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nineteenth (XIX ) century , literature , religion , Thomas Arnold , Metropolitan Filaret
Home | History | Dean Stanley and the Russian Church

Dean Stanley and the Russian Church

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Thomas Arnold’s favourite pupil at Rugby, Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (1815-1881), published a classic Life of his hero at the age of twenty-nine and went on to still wider celebrity as a reforming tutor at Oxford, canon of Canterbury Cathedral, Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical of History at Oxford, and Dean of Westminster (1864-81).

Portrait of  Arthur Penrhyn Stanley from

Portrait of  Arthur Penrhyn Stanley from

As the queen’s favourite churchman, Stanley was the natural choice to officiate at the Anglican wedding of Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, to Grand Duchess Mariia Aleksandrovna in January 1874.

Grand Duchess Marie of Russia, Duchess of Edinburgh, Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha

Grand Duchess Marie of Russia, Duchess of Edinburgh, Duchess of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, from

His experience and scholarly interests offered a further qualification: he had already travelled to Russia in 1857 in preparation for his Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church, published in March 1861. Admired for the attractiveness of its style, the book’s Broad Church assumptions proved predictably controversial in Britain. Yet in Russia both the Lectures and their author attracted sympathetic interest from precisely the sort of confessionalized tserkovniki who, while drawn to Tractarians such as Canon Liddon, might normally have been expected to cavil at Stanley’s dogma-free dream of an inclusive national church capable of incorporating dissenters on their own terms. The point of this paper is to try to explain the paradox. Discussing his relationship with leading Russians including Metropolitan Filaret (Drozdov), A.N. Murav’ev, M.M. Sukhotin, I.T. Osinin, Countess Antonina Bludova, and Metropolitan Filaret, the paper falls into three parts, covering in turn Stanley’s visit to Russia in 1857, his publication of the Lectures, and his return in 1874.

Paper given at the Fifth Fitzwilliam Colloquium in Russian Studies "British Perception and Reception of Russian Culture, 18th-20th Centuries", Cambridge, 2012.