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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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Olearius' Commentaries on Muscovy in the 1630s and 1640s
Avvakum's Account of His Sufferings

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.



      Avvakum's Account of His Sufferings

The Orthodox Church and government regarded all Old Believers as dissidents and persecuted them severely. In his Autobiography, one of the great literary monuments of the 17th century, Archpriest Avvakum (ca. 1620–1682), vividly recounts his sufferings.

God's enemies shaved my beard…. They were like wolves who have no pity for the sheep; they tore my hair like dogs…. They took me to the monastery, not via the usual road, but through marshes and mud so that people would not see me....

They kept me at Nicholas', in a cold room, for seventeen weeks…. Then they … locked me up in a dark room, and, chained, kept me there for almost a year…. When they brought me to Moscow, they … brought me before the patriarchs of the entire Christendom [in 1667] where our [Russian] bishops sat there like foxes…. I replied to them the following about Christ: "Teachers of Christendom! Rome fell long ago and lies prostrate; the Poles fell with it because to the end they were enemies of Christians. Your orthodoxy is diluted because of Turkish Mohammedan oppression…. Until the time of Nikon, the apostate, under our pious princes and Tsars we had pure orthodoxy in Russia and a non-seditious church. Nikon, the wolf, decreed with the devil that men should make the sign of the cross with three fingers; but our early shepherds made the sign of the cross with five fingers [instead of three, as the new Nikonian reforms dictated].

From: Zhitie protopopa Avvakuma im samim napisanoe i drugie ego sochineniia [Avvakum: The Life of the Archpriest Avvakum Written by Himself and His Other Works]. Moscow, 1960. Reprinted in: Medieval Russia: A Source Book, 850–1700. Ed. Basil Dmytryshyn. Gulf Breeze, Fla.: Academic International Press, 2000.
Reprinted courtesy of Academic International Press

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