The Role Of The Russian Orthodox Church In Training Military Personnel

Abstract

The interaction between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Empire in the context of military personnel training in military educational institutions is analyzed in the article. Pedagogical conditions of effective interaction with learners in order to cultivate qualities characterizing the Defender of the Faith, Tsar and Fatherland are identified in the article. The author considers some changes in the Russian Orthodox Church development in military educational institutions which influenced the training process during the main historical stages of military school establishment and development. The historical and pedagogical analysis gives us a chance to track internal connection between the Russian Orthodox Church activity in the armed forces and military educational institutions and the effective upbringing of spiritual and moral qualities as well as to define specifics of religious and political influence of the Russian Empire authorities in the officer corps educational system. From our point of view, the most productive aspect in establishing and strengthening Christian cultural and moral values of military service was the joint activity of military educational institution command and higher education institution church stipulated by the daily routine in the learner training. Underlining the importance of the Russian Orthodox Church role in learner preparation in the Russian Empire military educational institutions, the author unveils the influence of a religious factor on the Defender of Fatherland image establishment with regard to an environmental approach.

Keywords: Military educational institutionstrainingthe Russian Empirethe Russian Orthodox Church

Introduction

The Russian Empire evolved from the Russian state and was a stage of the highest development of the Russian statehood. One of the conditions building the empire was its efficient army and the state status of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian Emperor had a title of the Defender of the Church, and the state committed itself to its up keeping while orthodox priests carried out spiritual upbringing in the armed forces of the country.

Faith in Russia was one of the most important factors of its victories. The Russian Orthodox Church kept and conveyed the main values of Christian faith which were the basis for the state unification and development (Klimenkova, 2013). These values developed not only spiritual qualities for salvation in Russians, but also qualities of the Defender of Fatherland. The armed forces of the Russian Empire functioned as a basic protection of the Faith, Tsar and Fatherland. The army never underestimated the role of a religious factor in establishing and maintaining its moral spirit. The army and its traditions were based on the awareness that the Fatherland protection and loyalty to the oath were sacred, and these traditions were comprehensively supported by the Russian Orthodox Church.

The basis for the Fatherland protection was a highly prepared officer corps. The level of its efficiency was directly connected with the moral spirit of officers and experience of officer training where the Russian Orthodox Church played an important role in every aspect.

Problem Statement

From the moment of the Russian Empire establishment, one of the important requirements for its formation and development was numerous and well-trained officer corps. In the system of the Russian Empiremilitary schools as well as in all its armed forces, spiritual upbringing was carried out by the Russian Orthodox Church. At the same time it is important to understand the role of the Church in bringing up qualities that could characterize the Defender of the Faith, Tsar and Fatherland.

Research Questions

The main issues of the research are the following:

  • to point out the development stages of the Russian Empire military school;

  • to consider the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in officer training during the military school formation in the Russian Empire in 1721 - 1765;

  • to define the ways and methods of learner training carried out by the Russian Orthodox Church in military educational institutions in 1765-1866;

  • to determine the conditions that led to the improvement of learner training by the Russian Orthodox Church in military schools in 1866-1917.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study was to define the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in officer training in military educational institutions during the development of the Russian Empire military school.

Research Methods

The chosen methodology defined a set of theoretical methods: the comparative analysis, retrospective analysis, pedagogical with the use of archival, documentary sources, literary references, scientific researches disclosing the interrelation of the Russian Orthodox Church activity in the Russian Empire military educational institutions and efficiency of officer training.

Findings

Influence of the Russian Orthodox Church on the armed forces at the beginning of the 18th century

Peter I fully understood the role of a religious feeling in every serviceman as well as a religious factor in the army to achieve a victory. While forming a regular army, he turns his attention to the creation and functioning of the Military and Sea Clergy Institute to fulfill the interconnected tasks: strengthening of the military personnel moral spirit and salvation. These innovations were established in guidance, articles and regulations requirements. So one of the first leading documents in the Russian army considering the role of the Russian Orthodox Church influence were the "Army regulations of the times of Peter Alekseyevich" issued on March 30, 1716. The Church activities were studied in the following chapters of the Military article: "About God's service and about Priests", "About God's fear". The introduction of the mentioned leading documents defined the role of a religious factor in the state protection and formulated the fundamental idea of military service - "For the Faith, for the Tsar and for the Fatherland". In order to implement this idea, the military chaplain activities in units and detachments were defined. The military chaplain duties and rights to guide officers and soldiers spiritually were stipulated in the regulations. The sequence of church services and the seats for command personnel and enlisted soldiers during services were defined in the document. These innovations positively changed the spiritual and moral climate in the army and provided grounds for religious factor inclusion in the servicemen preparation in the Russian Empire military educational institutions.

The review of various documentary sources, dissertation researches indicates some changes in the ways and techniques the Russian Orthodox Church used to educate servicemen in military educational institutions during three stages of military school development

The first stage – 1721-1765 –highlighted the establishment of the Russian Empire military school. The Russian Empire got stronger and, as a powerful state, it understood the importance of establishing the system of army officer training. The objective was not only to train a highly qualified specialist, but also to teach spiritual and moral qualities, significant for the Fatherland protection.

