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agonised by gulf whispers from the nether world, and wearied with groping and striving after light. His vision is clear, because circumscribed within the limits of one idea where everything is plain, flat and sterile as the steppe. Hence we seek in vain for breadth of sympathy, to say nothing of that volcanic energy of passion without which there is no genuine greatness—nay, no fulness of human nature. His sole possession in life is a doctrine which, whatever else it may effect, is powerless to neutralise the touch of icy coldness that runs through all he says and does. It is only fair to remember, however, that it is a doctrine which twice, in his hands, has saved the mightiest empire of modern times from the change which some call
Though not a clerical in politics-in Russia clericalism is as unknown as Puseyism-M. Pobedonostseff is a Levite of the Levites, bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh, and the atavistic traits are sufficiently pronounced to remind those who know the story of his life, that if priesthood as a Russian caste had not been abolished, this worthy grandson of a poor, hard-working deacon would most probably be a monk or a parish priest to-day, wbile Russia would be occupying a place among the Constitutional monarchies of Europe. These class characteristics were brought into stronger relief, rather than softened, by the flimsy education he received in the Law School on the banks of the Fontanka, where, like Pico de la Mirandola, he studied universal science. His taste for casuistry found suitable pabulum here in the congenial study of jurisprudence, and when, on completing the curriculum, he received a position in the Department of the Senate in Moscow," he continued his favourite occupation, and obtained permission to deliver lectures at the University on civil law. As he had not taken his doctor's degree he was never a professor in the full sense of the term, but his lectures were more highly appreciated for methodic arrangement and scrupulous attention to details than those of many of his more successful colleagues. He finally published the pith of them in his “ Course of Civil Law," which went through three editions in the course of a few years, in all of which, curiously enough, the statutes repealing serfdom are occasionally ignored, and men and women still spoken of as disposable by testament or by deed of sale.t His professional cares did not prevent him from taking a discriminating interest in politics, though prudence may have made him chary about wearing his heart. on his sleeve for daws to peck at, at a time when daws swarmed throughout the land; it would have been foolhardy to express his autocratic views just as the rising wave of constitutionalism was: sweeping the country and the word conservative was synonymous
* This branch of the service has since been abolished. . Cf. K. Pobedonostseff, " Course of Civil Law,' third edition 1883, Part. I. p. 44.
with traitor. He took up his position, therefore, upon less debatable ground, and completed the list of his literary services to the cause of science, religion, politics and ethics by publishing translations of Mr. Gladstone's " Bulgarian Horrors, and the Question of the East, the “Imitation of Christ," and of Thierset's "Christian Principles of Family Life.
He might have lived thus in years, not deeds; in breaths, not thoughts, a spectator of the conflict between opposing and enduring forces, becoming perhaps a full professor with the usual allowance of ribbons and stars, had it not been for one of those ladies whose bright eyes rain influence and disaster, and who, like a subordinate but inscrutable providence, keep the course of Russian politics from running smooth. Thanks to the intercession of the Grand Duchess Helena Pavlovna, M. Pobedonostseff was appointed, along with Professor Solovieff, tutor to the late Heir Apparent, Nicholas Alexandrovitch, and to his brother, the present Tsar. And this was the turning-point of his life, for it gave him at last the fulcrum he needed to raise the Russian empire from the “slough of constitutionalism” in which it was rapidly sinking upon the dry mudbank of orthodox-autocracy.
The Tsar Alexander III., at that time a Grand Duke, with no prospect of succeeding to the throne, conceived a strong liking for the man who had a ready answer for every question, and a complete cutand-dried system of polity and religion, cemented by fantastic history, which led as straight and direct to its goal as the railway from St. Petersburg to Moscow. The imperial pupil was charmed with the gorgeous texture so skilfully woven by the late professor of law, and delighted with the imperial standard put into his hand, which enabled him thus easily to gauge the events of history and the principles of philosophy without worrying too much over the problems of either science, When the Crown Prince died in 1865 and M. Pobedopostseff's pupil was declared heir to the throne of Peter the Great, these lessons, which he never forgot, were the only Ariadne thread he possessed to guide him through a maze in which vastly superior minds went hopelessly astray. In 1866 the imperial disciple invited his master to remain about his person for two years more, after which he had hira appointed Member of the Imperial Council ; * and in 1880 M. Pobedonostseff, then fifty-three years old, I was nominated to the post with which his name has never since ceased to be associated.
