Entangled Religions 11.1 (2020) er.ceres.rub.de

Coercion, Cooperation, Conflicts and Contempt

Orthodox-Lutheran Relations in Swedish-Occupied Kexholm County, Karelia, in the Seventeenth Century

Teuvo Laitila School of Theology, University of Eastern Finland

The article is about the Swedish religious policy towards the Orthodox (a majority at first, a minority after the mid-1650s) and Orthodox-Lutheran relations at the grassroots level. It shows that in official Swedish policy, the highest authorities urged local functionaries to cautious and non-coercive treatment of the Orthodox, while the latter at times proposed, and partly tried to implement, a forced conversion of the Karelians. Grassroots relations between Orthodox and Lutherans varied greatly, depending on which of them made up a majority in each place, who owned the land, and whether the Lutherans were newcomers. When the Orthodox were a majority the Lutherans conformed with their faith, even converting to Orthodoxy, although this was officially forbidden. When the majority consisted of Lutherans, the Orthodox started to convert or to assimilate to the Lutheran way of life. At the county level, religion as such was not a major factor in transforming the region into a Lutheran one. More important was the way in which religious issues were linked to local social encounters and practices and how the state overtly or covertly attempted to change Orthodoxy and encouraged Orthodox emigration from and Lutheran immigration to the county.

Kexholm County (Karelia), Swedish religious policy, Orthodox, seventeenth century, Orthodox-Lutheran relations, conversion



The areas around the western and northern shores of Lake Ladoga, later part of Kexhom län (i.e., county, in Finnish: Käkisalmen lääni, see figure 1),1 were for centuries a bone of contention between Novgorod and, later, Russia and Sweden. The region was inhabited predominantly by Karelians, who since the eleventh century were under Slavic, and partly also Swedish, influence, and during the thirteenth century started to adopt features of Christianity, mainly in its Orthodox form. After the so-called Twenty-five Years War (1570–1595), which devastated, among other things, the economic network built around the two Lagodan monasteries, Valaam and Konevets,2 the area came under Moscow (1595–1610). After the 1595 Treaty of Teusina (in Finnish, Täyssinä), an unknown number of Lutherans who had arrived during the war stayed, often converting to Orthodoxy (Lähteenmäki 2010, 112–14). Governor general of Kexholm County, Ingria and Livonia,3 Johan Skytte, a zealous Lutheran, later (in 1633) argued that they numbered in the thousands (Laasonen 2005, 24).

Figure 1: The Finnish counties according to the administrative reorganisation in 1634. Kexholm County, divided by the present Finno-Russian borderline, is number 21. The others are Åbo and Björneborg County (1), Nyland and Tavastehus (14), Österbotten (18), sometimes considered as a part of Sweden, and Vyborg and Nyslott (20). Ecclesiastically, Kexholm County was under the Bishop of Vyborg, but its profane administrative status varied, as stated in footnote 3. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Finnish_counties_1635.jpg, Copyright: Ximfel1, Licence: CC-BY-SA 3.0.
Figure 2: Parishes of Vyborg and Kexholm counties in 1635. The eastern border of Kexholm Country was the Finno-Russian border until 1940. Map by Johanna Laitila, adapted from Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen (2010, 243).


After 1595, Russia established a separate Karelian diocese headed by a certain Silvestr, later bishop of Pskov (Kirkinen 1979, 105–6; Kuujo 1963, 101). Kirkinen (1982, 91–92) strongly argues that he also managed to organise the diocese administration. Later Swedish evidence partly supports this, indicating that some new Orthodox parishes were founded, perhaps no earlier than in the 1610s, in areas north and northeast of Lake Ladoga (see Manninen 1917, 3–4; Pelkonen 1965, 73–74). One of these, Pälkjärvi parish (see figure 2), is said to have had as many as four churches or praying houses with as many priests (Saloheimo 1976, 106). From more southern areas we have some Russian evidence, too. In a letter from the year 1599, Silvestr appoints a certain Afanasi, son of Jacob, as priest to a chapel church in Kronoborg (in Finnish, Kurkijoki) parish (Kirkinen 1982, 93, a Finnish translation of the letter).


