Adrian al Moscovei

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Adrian of Moscow was the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia during the early part of the reign of Tsar Peter I. After his death the position of patriarch was abolished by Peter and replaced by the Apostolic Governing Synod, better known as the Holy Synod.


Little is known of Adrian’s early life. He was born on October 2, 1627 and baptized with name Andrei (Russian: Андрей). He entered a monastic life and was given the name Adrian during his tonsure as a monk. In time, he became an archimandrite at Chudov Monastery in Moscow. At the monastery, he came to the attention of Patriarch Joachim. who, in 1686, appointed him to govern the Diocese of Kazan as the Metropolitan of Kazan. On August 24, 1690, Adrian was chosen Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia after the repose of Joachim in 1690.

Patr. Adrian was patriarch early in the reign of Peter I, as Peter began various reforms to modernize Russia both culturally and religiously. Patr. Adrian resisted Peter’s reforms as they applied to Church traditions and particularly criticized the Peter’s order of mandatory shaving of beards. While he accepted Peter’s criticisms of deficiencies in the governance of the Russian Church, his relations with Peter became very intense. These tensions were heightened by Patr. Adrian advocating a milder form of Patr. Nikon’s claim that the Church had supervision over secular matters, a well as spiritual, and that the patriarch, as the figure of Christ, was another ruler of Russia as well as the tsar.[1]

After Patr. Adrian’s repose on October 16, 1700, Peter delayed the appointment of a new patriarch for over twenty years while the Church was administered by a friendly Metr. Stephen (Iavorsky), as locum tenens, before abolishing the position of patriarch and forming the Apostolic Governing Synod, under the supervision of a layman Ober-Procurator.[2]

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Adrian al Moscovei

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  1. Francis Dvornik, The Slavs in European History and Civilization, Rutgers University Press, Brunswick, New Jersey, 1962, p539
  2. Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, A History of Russia, 3rd ed., Oxford University Press, New York, 1977, p257.