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Material support for poor clergy, widows and orphans in the second half of the 19th – early 20th century (based on the materials of the Central Black Earth eparchies)
In the post-reform period of Russian history, the material security of the parish clergy was one of the most discussed problem. Clergymen and prominent public figures noted that standard of living of the clergy had to be improved. Donations for private services were unstable and led to conflicts between clergymen and believers. But despite difficulties in material security of regular clergymen, the provision of poor priests and deacons was even worse. Dismissed for health reasons or old age clerics had no sources of income as well as widows and orphans. They could hope either for the help of their relatives, or for the activity of diocese charity organizations. On the basis of archival and published sources we analyze contribution of the Central Black Earth eparchies charity organizations to improvement of material security of the clergy in the second half of the 19th – early 20th century. We come to a conclusion that eparchial charity organizations did not have sufficient material resources to help poor clerics, widows and orphans. However, the clergy, because of their poverty, were happy to receive even the smallest donations.
Orthodox Church; Russian empire; eparchies of the Central Black Earth; parish clergy; material security of parish clergymen; eparchial charity organizations
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