During the Time of Troubles (ca. 1598–1613), Russia needed Swedish military support against the Poles. In the February 1609 treaty, then ruler of Moscow Ivan Shuiskiy promised Kexholm, a fortified town and the administrative centre of the area located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ladoga, to Sweden in return for aid. However, he could not keep his promise due to his weak position and local resistance. After Shuiskiy’s displacement in the summer of 1610, Sweden took the town and large parts around the western and northern shores of Lake Ladoga by force and occupied them until the 1617 Peace of Stolbova (Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 205–9, 215).


According to the treaty (see Hallendorff 1903, 242–69), the northern and western regions around the lake were annexed to Sweden as Kexholm County. The annexation of an Orthodox territory brought with it political and religious challenges for both Sweden and the local inhabitants. On the one hand, the Swedish Crown had to secure the loyalty of its new dissident subjects. On the other, it considered their forced conversion as unwise, backfiring as mutinies, and providing Russia a pretext to attempt the recapture of the area (see Sivonen 2007, 84–90). Both issues were topical particularly before the 1656–1661 war, which greatly changed the demographic and religious situation, turning the county into an overwhelmingly Lutheran province. However, they mattered even during the latter part of the century, although Orthodox acclimatization to and even integration into the Lutheran majority society greatly diminished their importance.


To my knowledge, previous studies have usually taken for granted the Swedish right to promote Lutheranism in the county. The colonial dimension of Swedish rule, the local history as such and the voices of the Orthodox (available only through Lutheran officials) have not been much realised or considered. Earlier studies have discussed the Lutheran ecclesiastical influence and activities in Kexholm County in the context of, or relating to, the neighbouring areas Vyborg (in Finnish, Viipuri) County and Ingria (in Finnish, Inkeri) and focused on Ingria or Vyborg (for example, Knuutila and Hiekkanen 2017; Mikkola 1932; Simolin 1909; Sivonen 2007); Kexholm County proper has not been the main subject of study. Only Kuujo (1963) has studied part of it, Border Karelia, or the predominantly Orthodox middle part of the county, but, unlike myself, not primarily from a religious viewpoint.


Events affecting Orthodox-Lutheran relations, like the Orthodox migration from and to Kexholm County during the seventeenth century, have also been studied (e.g. Laasonen 2005; Lähteenmäki 2010; Saloheimo 2010), but excluding Laasonen (2005) they have related them to profane issues such as crop failures and war.


Yet another issue pertaining to Orthodox-Lutheran relations, namely folk religiosity, has generally been studied separately; folk religion and state religion are not considered interconnected. Lutheran authorities ruled the former outside religion as ‘superstition’ or ‘heathendom,’ regarding it as a crime (see Laasonen 1967, 84–85; Matikainen 1995). Later, church historians followed suit while ethnologists mostly ignored the official religion (see Laitila 2017, 30–41; cf. Toivo 2016). What I attempt to show is that ethnographic data, too, is significant in evaluating interfaith relations at an official level, if for no other reason than trying to hear the voices of common people, Orthodox or otherwise, apart from the macro-historical voice of the Swedish authorities (see Ginzburg 1993).


In what follows, I map out how the Swedish Crown and local Lutheran bishops of Vyborg tried to find a balance between these issues to turn the Orthodox into loyal subjects and to keep them satisfied under the Swedish rule. Thus, I ask: What means did the bishops and other Swedish authorities use to convert the Orthodox or to make them loyal? Were there any differences at royal (state-wide) and local levels? How did the Orthodox react? As far as the source material permits, I also pay attention to the development of local relations between the Orthodox and the Lutherans as well as folk religiosity, asking: How they are portrayed in the sources? What can we conclude from them?


What, then, are the sources? Previous studies, usually in form of monographs, build heavily on archival material consisting of various official reports, letters and protocols of trials. Their fragmentary nature is often acknowledged: most of them originate from the pen of a Swedish authority, unevenly describe the area and people (heavily centring on regions close to Vyborg), highlight only cases interesting, for various reasons, to those in power, focus on males, etc. A perusal of the archives may rectify this, but for this article I was unable to do so. Therefore, I build on critical reading of quotations and summaries of unpublished sources in previous studies, juxtaposed, as far as possible, with printed sources (similarly official data), to present a polyphonic description of Orthodox-Lutheran relations.


