YURGANOVA I.I. Missionary Activity of the Russian Orthodox Church in Chukotka (17th - early 20th cc.)

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2015.2.6

Yurganova Inna Igorevna

Candidate of Sciences (History), Senior Researcher, Department of History of Yakutia, Institute for Humanities Research and Indigenous Studies of the North,

Siberian Branch of RAS

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Petrovskogo St., 1, 677000 Yakutsk, Russian Federation


Abstract. We consider the missionary activity of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Chukotka Peninsula in the context of civilizational component integration into the Russian imperial areas in the 17th - early 20th centuries, including a brief historiography of the problem, the history of the construction of churches and chapels, the creation of the Orthodox mission, its structure and the territorial boundaries of the missionary activities. The author defines milestones for the Christianization of the Chukchi, introduces into science unpublished archival sources, assesses the activities of missionaries, determines the outcome of the spread of Orthodoxy in the beginning of the 20th century. It has been established that the state and church authorities, taking into consideration the difficulties of serving on the outskirts of the empire, developed a system of privileges and rewards for missionaries: increased salaries, payments ration and others, but missionary (marching) service was difficult and dangerous.

It is noted that despite the actual transfer of the Chukotka mission Aleutian diocese (headed by future Russian Patriarch Tikhon (Belavin) in the beginning of the 20th century, statements of mission and purpose of the missionaries remained the prerogative of the Yakutian bishops.

The study found that the spread of Orthodoxy in the Chukotka region in the 17th – early 20th centuries did not become a significant factor in the imperial policy on including the peninsula in the Russian state, which is associated with objective (harsh climate, a nomadic way of life of the population, lack of railways) and subjective (long armed resistance, the small number of missionaries and the lack of material software, the lack of permanent control) reasons. In order to achieve significant results Chukotka needed constant (regular) missionary work, requiring both tangible investments (travel missionaries, food, labor, interpreters, creating living conditions for missionaries), and self-sacrifice. However, the Russian Orthodox Church system for the dissemination of education and culture was the cause of cultural phenomena in the Far North-East.

Key words: Chukotka, missionary work, civilizational influence, Chaun-Chukotka missionary camp, camping service, nomads, Chukchi, church.

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Missionary Activity of the Russian Orthodox Church in Chukotka (17th - early 20th cc.) by Yurganova I.I. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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