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Russia Engages the World, 1453-1825
1453 Through the Reign of Ivan the Terrible (1533-1584) The Time of Troubles to the First Romanovs (1598-1682) Peter the Great and His Legacy (1682-1762) The Age of Catherine the Great (1762-1801) The Reign of Emperor Alexander I (1801-1825)


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Peasant Revolts
Church Schism (Raskol)
Origins of the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment

Russia's Globalization:
A Key

Events marked Russia Symbol are specific to Muscovy/Russia's internal development.
Those marked World Symbol are important world historical or cultural events.
Engagement Symbol indicates specific points of sociocultural or military engagement between Muscovy/Russia and foreign powers or individuals.




Patriarch Nikon
  Patriarch Nikon
NYPL, Slavic and Baltic Division

The Schism, or Raskol, was provoked chiefly by Patriarch Nikon (1608–1681), a complex figure whom Tsar Aleksei had appointed patriarch in 1652. The split divided the Russian Orthodox Church into two sects: those who remained faithful to the official church; and the Old Believers, who broke away. Nikon, a leader in the religious and moral revival that the era witnessed, had great influence over the tsar and even attempted to break with tradition by asserting the superiority of the church over the state. With this power, he sought to return Russian Orthodox practices—for instance, the use of the word alleluia, the making of the sign of the cross, the direction of church processions, and the correction of errors in translations of Church service books—to conform to the Greek Byzantine practice.

The opposing groups believed that such reforms were heretical. Known as the Old Believers, they included prosperous peasants and merchants; eventually some were characterized by fanaticism and xenophobia. The conflict was officially resolved when Tsar Aleksei grew weary of Nikon’s arrogance and banished him. Ironically, the Council of 1666 legalized Nikon’s reforms, but reinstated the state’s dominance over the church. The Council also anathematized the Old Believers, thereby pushing them into the ranks of religious and political dissidence.