The polyphony is also part of my perspective (some may call it method); as stated I suppose that previous readings of the sources are biased towards a macro-historical, and, in the end, political, justification of the Crown’s and Lutheran perspectives, while my aim is to offer a more multidimensional view which does not privilege any of the parties involved and oscillates between macro- and micro-history. That is, my analysis tries to avoid projecting on the data any preconceived idea about the stories they tell but to follow the (often insignificant) clues they provide (see Ginzburg 1990). However, because I am more interested in the effects of Swedish policies on the Orthodox and their reactions than the efforts of the Swedish Crown or Church, or the position of the Lutherans, I am biased towards the Orthodox.


In the following sections I discuss, partly chronologically, partly thematically, Swedish measures adopted to turn Orthodox loyal subjects (sections “Beginnings,” “Reorientations,” and “Policy after 1686” in particular) and various Orthodox countermeasures (sections “Early Grassroots Relations,” “From Wartime to the 1686 Church Law,” and “Local Relations”). The section “Beginnings” outlines the legal position of the Kexholm County Orthodox after 1617 and discusses the royal instructions relative to the Orthodox and their local interpretations. “Early Grassroots Relations” deals with Orthodox loyalty pursued in official encounters with local Lutheran authorities but ignored in personal conflicts. The section “Reorientations” is about official attempts to create an Orthodox community independent of Russia but obedient to the Swedish Crown, and to make the Orthodox culturally Swedish by recruiting their priests to impart elements of Lutheranism on their parishioners. “From Wartime to the 1686 Church Law” aims to show that loyalty during the first part of the seventeenth century was contextual; when a war broke out, many Orthodox sided with the Russians and, finally, emigrated rather than staying in a Lutheran country. The section “Policy after 1686” shows that after the mid-1600s war, the Crown considered the county a Lutheran area to be ruled by the same regulations as the rest of Sweden, codified in the 1686 Church Law. The last section, “Local Relations,” resorts to protocol records to show that during the last decades of Swedish rule, by emphasising the ‘proper’ education of Lutherans, the Crown created a divide separating the ‘rational’ Lutheran from the ‘superstitious’ Orthodox, thus marginalising the Orthodox and biasing the Lutherans against them.


Before going on to the analysis proper, a few notes on the term Orthodox. By speaking of the Orthodox, I refer to the original majority ethnicity of the county, the Karelians, although there were ethnic Russian Orthodox as well, particularly in larger southern centres. I ‘discriminate’ the latter because, judging from the names, most of the data I have deals with the Karelians. For the sake of clarity, I speak of the Orthodox although the contemporary Swedish term was “Russian religion” or sometimes “Greek religion” or also “Greek Catholics.”4

Beginnings: Zealots Want to Convert the ‘Heathens’ Immediately


Kexholm County consisted of areas which were recently annexed to Sweden or had never belonged to it. Most of the county’s population5 was Orthodox and, according to Laasonen (2005, 69, 84), on average wealthier than Lutherans. This evidently requires qualifications. To begin with, in the first part of the seventeenth century, particularly the Russian-speaking Orthodox in the southern part of the county were more affluent than Lutherans, while after the mid-seventeenth century the number of rich Orthodox went down everywhere (see Saloheimo 1976, 15–72). Second, I have not found detailed information of the number of rich Orthodox or the nature of their wealth. Probably they were merchants or landowners, positions which the Lutherans seldom occupied in the early colonial period.


According to the 1617 treaty, the spiritual head of the Orthodox was the archbishop of Novgorod. In theory, this denoted that the Orthodox were granted a sort of autonomy consisting of a separate ecclesiastical administration and the right to pursue their religion without obstacles. In practice, it meant that the archbishop ordained the parish priests, who came either from the county or from Russian areas—until the Crown ruled in about 1661 that the Vyborg chapter confirms their appointment. In most cases the priest originated from the neighbouring Russian areas, as for example Ivan Fyodorov, an Olonets-born priest of Ilomantsi in the late seventeenth century (Saloheimo 1976, 277; see also Laasonen 2005, 141–42).