The office of Ober-Procuror of the Most Holy Synod practically implies the spiritual supremacy of the Orthodox Church, of which the Tsar is the visible head; but as the Orthodox Church is a function, an aspect rather than an independent entity, and possesses no initiative, even in matters that most nearly concern its own weal, the office confers no special influence upon the holder. The Most Holy Synod is a sort of permanent ecclesiastical council, consisting of a number of metropolitan archbishops and bishops, appointed every year anew, who meet together in the barrack-like building on the Isaac's Place and discuss all questions of interest to Orthodoxy, from the heresies of contemporary sectarians down to the exact canonical proportions of Orthodox wax candles.* Whatever degree of freedom and authority this assembly may enjoy in theory, it is in practice as much a section of the State service as the Department of Trade and Manufactures. At every important sitting the head of the Church is represented by the Ober-Procuror, who formulates the questions, conducts the debates, suggests the solution, and gives legal force to the decision. The shadow of a velleity of opposition never flits across the passive souls of these obsequious Church dignitaries, who feel themselves to be clay in the hands of the potter. For many years the potter was Count D. Tolstoy, who considered the office so insignificant that he combined it with the Ministry of Public Instruction.
* Translated by M. Pobedonostseff in conjunction with Professor Bestooscheff.
+ A place of rest for ancient Ministers. The duty of this body is to examine, criticise and vote upon every project of law before presenting it to the Tsar for his sanction.
$ M. Pobedonostseff was born in 1827.
He was a thorough aristocrat, an uncompromising conservative, and an honest atheist, who, living, merited well of the true Church, and, dying, requested that his body should not be buried in consecrated ground. He knew and loathed the Orthodox monks, discountenanced in every spossible way the increase of their order, and reserved all his favours for the married clergy; and had he retained the office long enough the days of the monastic institution in Russia would have been comparatively few.
M. Pobedonostseff, who possesses special qualifications for the office, changed all this. He is one of those rare Russians of education whose religious belief is something more than one of the numerous ingredients of social varnish ; is in fact sufficiently profound to reach down to the mainsprings of action without degenerating into clericalism or bigotry. He favoured the monks, to the chagrin of their married brethren ; encouraged the higher clergy to bestir themselves for the good of Church and State ; and breathed a martial spirit into the episcopate, which forth with began to subject the married clergy to criticisms that would strike us as harsh and venomous if they proceeded from the members of a hostile communion. He also set himself a task far more arduous than all these--the moral reformation of the entire clergy ; but only to learn by experience the truth of the saying that when it pleaseth not God, the saint can do little.
* "The Most Holy Synod worked hard in 1887 to solve the question of the quality of olive oil to be used in lamps in the churches" (cf. M. Pobedonostseff's Official Report, 1891, p. 2588), and the same august Council has lately decided that the length of an Orthodox wax candle "ought to exceed its thickness at least six times, and to have a white wick with one red thread” (cf. The Week, February 12, 1893).
Passing from the details of ecclesiastical discipline to the broad lines of religious policy, we are confronted with a question which has seldom been put forward in this country, unaccompanied by an emphatic reply: whether genuine belief in any form of Christianity is compatible with the spirit which must be taken to animate the man who inaugurated the present cruel persecution of non-orthodox Christians. “M. Pobedonostseff may be a clever statesman,” remarked a Russophile English Radical to me some time ago," he may be a scholar, a pedagogue, or anything else you please, but he has no right to call himself a Christian.” What degree of truth or falsehood this remark contains, is of no earthly consequence to any one ; but if we wish to form a mental likeness of one of the most powerful statesmen of ancient or modern times, it behoves us to make an effort at least to understand him, to look at things from his peculiar coign of vantage, and to ask ourselves how, having thus shifted the lights and shadows, we ourselves should act in his place. For the heart of the matter is this : the man is neither a clever hypocrite nor an ambitious place-hunter, but an ardent supporter of the altar and throne, filled with the idea of establishing them upon solid foundations, and honestly convinced that this is the one thing needful to render his people worthy of the great destiny which he believes to be in store for them.
