Features of documenting the activities of parish churches in Siberia from the 18th to the early 20th century (based on the materials of the Tobolsk diocese)

Historical Science and Archeology

The study aims to find out the factors influencing the change in document forms of parish churches and leading to the emergence of new types of documents, and also to reveal the peculiarities of documenting the activities of Siberian churches from the 18th to the early 20th centuries in comparison with other regions of Russia. We have determined that the documents which were established at the legislative level had undergone significant changes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries, and the documentation which was not controlled by the highest authorities, for example, local records, remained virtually unchanged. Comparison of legal acts and documents of parish churches revealed that the structure of the documents depended on new forms but even after they were adopted, old forms were still filled out in many churches. That is why the Synod had to duplicate the decrees and order of the diocesan authorities to convince their subordinates to keep records according to statutory rules. The main issue of “Church record keeping” in the Tobolsk diocese was the lack of trained personnel; the diocese occupied a very large area, many communities distant from the center and obviously not receiving enough attention from the diocesan authorities and the deans, and clergymen of major and minor orders rarely expressed a desire to move and work in distant parishes.