Unfortunately, the treaty did not explicate the nature of Orthodox autonomy in detail (see Pelkonen 1965, 74). It simply forbade Orthodox peasants and priests (some dozens of them existed) to migrate to Russia, whereas Orthodox monks6 and townsmen were allowed to move; if they stayed, they became Swedish subjects (Hallendorff 1903, 250). Thus, the treaty ‘favoured’ the peasants, who usually were Karelians, and discriminated against the Russians, who were a majority among urban merchants (and monks). Considering that the 1571 Swedish Church Law explicitly equated the Russians with heathens, a remarkable admission was that it did not say anything about the nature of Orthodoxy.7


To ‘civilise’ the Orthodox, particularly in the densely populated regions around the western shores of Lake Ladoga and in the westernmost frontiers (e.g. the former Swedish-Russian borderland), King Gustavus Adolphus II re-established, in 1618, the Lutheran diocese of Vyborg,8 covering the counties of Kexholm, Vyborg and Nyslott, parts of the Nyland and Tavastehus County (see figure 1) and Ingria, with the seat in Vyborg. In 1641, Ingria separated to form an ecclesiastical entity of its own, administered by a bishop entitled the superintendent.


Formally the bishop of Vyborg (the first one was Olaus Elimaeus, a Finnish priest with long experience in Stockholm) supervised the Lutherans, but in effect he was also expected to monitor the Orthodox (in that time probably meaning those close to Vyborg). In 1618, the king admonished him to send among these “superstitious idolaters” “erudite and decent priests” who were able, in a “docile and gentle manner,” to give testimony to the true religion. Moreover, he urged Elimaeus to select places for building Lutheran churches where “such a barbarian people” could by “mass and beautiful ceremonies” be persuaded to adopt Lutheranism (quoted in Laasonen 2005, 21; see Tarkiainen 1986, 111). In other words, the king outlined those practices which should be used to transform Kexholm County into a ‘purely Lutheran’ part of the Swedish state (Knuutila and Hiekkanen 2017, 47–52; Kuujo 1963, 65; Lehtinen 1961, 203; Lähteenmäki 2010, 123).


Further, according to the king’s 1622 specifications of his earlier instructions (see Simolin 1909, 316), when an Orthodox priest died, his substitute should be elected from among the local people (ryssar eller finnar [Orthodox or Lutheran, or literally, Russians and Finns], suggesting the possibility to elect a Lutheran) and not invited or accepted from abroad (e.g. from Russia), as the treaty stipulated. Later, the rulers either allowed this or did not expel priests sent from Russia (Bång [1643] 1902, 107–9; Immonen 1958, 271–75, 282–83; Kuujo 1963, 100; Laasonen 1967, 86; Sivonen 2007, 85, 174–75).


The projects entrusted to Elimaeus advanced slowly, perhaps due to corrupted bureaucracy, economic shortages, lack of Lutherans in places and local Orthodox resistance. Nevertheless, at the time of Elimeus’s death in 1629 there were six Lutheran pastors and eight churches in the southernmost parts of the county, compared to seventeen Orthodox priests and forty-eight churches or prayer-houses in the middle and northern areas.


