The Baptism of Rus


The introduction of Christianity – a landmark turning point in the history of Ancient Rus, which not only greatly influenced all aspects of contemporary social life, but also long defined the characteristics of the national model of historical development.

Once in power, Vladimir the Great tried to hold religious reform, which consisted in modernizing paganism, the introduction in Russia of worship of one God – the Thunderer Perun. Hierarchy newly pantheon consistent schedule of political forces in the country, as the supreme deity was considered not Polyansky Dazhdbog and Novgorod Perun. Obviously, Vladimir had to consider both the Novgorod elite, thanks to the money which came to power and the Norman mercenaries, which relied on the sword (Thunderer One – twin brother Lithuanian-Slavic Perun – the patron was Scandinavian wife). But even modernized the old religion did not meet the needs of the time, it hampered the process of state; not defending the wealth and privileges of the feudal elite that gained momentum; hampered the development of relations with Christian states. Therefore, the introduction of new state monotheistic religion was a necessity. The choice was stopped on the Byzantine Christianity sample. This is not accidental. First, during the time of the ancient city-states decided to Dnieper south orientation vector civilization, which significantly increased with the advent of the trade route “from the Vikings to the Greeks.” Secondly, the state elite already existing experience and tradition of baptism (Askold Olga) associated with Constantinople. Third, according to the Byzantine model of Christianity secular government dominated by religious, which is suited Grand Duke: ideological support to its constituent plans he received, and control over them by the church is not installed. Fourth, Byzantine Orthodox Rus familiar with Christian doctrine in their native language, which greatly simplifies and accelerates the spread and establishment of a new religion. The only thing that worried Vladimir – a real threat because of the adoption of Christianity in fall ideological or even political dependence on Byzantium.

Contributed to solution of problems coincidence. In 986 g. Byzantine Emperor Basil II, which were against the land tycoons, Vladimir asked military aid to crush the rebels. Kyiv prince agreed, but demanded – his marriage to the sister of Emperor Anna. It was a very high price, because under the then existing canon, Byzantine princess could marry only equals or even by family members of the German emperors. But the circumstances were stronger than tradition: the real threat of Constantinople Basil II forced to make concessions, while he demanded that Vladimir was baptized and introduced Christianity in Russia. Doing conditions Ruthenian Byzantine agreement, Vladimir baptized Kiev.


Shestytysyachne Ruthenian Byzantine Emperor’s army helped break the power of the feudal opposition summer 988. Hrysopolem in the battle. However, controlling the situation, the emperor renounced his promise and refused to give him the prince’s sister. Trying to achieve this goal, Vladimir makes a lightning trip to the Crimea and captures important point Byzantine rule the peninsula, a major granary of the empire – Chersonese (Korsun). Emperor nothing left as to fulfill the terms of the agreement. It was in the autumn Korsun 989. Vladimir took marriage with Anna. This event was the starting point of the process of planting of Christianity in Russia. The dramatic events associated with the introduction of a new religion, which took place over three years (988, 989, 990) pressed in one chronicler – 988. In fact Christianization of Rus lasted several centuries.

 
The adoption of Christianity greatly influenced the further development of Kievan Rus:

1. The new faith contributed to the final schedule of tribal and foster a new feudal relations in the eastern Slavs. Christianity formed as a religion class society, sanctified power of the ruling elite, social differentiation and the whole feudal system. However, it is strongly asserted the equality of all before God, the principle laid new foundations of the ideological models of almost all social movements, including the anti-feudal.

2. Orthodoxy has become a reliable ground for the creation of powerful, centralized autocratic country. By the end of the 80s of X century. Russ was slabokonsolidovanoyu, polycentric state that remained united and form through swords grand-wife. Simultaneous administrative and religious reforms qualitatively changed the situation. Promoting centralization, they broke separatism local princes and tribal leaders, asserted the absolute rule of the Grand Prince as the basis of political management model by (Christian monotheism became a kind of ideological foundation for strengthening personal power supreme ruler).

