УДК 94(47).083:341.958



Original article


The Holy Synod, the Council of Ministers and the Problems of Improving the Legislative Process in the Russian Empire (1906 — 1914)


Averin M. B.



Introduction. The complication of the legislative process since 1906, in which interested departments, both chambers of Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the Emperor took part, the public nature of the discussion of issues in the State Duma, where the religious Commission operated, and the State Council, led to the emergence of completely new conditions for the activities of representatives of the Holy Synod in the field of lawmaking. The most important issue is the differentiation of civil (secular) and ecclesiastical spheres of legislation, attempts to resolve the contradictions that have arisen in this area between the Council of Ministers, the Holy Synod and other central departments.

Materials and methods. The materials for the study were special journals of the Council of Ministers, verbatim reports of meetings of the State Council, official letters and regulatory legal acts. The most important research methods were comparative, historical-legal and system-analysis.

Results and discussion. Certain aspects of this problem have repeatedly served as the subject of scientific research. In particular, the issues of the development of marriage and family relations and the legal status of women, church legislation, the relations of the Holy Synod with other higher and central state institutions were studied in detail. However, the problem of interaction between the Holy Synod, various departments and the Council of Ministers in the framework of the latter’s work in the field of law-making has not yet been sufficiently considered. The article attempts to analyze the activities of the Holy Synod, its chief prosecutors, which was aimed at preserving the influence of the spiritual department in the preparation of bills, as well as the struggle on this issue in the Council of Ministers.

Conclusion. The legislative practice of the Russian Empire, although extremely slowly, but inexorably followed the path of increasing the scope of secular (civil) legislation. The relatively successful attempts to more or less clearly separate the secular and ecclesiastical spheres of legal regulation initiated by the Holy Synod, its concern about the existing practice, were just obvious proof of the development of the situation in this direction, and the government’s position on this issue testified that the struggle of the church department could end only with temporary and insignificant tactical successes.

Keywords: The Holy Synod, the Council of Ministers, the legislative process of the Russian Empire

Acknowledgements: the publication is based on the report of the Interregional Scientific and Practical Conference “II Spassky Readings in Honor of the Venerable Martyr Catherine of Simbirsk” (Ulyanovsk, Spassky Convent, February 17 — 18, 2023).

For citation: Averin MB. The Holy Synod, the Council of Ministers and the Problems of Improving the Legislative Process in the Russian Empire (1906 — 1914). Bulletin of the Research Institute of the Humanities by the Government of the Republic of Mordovia. 2024;16(1):85—96. EDN YHWPHP




1. Averin MB. The Council of Ministers of the Russian Empire: Legal Regulation in National Suburbs (1906 — 1914). Moscow;2013. (In Russ.)

2. Alekseeva SI. The Holy Synod in the System of Higher and Central State Institutions of Post­Reform Russia 1856 — 1904. St. Petersburg;2003. (In Russ.)

3. Ambartsumov IV. Problems and Conflicts of the Marriage Law of the Russian Empire (Late XIX — Early XX Century). Christian Reading. 2013;(1):39—113. (In Russ.)

4. Veremenko VA. The Noble Family and the State Policy of Russia (the Second Half of the XIX — the Beginning of the XX Century). St. Petersburg;2007. (In Russ.)

5. Dorskaya AA. Russian Lawmaking on Freedom of Conscience in 1905 —1917. Problems of Socio-Economic and Political History of Russia of the XIX — XX Centuries. St. Petersburg;1999:354—363. (In Russ.)

6. Dorskaya AA. Church Law in the System of Law of the Russian Empire of the Late XVIII — Early XX Centuries. Dis. … Dr. of Legal Sci. Moscow;2008. (In Russ.)

7. Lavrov VM, Lobanov VV, Mazyrin AV. The Hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Patriarchate and the State in the Revolutionary Era. Moscow;2008. (In Russ.)

8. Levshin EM. The Indissolubility of Marriage as a Culture-Forming Principle of Marriage Law: the Choice of Russia at the Turn of the XIX — XX Century. History of State and Law. 2014;(20):58—63. (In Russ.)

9. Rozhkov V. Church Issues in the State Duma. Moscow;2004. (In Russ.)

10. Fedorov VA. The Russian Orthodox Church and the State. Synodal Period. 1700 — 1917. Moscow;2003. (In Russ.)


The article was submitted 19.07.2023; approved after reviewing 02.10.2023; accepted for publication 07.10.2023.


Information about the author:

Mikhail B. Averin, Associate Professor of Department of Theory of Law and Comparative Law of the National Research University Higher School of Economics (3 Bolshoy Trekhsvyatelsky Lane, Moscow 123022, Russia), Candidate of Legal Sciences, Associate Professor, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2509-7502, averin.mb@yandex.ru


Conflict of interest: the author declares that there is no conflict of interest.


The author read and approved the final version of the manuscript.