In the beginning of the regency of Queen Christina in the early 1630s, both the governor general and the bishop of Vyborg tried to tighten control by referring to the king’s suggestion to replace a deceased or runaway Orthodox priest with a Lutheran one. The regency was willing in principle but insisted that no coercion should be used. I have no evidence that any replacement was attempted (see Laasonen 2005, 36, 41–43). Instead, the Crown recruited literate Orthodox clergy to convert their parishioners (see section “Reorientations”). When this failed, the Vyborg chapter proposed to Queen Christina in 1647 that the Finnish-speaking Orthodox should be incorporated into Lutheran parishes (this already had been done earlier, see section “Reorientations”). Those speaking Russian were allowed to remain in the Orthodox Church if they did not want to “listen to Finnish [e.g. Lutheran] sermons”. The proposal probably was but a pretext to circumvent the agreements of the 1617 treaty. The queen answered as she had earlier; turning the Orthodox to Lutheranism was desirable but should be done by peaceful means. In the end, nothing much happened before the 1680s, when this selection was practiced for a few years in Ingria (Bång [1643] 1902, 107–12; Kuujo 1963, 50, 65; Laasonen 2005, 23; Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 424–25; on Ingria, see Mikkola 1932). The episode indicates that royal policy was guided by realpolitik, e.g. considering its effects on Swedish-Russian relations, whereas local ecclesiastical authorities wanted to solve the ‘Orthodox question’ once and for all.


However, the ruler supported the local authorities’ policy by another means, namely, by supporting immigration. This began in the 1610s when Lutherans from Vyborg and Nyslott County started to move southwards or eastwards in search of places for slash-and-burn cultivation or to escape military recruiting (from which Kexholm County was exempted). After some hesitation, the ruler began to encourage this by promising tax reliefs to immigrants. And because at that time the Crown needed money more urgently than the Lutheran ‘true believers,’ the king also joined, similarly by means of tax reliefs, in return for the Orthodox having fled to Russia during wartime. Evidently, during the late 1610s and the 1620s, Lutheran immigration was common, particularly to the southernmost parishes of the county. This initiated the transformation of the county’s southern parts into a Lutheran region. Elsewhere, the Orthodox remained a majority.


During the 1630s and 1640s, when several crop failures occurred but the authorities did not ease taxation, Lutheran immigration declined while Orthodox emigration increased, particularly from Pälkjärvi, Salmi, Sordavala (in Finnish, Sortavala) and Suistamo, from where several hundreds of people moved to Russia. According to Veijo Saloheimo’s calculations, in the decade between 1631 and 1640 some seven thousand people left for Russia. During the next decade, the number was at around six thousand. At least in the 1640s, they also included Lutherans. These movements heavily diminished the Orthodox population. The 1617 peace treaty mutually obligated Sweden and Russia to return the fugitives, but this seldom happened (Kuujo 1963, 17–18, 55–68; Lähteenmäki 2010, 128–31; Saloheimo 2010, 175–84; Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 279, 309, 381). The result was that especially Orthodox parts of the county became less and less populated, creating (for the state) the need for new taxpayers and leaving space for Lutheran immigrants.

Early Grassroots Relations: Official Pressure, Loyalty and Conflicting Personal Interests


Despite aggressive official rhetoric, there is evidence of Orthodox adjustment to the Swedish rule. Already during the Twenty-five Years War, and anew from 1610 to 1617, some Orthodox served, for example, as scouts, suppliers of provisions or soldiers for the Swedish army. After 1617, when the Crown wished to keep the Orthodox taxpayers in the county, it leaned on the support of Orthodox leaders. Several of them either had fled or were killed during the war, but some that stayed behind were willing to work for the victor for economic and status reasons or otherwise. For example, rector of Kronoborg parish, Osip Kuismin, took an oath to the Swedish king and local authorities and, according to contemporary documents, was in return valued by them (Immonen 1958, 268; Kuujo 1963, 14; Lähteenmäki 2010, 115–16, 122; Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 252).


It seems evident that the reason to appreciate the Orthodox, at least the powerful ones, was their benefit to the state. An example is Rodion Lobanov, a deacon and, despite his name, probably a Karelian who was appointed as staarosta,9 or the eldest one, of Kronoborg and whose duty was to levy taxes. He was in office from 1625 to 1635. In the mid-1630s, state authorities also used him in their negotiations with the tsar to persuade him to return Swedish subjects, who had fled to Russia to avoid being recruited. Lobanov was followed by another loyal man, bailiff of Kronoborg Jefim Simonov (see section “Reorientations”). Another example is Rodion’s contemporary, Kliment Ivanov, staarosta of Suojärvi and Pälkjärvi. His ethnicity is uncertain; he could be Karelian or Russian. However, the main point is that he stayed and served Sweden (Kuujo 1963, 18, 27, 66; Laasonen 2005, 89; Lähteenmäki 2010, 122; Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 259, 274, 281).


