Stoglav Synod

Stoglav Synod


(also the Hundred Chapters Council), a church council attended by Tsar Ivan IV and representatives of the Boyar Duma. The Stoglav Synod met in Moscow in January and February 1551 and completed its work in May of that year. The synod received its name from the Stoglav, a collection of the synod’s decisions, which was divided into 100 chapters (in Russian, sto glav). It was convoked by the government, which supported the church in its struggle against antifeudal, heretical movements but at the same time sought to subordinate the church to secular authority.

The synod proclaimed the inviolability of church property and the church court’s exclusive judicial authority over the clergy. At the demand of the church hierarchy, the government abolished the tsar’s judicial authority over the clergy. In return, the synod members made several concessions to the government on other matters; for example, it allowed the government to prohibit monasteries from establishing new slobody (tax-exempt settlements) in the cities.

Other decisions of the synod dealt with the standardization of church ritual and the regularization of church taxes throughout Russia. The synod also drew up new regulations to improve the educational and moral standards of the clergy and to ensure that clergymen performed their duties correctly; for example, it provided for the creation of schools for training priests. The church authorities also gained control over scribes, iconographers, and others employed by the church.

Throughout the second half of the 16th and the 17th century, the Stoglav, along with the Nomocanon, was the chief legal code regulating the clergy and their relations with society and the state. Several manuscript versions of the Stoglav have been preserved.


“Makar’evskii Stoglavnik.” In Trudy Novgorodskoi gubernskoi uche-noi arkhivnoi komissii, fasc. 1. Novgorod, 1912.