The orientation of future officer training in military educational institutions included service to the Fatherland, protection of the Church value, keeping allegiance to the Emperor and love for the country (Alekhin & Guzhva, 2015). The idea of serving the Fatherland defined the oath and military duty sanctity. It was based on the learner religious outlook and was maintained by instilling "God's fear" in them. The Russian Orthodox Church activities included a whole set of actions, which formed Christian morality in learners for the Fatherland protection, defining the life and service perspective before and after graduation from an educational institution.

One of the major rituals at Peter I military schools was swearing-in. In this tradition the serviceman's soul experienced an impact through religious feelings in taking an oath to defend the Fatherland. The oath was sworn in before the God Almighty that made its violation impossible from a position of the Church (Shut'ko, 2007).

It is important to point out that the Book of Psalms and the Book of Hours were fundamental books in studying "verbal science" during the training in military educational institutions. Free and fluent reading of any page from these books determined successful learning of this subject (Puzanova & Simonova, 2016).

Frequency of religious upbringing activities was determined by the regulations. At the same time "God’s Services" were held in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening. Religious activities were organized and held by military chaplains who had to be respected and loved, according to the regulations. In case of violation of these regulations requirements, an officer or a private was subject to punishment.

The II stage – 1765-1866 – a stage of development of the Russian Orthodox Church training ways and methods

The era of Empress Catherine the Great was characterized by introduction of many innovations to officer training. I.I. Betskoy was one of initiators of many innovations. Ivan Ivanovich changed the conditions of spiritual and moral qualities upbringing which had been used since the times when Peter I organized officer corps training in the Russian Empire. Lieutenant general Betskoy I. I. paid special attention to teaching the understanding of "God's fear" and nurturing this feeling in further training. The main educational influence was a positive example creating an image on which further upbringing was based.

Indispensable conditions were learner isolation in the educational institution from external influence since childhood in an attempt to produce an educative effect. Lieutenant general Betskoy I. I. introduced a section for young children where boys at the age of 5-6 years were trained. Religious upbringing in this section was carried out by a chaplain and a deacon. The Scripture was studied and church activities were carried out at the same time.

In the Russian Empire military educational institutions close attention was drawn to spiritual and moral atmosphere around learners. To develop high spiritual and moral qualities in learners, acquisition of Orthodox faith foundations and morality concept in Christian outlook were crucial in educational institutions. Various religious aspects were considered to achieve this objective: studying of prayers and Orthodox faith foundations, church service procedure, history of the Russian Orthodox Church, fundamentals of moral theology. All subjects revealed and conveyed an orthodox way of life and morality, from the standpoint of Christian values. Since 1804 the regular position of a religious teacher was being introduced in stages in accordance with the preparation program in order to set Christian examples for cadets, to create spiritual atmosphere in the military school and upgrade presentation of religious material.

When creating spiritual and moral atmosphere in the Russian Empire educational institutions, close attention was paid to religious literature and periodicals revealing church and armed forces interaction. Military periodicals were used in educational institutions to set an example of service to the Fatherland and to contribute to the training of future officers. ‘Journal for military school learners’ was issued since 1836. Before that the newspaper ‘Russian Invalid’ had been in circulation since 1813 to address the issues on religious and moral subjects in the armed forces. The journal ‘Reading for soldiers’ began publication in 1847 where spiritual and moral issues relevant for military personnel education were discussed in the form of stories and conversations (Garmyshev, 2019).

By 1850 the number of military periodical editions reached 11. Military and church subjects useful for future officer upbringing were considered in all sources. Apart from the military period icaleditions, the Russian Orthodox Church spread its influence on in the publications which had an instructive nature of conveying information. The Russian Orthodox Church extended fundamentals of faith and its relation to the protection of the Fatherland with arms in hand. The Defense Ministry specified norms of relationship in the army and on the fleet for the lower ranks from a position of orthodox morality.

The III stage – 1866-1917 – a stage of learner training improvement by the Russian Orthodox Church in military schools

The reforms carried out in the Russian Empire armed forces by the General Milyutin D.A., the War Minister, changed the officer corps training. Dmitry Alekseevich brought military schools closer to civil educational institutions and renamed them military gymnasiums. In the attempt to improve military school activities, the General Milyutin D.A. humanize deducation developing religious upbringing performed by the Russian Orthodox Church.

The role of the Russian Orthodox Church in upbringing of the Russian Empire future officers increased in connection with the church reform in the second half of the eighties in the nineteenth century. The church influence on learner training in military educational institutions changed according to the official linkage between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Empire official ideology defining it the basis of the state. The Empire authorities considerably raised the level of the Russian Orthodox Church support: new reading rooms and libraries were founded, issuance of church magazines and newspapers was increased, the issue of new editions was encouraged, etc. (Karnishin, Karnishina, & Kosheleva, 2019). The creation of conditions for spiritual and moral upbringing in educational institutions gave rise to the number of military and historical printed materials. The annual number of publications on this subject increased from 25-30 in the fifties to 300 publications in 1908. The military and church subject area was used in publications in the form of reference editions, monographs, memoirs, scientific publications, publications in periodic printed materials.