3. The adoption of Christianity boosted the international authority of the state. Baptism of and marriage to the Byzantine emperor Porphyrogenitus sister Vladimir entered the circle of the family of European Christian rulers and ancient Rus opened the way for the recognition of European Christian community. Since the Grand Duke became a full subject of international law: the borders of his country considered intact (at least nominally) prince on the battlefield soldiers were captured, but not in slavery, and others. The introduction of the new faith was not the basis of ideological and political dependence on Constantinople. On the contrary, it contributed to the establishment and expansion of productive relationships built on the principles of equality, with many European countries. This is supported by close contacts with Germany, Poland, Sweden, Rome. After the Christianization of Rus’ was even more closely linked with the West than with Byzantium, as evidenced by numerous marital agreement Rurik dynasty. In particular, for the X-XIII centuries. They concluded 83 marriages with representatives of Western families and members of the Byzantine dynasties only 12.

4. Under the influence of Christianity gradually experienced a major change in attitude and perception of the world population of this state. The feature of the pagan world was deification of nature. Paganism suppressed human soul and brought the fear of natural forces. Board Christianity God’s supernatural power that rules the world, radically changed the situation by depriving a person of fear. Gradually a change of emphasis in the religious faith he transferred from the outside to the inner world, resulting person gets freedom of choice behavior. The fair retribution awaits in the afterlife. These qualitative changes significantly affected the manners and morals feudal society: some degree softened relations between people, was eliminated polygamy, customs sentenced tribal revenge, improved attitude towards the poor, especially the slaves.

5. The new faith laid qualitatively new foundation in the cultural sector, contributed to the development of writing, literature, architecture and art.

However, the adoption of Christianity Byzantine model led to the emergence of a number of negative developments, trends and processes:

1. The Orthodox Church does not become a real guarantor of the protection of different social strata, a significant counterweight to the autocratic regime. This is due primarily to the Byzantine model of Christianity. She allowed the Rus autocrat bend under him spiritual power. First, according to the Byzantine canons, the church had to obey secular authorities, whereas Catholicism opposite – secular authority subordinate to the spiritual. Second, the lack of celibacy (mandatory celibacy in the Catholic clergy) did not allow Orthodox clergy, overburdened families transmission caretaker practice their profession inherited or replenish your footage by capable people from the lower classes nor become a true spiritual reviewer secular authorities. Third, the Orthodox Church has not received such powerful support from outside, which was due to the actions of the Pope Catholic Church, Orthodox and so could not be an obstacle to the creation of Russian rulers of universal conquest of the country in all spheres of public life.

2. The introduction to the cultural wealth of the world was limited. In contrast to Western Europe, as well as Slavic state of Poland and the Czech Republic, which established the Western Catholic version of Christianity and the language of worship and church literature was Latin, in Russia church service pravylasya Slavic language. Undoubtedly, this contributed to the rapid spread of the new religion among the population, but also significantly narrowed the cultural mainstream flow, as introduction to the world culture was mainly due Slavic literature from Bulgaria, Serbia and partly because the Greek books translated in. Remedy for a long time out of sight as much as Ruthenian elite strata a Latin literature significantly impede process knowledge and information sharing, thus causing the growth certain cultural isolation of the country.

3. civilizing influence of Byzantium to Russia was fading. Since the adoption of Christianity to the fall of Byzantium in the XV century. under pressure from the Turkish empire, this did not come from a state of permanent crisis. Political crisis always leads to spiritual crisis. Distributed in XIII-XV centuries. mood fermentation, the growing influence of mysticism, preaching austerity, detachment from life were signs of crisis Byzantine spiritual elite. It failed to go beyond assimilation ancient heritage, reflect contemporary social processes and therefore remained isolated from the mainstream of world public opinion. Potential Byzantine civilizing influence is gradually fading, producing energy and innovation instead of traditionalism and conservatism. The result was a decline braking school and university education, spiritual freedom restriction, resulting in a steady trend of lagging behind the West in many areas of public life.

Thus, the introduction of Christianity in Russia, of course, was a progressive phenomenon. It contributed to the formation and strengthening of feudal relations, the development of the state, increasing international prestige of culture. However Byzantine model of Christianity later became the basis not only positive, but also a number of negative developments, processes and trends.