[St. Pachomius Library]

Fyodor Mikhailovich Rtishchev

XVII Century
A pious and learned Russian nobleman (frequently described as a "boyar", but some sources claim this is technically incorrect) whose charitable works included the establishment of at least two monasteries and a Moscow hospital, Rtishchev hoped to see a cultural revival in Muscovy which would include the best of both Eastern and Western culture. To this end, he established an educational brotherhood and invited to Moscow two Kievan Orthodox scholar-monks, Epiphanius Slovenetsky and Simon Polotsky. The name of the college founded by Epiphanius -- "The Græco-Latin Slavonic College" -- epitomises the intellectual goals for which Rtishchev and his circle (of which his sister Anna was also a prominent member) strove. In practice, however, the most dramatic effect of the intellectual revival was to provoke opposition from ultra-conservatives in the Russian Church, resulting eventually in the Nikonian schism. A close friend of many who became Old Believers, including the Boyarina Morozova, Rtishchev was horrified by this turn of events, and struggled heroically but in vain to heal the rift which had opened in the church.

Norman Hugh Redington


Return to St Pachomius Library.