We require no special knowledge of Russian history to teach us that the burdens imposed by absolutism upon the bulk of the Tsar's subjects are so heavy and irksome that no other civilised people would endure them; that the difference in submissiveness between Russians and West Europeans is traceable to a corresponding difference of religious and mental training; that the theory and practice of autocracy suit well with a people who know little, seek not to know more, and take the most terrible hardships for the commonplaces of existence ; that to sap this child-like trust or dispel this blissful ignorance, whether by means of religious enlightenment or of now-fangled political notions, is to undermine the entire fabric which is built thereupon, and that he who is minded to preserve the edifice must needs protect the foundations.
Put in this shape, Englishmen can discern and understand the main drift of the governmental policy; but it should be borne in mind that it is not in this crude form that M. Pobedonostseff conceives it. We speak of a Church and State as two separate, or at all events distinct, institutions; he regards them as two aspects of the same institution, which is, and cannot be otherwise than, one and indivisible. The political Tsar is also the ecclesiastical Pope ; his sceptre, being crooked, is used as a pastoral staff; the subjects who obey the monarch are, or at least ought to be, the flock which loves and follows its shepherd;
the penal code should be a development of the Decalogue, and priests and police, conscious that they serve one and the same master, should skilfully play into each other's hands.
For Orthodoxy, in spite of the similarity of symbols and ceremonies, is unlike any extant form of the Church of Christ. It is as far removed from historical Christianity as historical Christianity is removed from the simple faith of Jesus. It is not a force which enables people to cope with moral disease, but at best an anodyne to assuage it. As a religion, it was early mixed with magic rites and formulas, and precipitated. Poets like Khomyakoff, whose theological writings were condemned by the ecclesiastical censure, might idealise and etherealise it till it would suit the taste of Plotinus or Julian, but it comes to the people with the lure of a theatrical representation
goosefoot mixed with powdered treebark” is the translation into the dialect of the Russian peasantry of the Latin word panis, so is Orthodoxy with its pomp and pageantry the Russian rendering of circenses. The soothing chant of canticles and the plangent melody of psalms; the blaze of yellow wax lights reflected by the gold and silver of ancient icons struggling to dispel the mysterious haze of fragrant smoke; the solemn voices of long-robed priests re-echoing the words of a half-forgotten tongue; the tinkling toss of the perfumed censers; the oracular promise of mercy and of hope, and the mingling of miserable souls in silent sympathy and sorrow, stir to its depths whatever of religious feeling the hearts of the helots may harbour. And yet the religious sense of Dolly Winthrop was superior to this, for she could at least feel the working of religion “in her inside," without any such extraneous aids.
M. Pobedonostseff attaches extreme importance to this staging of religion, and it would be rash to condemn him for preserving one of the vital elements of the system. His favourite remedy for an outbreak of sectarianism is a course of improved Church singing. . Dogmas, those “wingy mysteries in divinity and airy subtleties in religion which have unhinged the brains of better heads," seldom come within the range of the people, and whenever they do are so twisted and turned as to be hardly recognisable. Orthodoxy is become as the dry staff which the Pope held in his hand when Tannhäuser craved for mercy and forgiveness. But in this case it is not likely that there will be any stirring of buds under the polished bark, or growth of blossoms from under the gilded varnish. Knox's idea of a Church as a body whose ministers possess an indefeasible right to control politics and religion, is quite as abhorrent to M. Pobedonostseff as the view of those who hold that the State should leave the Church to its own devices.
Starting with this conception of the scope and functions of