COUNCIL OF THE HUNDRED CHAPTERS

THE STOGLAV, 1551. The Church Council of 1551 dealt with a long series of questions presented to it by the young Ivan IV and Metropolitan Macarius. The council's pronouncements numbered one hundred; hence the name Stoglav, or "Hundred Chapters." Some of the articles quoted below were later appealed to by the Old Believers as statements of unalterable dogmas of the Orthodox church. Other quotations give vivid descriptions of departures from the Orthodox ideal:

CHAPTER 5. QUESTION 8. Concerning monasteries and monks: And in the monasteries monks and priests take the vows for the salvation of their souls. But some take the vows for the sake of bodily comfort, so that they might constantly indulge in drunkenness and ride to the [monastery] villages to take their leisure. Concerning archimandrites and abbots: Some archimandrites and abbots obtain their position through bribery, and know not the divine services and the refectory table and the brotherhood, and take their repose in their cells with guests....

QUES. 25. [Concerning] those who shave their heads and beards: Through our sins, weakness and indifference and negligence have come into the world. At the present time men who call themselves Christians and are thirty years of age and older shave their heads, beards, and whiskers, and wear clothing and costumes taken from lands of dissident faith; how then can a Christian be recognized? . . .

CHAP. 26. Concerning schools of learning in all the towns: And in accordance with the tsar's advice we have jointly decreed that in the ruling city of Moscow and in all the towns these same archpriests and senior priests, together with all the priests and deacons, each in his own town, shall select, with the blessing of their bishop, worthy, pious priests and deacons and married sextons and pious men, with the fear of God in their hearts, who can be of use to others and who know their letters and reading and writing, and shall establish schools in the houses of these priests, deacons, and sextons, so that priests and deacons and all Orthodox Christians in each town would send them their children to learn reading and writing and church singing....

CHAP. 27.... And whatever sacred books, gospels, epistles, psalters, and other books in each church are found to be written incorrectly and in error, you should jointly correct all these sacred books from good manuscripts.. . .

CHAP. 31. The sign of the cross must be made according to the rules, in the form of a cross; and the right hand, that is, the dextral hand, must be used in crossing oneself, with the thumb and the two lower fingers joined together, and the extended index finger joined to the middle finger, slightly bent; thus should prelates [and] priests give their blessing and thus should men cross themselves. . . . It befits all Orthodox Christians to hold their hand thus, and to make the sign of the cross upon their face with two fingers, and to bow, as we said before.

If anyone should fail to give his blessing with two fingers, as Christ did, or should fail to make the sign of the cross with two fingers, may he be accursed.. . .

CHAP. 40. Concerning the sacred rules on the shaving of beards: The sacred rules likewise forbid all Orthodox Christians to shave their beards and to cut their whiskers. For such is not an Orthodox but a Latin and heretical tradition . . . and the rules of the apostles and [church] fathers strictly forbid and denounce this....

CHAP. 41. QUES. 19. And jongleurs [skomorokhi] wander through faraway lands, gathered together in large bands of up to sixty and seventy and a hundred men, and eat and drink much in the villages at the peasants' expense, and steal their goods from the larders, and rob men on the roads....

QUES. 24. [Concerning] the festivities [rusal'i] on the eve of Saint John's and Christmas and the Epiphany: Men and women and girls gather at night for revelry, indecorous speech, devilish singing and dancing, and acts hateful to God; and youths are polluted and girls defiled. When the night comes to an end, then they go off to the river with great shouting, like devils, [and] wash themselves in the water; and when the bells begin to ring for matins they go to their houses and fall as if dead from the great clamor....

CHAP. 42. Reply concerning the triple alleluia: that in Pskov, and in many monasteries and churches in the land of Pskov, and in many places in the land of Novgorod, triple alleluias are said to this day.... Henceforth Orthodox Christians must say "alleluia" twice, and the third time say "glory to thee, O Lord," as is held and taught by the holy catholic apostolic church, rather than say "alleluia" three times and the fourth time say "glory to thee, O Lord," as was formerly said in Pskov and in many [other] places. This is not an Orthodox tradition, but a Latin heresy, that they glorify the Trinity not three but four times....

CHAP. 72. The reply of the council concerning the ransoming of prisoners: Whatever [prisoners] are ransomed by the tsar's envoys in the hordes, in Tsar'grad, in the Crimea, in Kazan', in Astrakhan', or in Kaffa [in the Crimea], or who ransom themselves: all these prisoners shall be ransomed out of the tsar's treasury. And if Greeks, Turks, Armenians, and other foreign merchants should ransom prisoners and bring them, Orthodox Christians, [to Moscow] and after being in Moscow should wish to take them back with them, they shall not do so; and this shall be firmly observed. And they shall be ransomed from the tsar's treasury, and whatever sum is expended from the tsar's treasury each year for ransoming prisoners, this shall be apportioned among the sokhi [agricultural tax units] throughout the land, upon everyone's land equally, since such ransoming is called an act of general charity, and the pious tsar and all Orthodox Christians shall be rewarded for this by God....

CHAP. 75. Whatever patrimonial and purchased villages men have given to the holy churches for the commemoration of their souls and for the commemoration of their parents, without the right of repurchase, so as to inherit eternal blessings, and other church [and] monastery land, and other immovable property shall not be given away or sold, but firmly preserved, in accordance with the sacred and divine rules of the Holy Seventh Ecumenical Council and of other holy fathers [of the church]....

CHAP. 76. Reply concerning [lending] the money of the prelates and monasteries without interest and grain without compensation [nasop"pouring in" more grain than was lent]: And [as for the fact] that money belonging to the prelates is lent for interest and grain for compensation, and that likewise money belonging to the monasteries is lent for interest and grain for compensation, the divine Scriptures and sacred rules not only forbid this to bishops, presbyters, deacons, and all priests and monks but also prohibit ordinary men from taking interest and practicing usury. Thus henceforth, in accordance with the sacred rules, prelates and all monasteries shall lend money to the peasants in their villages without interest and grain without compensation, so that their peasants may live with them and so that their villages may not be empty.