(secular name Petr Nikitich Spasskii). Born June 4 (15), 1792, in the pogost (small administrative division) of Spasskoe, in what is now Novgorod Oblast; died Feb. 26 (Mar. 10), 1838, at the Iur’ev Monastery, Novgorod. Russian religious figure.
The son of a d’iachok (a low-ranking church official), Fotii graduated from a seminary in 1814 and took monastic vows in 1817. With the support of Countess A. A. Orlova, he entered the highest circles of St. Petersburg society and was introduced to Alexander I. In 1822 he was elected archimandrite and appointed superior of the Iur’ev Monastery in Novgorod. Associated with A. A. Arakcheev and other reactionaries, Fotii, himself an intolerant zealot, played a significant role in political intrigues and influenced Alexander I and his policies. A. S. Pushkin’s epigram on Fotii, entitled “Half Fanatic, Half Knave,” became famous.