Why Peter I sent the Orthodox hieromonks on warships?

Why Peter I sent the Orthodox hieromonks on warships? At all times in Russian history Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) was active in the military environment. Blessing his flock to protect the Fatherland, the Church was constantly by her side in this sensitive and difficult obedience. Prior to the events of October 1917 into direct spiritual nourishment Orthodox soldiers and officers of military and naval clergy, which was together with his flock in the harshest military trials.

In the period before Peter the Great military structure of the clergy in Russia did not exist. Worship during the military campaigns for the troops engaged princely priests, parish priests or the priesthood. The first mention of permanent priest in the regiments of the Russian army are at the time of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich.

The organizational structure of military clergy in Russia begins to form at the turn of XVII-XVIII centuries in connection with large-scale reforms of Peter I. By creating an army, king into account and religious people, and the role that the Church has traditionally played in the organization defending the homeland. In the new army soldiers who broke away from their habitual rural environment, to spend in campaigns and battles all his life. Therefore, the army was badly in need of an effective system of moral education and cohesion of soldiers, the basis of which at that time could be the only orthodoxy. To solve this problem the Church had to be put under state control. Among other things, it has become one of the reasons was conceived by Peter the church reform.

The reform of Peter I removed the church hierarchs from participation in public administration and significantly altered the structure vnutritserkovnogo management, the ROC has deprived much of the property. As a result, abolished the patriarchate and the Church leadership was organized on the model of civic boards. The results of the reform consolidated the spiritual laws, in accordance with which all the functions of church government were transferred to the specially established state authority - Spiritual Collegium, which was subsequently renamed the Holy Synod. Decisions of the Synod necessarily endorse the chief procurator of the Synod - a civil servant, to whom, and was, in essence, a vested executive power in the Church.

As a result of this reform, the ROC into one of the state institutions, "under the supervision and guidance of the officers, a man and dobrago smelago" as defined in Peter's decree appointing the first chief prosecutor. Notably, its rank in the structure of public officials turned out to be relatively modest. In the Table of Ranks, introduced by Peter I in 1725, the rank of chief procurator of the Synod of match 4-th class of the civil service (in the army to the 4-th class the rank of major general).

Carried out by Peter reform has to make the ROC reliable guide public policy. But despite the best efforts of church leadership, completing the Army and Navy priests proceeded difficult. In the Moscow archives of the Foreign Ministry kept a curious letter from Admiral Crews from 1704, showing the real situation: "... for seven galleys required seven priests and a hundred Brigantine 3 pop, but there is only two."

Clergy woefully insufficient to meet the needs of their army and navy. This confirms the "Instruction or military articles of the Russian Fleet", approved by Peter I in April 1710. It defines the organization of worship on ships, and provides specific penalties for violations. But the duties imposed on the organization of worship is not on the ship's priest, and the commander, who "for all utry and evening on his ship or ships is the Lord God to pray."

The need for clergy for the navy and the army is constantly growing. In April 1717 Peter I demanded that "the Russian navy to keep ships and other military vessels 39 priests. In addition to the fleet at that time was a powerful army. In 1710, in the only field army is composed of 33 cavalry, 47 infantry and 5 grenadier regiments, which required priests. But besides this, they relied on staff castles, some of the garrison and irregular units, shipyards, hospitals, etc.

The first time, establish institutions of Military and Naval clergy existed in Russia without a clear definition of its functions and tasks. Job responsibilities and rights of military priests were legislated in 1716 only "fools". According to him in the position of commander of the army introduced the chief priest of the field, which is svyaschennonachalnikom for clergy members of the army units.

The Charter identified the requirements for the senior field-priest of his duties and rights: "The said has control over all field priests. Bude emergency a prayer or solemn thankful prayer for the army has been sent to be, a would-he way regimental priest decree commanding general ordered: How, in every regiment onyya post. When quarrels and disagreement between the regimental Priest happen, then he must reconcile the add-on and instruct them to good zhityu, more so as he himself in the dignity of the rank of their teaching, prudent, diligent, sober and good lives should be ...».

In the navy in this period attracted to serve on warships priests from among the black clergy - hieromonks (mainly from the Alexander Nevsky Monastery). This was due to poor conditions of service on ships, as well as categorical unwillingness to go to the fleet of white clergy, which has family. In preparing the "Maritime Code", approved in 1720, Peter I had it all taken into account and put svyaschennonachalstvennuyu position of chief monk of the fleet. Duties and rights of the clergy naval consolidated "items on the priesthood, held in the Navy.

In virtually unchanged, the military and naval clergy existed a century. By the end of XVIII century it was subordinated to the chief priests of the field and the chief hieromonk fleet only during expeditions and military campaigns. The rest of the military and naval authorities of the diocesan clergy was subordinated to the place of deployment of military units. Emperor Paul I, had striven in all structures of the State to introduce a clear hierarchy of command, delinked from the military clergy diocesan established to guide them to a special body, headed by the chief priest.