In the article for the fi rst time in historiography the reviews of the diocesan bishops of the prospects of the reform of the parish council of trustees (prihodskie popechitel’stva) at Orthodox churches are analysed in details. These reviews were submitted on request of the Ober-Procurator in the 1890s and they are analysed in the context of a more general transformation of the Orthodox parish, planned by K.P. Pobedonostsev. The reviews of the diocesan authorities about the possibilities of reforming the parish council of trustees were in fact revealing their attitude on the possibility of the parish reform in general. The author comes to the conclusion that the main idea of the reviews was to give the council of trustees more «church» character. The hierarchs saw two ways of realising this task. One of them could be called the administrative way, another one — the more natural one. The majority of hierarchy was in favor of the fi rst approach. They wanted to include the council of trustees in the existing system of diocesan administration, but subordinating them to the administrative control of the deans and the Consistory. Another group of hierarchs, which constituted the tenth part of all, who had submitted the reports, saw it necessary to transform the council of trustees into the voluntary parish brotherhoods, thereby choosing the religious active backbone of the parish. It is clear from the reports that they considered the experience of the Western Slavonic brotherhoods and the orthodox charity organisations which existed in America. However, neither of these projects was capable of solving the most important problem of parish life, that is the effi ciency of the parish economy, which was largely dependent on decisions of the peasant community. Bishops considered it possible to seek the help of the civil authorities in collecting the money from the parishioners. And only few were ready to give the parish organization the rights to be economically independent.
History of Russia of the XIX century, the history of the Russian Orthodox Church, Church reform, the reform of the Orthodox parish, the parish council of trustees (prihodskie popechitel’stva), the reform of the council of trustees (prihodskie popechitel’
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