Building on the ongoing reforms of the church and state relations in the Defense Ministry, adjustment of spiritual and moral upbringing in military educational institutions was carried out. The main objectives in this kind of upbringing in military gymnasiums and military schools were defined as following: development of piety, aspiration to abstention and passion taming, self-improvement, justice, truthfulness, modesty, fearlessness and determination. The main objectives in this kind of upbringing in military schools, colleges and academies were defined as the development of the qualities and characteristics based on universal moral values and professional ethical standards of an officer. At stage-by-stage studying in military educational institutions learners developed a complex of qualities that characterize an officer (Slivin & Chistyakov, 2012). Such an increase in moral education was predetermined by the requirement of military officer professional activity trained at various levels of military education.

Upbringing of high spiritual and moral qualities was carried out in a systematic and integrated fashion. While conducting his PhD thesis, Sushanskiy (2002) pointed out that the content of spiritual and moral upbringing was based on the following principles: unity of faith; maintaining positive features in learners; stratification; unity and coherences of educational measures; stage-by-stage increase of moral teaching; castehierarchy; respect for learner personal dignity and cares for them; loving attitude to tutors and reasonable insistence on high standards of the latter (Sushanskiy, 2002). The mentioned principles established a technique of cadet spiritual and moral upbringing. Spiritual and moral upbringing united elements of educational activity where the religious one was fundamental. It provided grounds for esthetic, ethical, patriotic, legal and other components. The subjects of this process were the Emperor, the Russian Orthodox Church, the government, the Defense Ministry, command officers and teachers of a military educational institution, diocesan priesthood(in higher educational institutions), military clergy(in the lowest educational institutions), mass media that dealt with religious issues). At the same time the subject that had the most impact on upbringing was the Russian Orthodox Church which spread its influence both in official and non-official religious activities (Ivanov, 2013).

Сommand officers and teachers actively supported religious beliefs and feelings in cadets in higher education institutions in order to create a consolidated impact to forge high spiritual and moral qualities in learners. Command officers monitored peace, order and diligence of learners to carry out Christian duties. The Instruction on an upbringing part for military schools defined this monitoring function. According to this Instruction, cadet upbringing was implemented on the basis of Christian dogma and was agreed with the Russian state system. At the same time upbringing had the main objective which was to prepare learners for the forthcoming service to the sovereign and the Fatherland. That is why sincere devotion to the Throne was cultivated from childhood. Conscious submission to the right concepts of honor, truth, goodness and law supported by the Russian Orthodox Church activity was also intentionally cultivated (Dneprov & Raskin, 2015). Such a comprehensive impact taught cadets ‘to fear God and to honor the Tsar’.

Officers responsible for upbringing educated a number of qualities in learners: sense of duty; endurance; readiness to endure hardships; kind attitude towards people around; ability for adequate self-assessment; suppression of egoistical aspirations; fair appreciation of support; thrift; adequate perception of criticism; respect for principles of morality; aspiration to order. But apart from virtue upbringing, officers kept learners away from dangerous thoughts. Upbringing of political reliability and good manners was cultivated on the basis of certification notebooks where learners were assessed according to certain criteria. First, features of character and learner qualities were specified, attitude to requirements and rules of the educational institution, to the imposed duties was assessed, good manners and respect for ethical behavior standards were characterized. Secondly, offenses were estimated according to 15 types. Thirdly, information as to the need for additional educational influence on learners with a bad effect on learners was specified.

Interaction between the Russian Orthodox Church and educational institutions in the armed forces continued to develop. Thus, in 1902 the Regulations of internal service established for commanders and chiefs to guide military ranks seating during religious services in high school churches. The command officers of an educational institution established the fasting plan of units, organized cadet confession, supervised cadet timely performance of religious duties and rendered assistance to the subordinates if necessary.

Conclusion

The Russian Orthodox Church played an important role in learner training in the Russian Empire military educational institutions. The Russian Orthodox Church establishment of influence on learner training in military educational institutions is reviewed in the main historical stages of military school establishment and development.

The first stage – 1721-1765 – was a stage of establishment of the Russian Empire military school. At this stage, along with implementation of traditional ways and techniques of military chaplains in pastoral care of the military personnel, there was a search for effective ways officer corps training. At this stage the foundation for the Russian Orthodox Church activities in future officer training was laid.

The II stage – 1765-1866 – was a stage of development of training ways and methods by the Russian Orthodox Church. Some development features of training ways and methods in the course of the upbringing of the Defender of the Fatherland who is faithful to the Emperor from a position of Christian values were considered here.

The III stage – 1866-1917 – was a stage of learner training improvement by the Russian Orthodox Church in military schools. The analysis of this stage shows that the foundation for the rising role of the Russian Orthodox Church in learner training in military educational institutions were reforms of church-state relations and the Defense Ministry. The training efficiency of military school learners was determined by joint activity of military educational institution command and the Russian Orthodox Church.

References

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

26.08.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.08.02.103

Online ISSN

2357-1330