having interrupted them, seized the church property. Inspired by the success of the peasants soon increased their squad to 200 people. At the bell tower of the temple, they set up a guard, who rang the bells when the looters approached, and the peasants led by Father Gregory repulsed the attack (12, p. 20-21). Residents of Gzhatskiy district acted in the same way.In Smolensk Governorate, the leaders of the peasant detachments were also the sexton of the city of Roslavl, Savva Krastelev, who was killed in a collision with the enemy near the village of Kozlovka (13, p. 260), and the sexton of the village of Savenok, Sychevsky district, awarded the Military Order.
Unknown priest, participant of the Patriotic War of 1812
In the Moscow province, at the head of one of the peasant self-defense detachments stood the priest of the Verey Cathedral of the Nativity, John Skobeev. He especially distinguished himself in the assault on the city of Vereya by Major General I. S. Dorokhov. Gathering a thousand peasants of the Vyshegorod volost, Skoboev, with their help, laid down the fortifications made by the French on the Earthen rampart, "found in many houses the hidden enemies, burned the enemy gates, wagons and britts". In addition, at the request of Dorokhov, Father John gathered 500 mounted armed peasants, who strengthened his corps, and prepared seven wagons for wounded soldiers. For his work on the release of Verei Skobeyev, he was awarded a gold pectoral cross on the St. George ribbon. Vasily Raguzin, a sexton of the village of Ryukhovsky, Volokolamsk district of Moscow province, also distinguished himself. He organized a detachment of 500 peasants that successfully defended the surrounding villages from the enemy.Not limited to raids on French marauders, Raguzin also carried a reconnaissance service. To this end, he was given an open list, according to which the peasants were obliged to provide him with carts and provide all possible assistance. For his exploits, Raguzin was awarded a silver medal established in memory of the war of 1812 (14).
During the Patriotic War of 1812, many Orthodox churches and monasteries located in the territory affected by the hostilities were looted and desecrated by the enemy. The barbarous behavior of the conquerors was caused by the occupation regime, which unleashed their base instincts, different confessional affiliation of opponents, and the indifferent attitude of the majority of the representatives of the Great Army to religion in general and their lack of understanding of the values and traditions of the Russian people. Central Russia suffered especially hard - Smolensk, Moscow and Kaluga dioceses; Western provinces, in part because of the policies pursued by local authorities, are relatively less. The greatest damage suffered Moscow, which became a kind of sacrifice made on the altar of victory.In the ancient capital, 22 of the 24 existing monasteries (with the exception of Danilov and Novodevichy) and 227 of the 264 churches were plundered. The Kremlin's Assumption Cathedral - the main shrine of Moscow - was completely looted and turned into a stable, as well as into a room for re-melting of vestments from icons and other silver and gold things. In the Vysokopetrovsky monastery, the invaders staged a slaughterhouse, in many monastery and parish churches - living quarters, stables and warehouses for storing food, straw and oats. The vandalism of the conquerors caused an explosion of universal indignation and contributed to the expansion of the popular resistance movement, which was largely religious in nature.
The many-sided patriotic activities of the clergy, as well as the fate of Russian monasteries and temples during wartime, gave the special warrior the war of 1812 through which it entered the historical memory of our people as an Orthodox war, that is, as a sacred feat for the preservation of the Orthodox faith. In the highest manifesto of December 25, 1812, God's help was mentioned as the main reason for the victory. The same thought is briefly and succinctly defined on the reverse of the medal established to commemorate the victory in the Patriotic War: “Not to us, not to us, but to Your name”.
The desire to express gratitude to God for help in winning a victory led to the emergence of numerous church monuments of the Patriotic War of 1812, that is, temples and chapels erected in memory of the victory. The main one, of course, is the Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
L.V. Melnikova, K. and. n., art. n with. Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Sciences
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