The discussion on Orthodox loyalty requires some qualification. Saloheimo (1976, 114) states that in 1642, the Orthodox Kuisma, son of Pahoma, was elected both as a juror and a churchwarden of a local Lutheran church in Kesälahti (part of the Uukuniemi parish). Laasonen (2005, 71–72) suggests that Kuisma, in fact, was not responsible for the Lutheran church but an Orthodox member of a joint committee ordered to see that the local Orthodox, too, assisted in building the Lutheran church, as instructed by the king (see section “Beginnings”). That sounds plausible, but perhaps needs to be contextualised with the fact that this was the first Lutheran church in Kesälahti, the Lutherans were a slightly minority, and the priest under which the construction happened was the first one in office there (see Akiander 1868, 358). We do not know whether Kuisma volunteered for this post or was somehow forced to accept it, for example as a token of Orthodox loyalty, or simply to ease (possible) tensions between Lutheran newcomers, such as the pastor, and local Orthodox.


Two other cases also illuminate what Orthodox loyalty could mean in these times. In 1642, the Sordavala district court appointed Simon Sinkoff to supervise the building of the (first) Lutheran parsonage (Immonen 1958, 294). Some twenty-five years later, in Ilomantsi, nine (or nearly a half) of the functionaries elected to supervise the Lutheran churchgoing on Sundays were Orthodox (Manninen 1917, 22–23; Saloheimo 1976, 273). In both parishes, the Orthodox made up a narrow majority, and in Ilomantsi the election happened during the tenure of the first Lutheran priest (see Akiander 1868, 247). Thus, the cases may imply tactical Lutheran concessions to the majority. If so, they also suggest that the Orthodox were powerful enough to participate in local decision-making, or that the Lutherans had to rely on, or manipulate, the Orthodox. Finally, they may indicate an Orthodox way to negotiate working relations with local Lutherans. An extreme example of this is deacon Mikhail, an Orthodox also functioning as the Lutheran pastor of the northern parish of Pielisjärvi in the 1640s and 1650s, whom the Swedish authorities thanked for his loyalty during the mid-1600s war (see section “From Wartime to the 1686 Church Law”).10 Laasonen (2005, 117–20) argues that after the war he held various parish functions, but I have been unable to secure this. The post-war parish itself was integrated into that of Ilomantsi.


The cases mentioned revolve around Orthodox relations to some sort of institution, parish, county authorities, or the ruler. Except Lobanov, all the trusted Orthodox were laypeople, which suggests that the Swedes regarded them (but less the Orthodox clergy) as potentially loyal. On the other hand, it seems that the Orthodox were loyal for the ‘simple’ reason of securing their position in the new situation and adjusting to it, and the Lutherans understood this and capitalised on the chance.


Personal relations at the local level were another matter. For example, in 1640 the already mentioned parson of Kesälahti complained that three Orthodox peasants had seized his slash-burning (Saloheimo 1976, 114). The accusation could be true, but one also must consider the complainant, Matthiae Martinus. Unfortunately, not much is known about him, only that around 1637 he was appointed as the first Lutheran priest there (Akiander 1868, 358). It would not have been unusual for some Orthodox to consider him an intruder not entitled to the land evidently allocated to him by the (distant) authorities. To continue speculations, if he was also one of those less qualified pastors of which Per Brahe, governor general of Grand Duchy of Finland,11 complained in his 1638 report to the state, he perhaps had no high opinion of the Orthodox. Brahe argued that priests sent to Kexholm County, particularly to remote rural parishes, preferred pubs to churches, and, when drunk, mocked the Orthodox religion (Kuujo 1963, 47; Laasonen 1967, 26; Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 358).


Another example comes from Kronoborg from 1640. One of the two deacons of its main Orthodox church, Ignat son of Kuisma, was fined with 80 thalers because he was drinking on a Sunday and elbowed his way, drunk, into the Lutheran church in Elisenvaara, a Kronoborg parish village where the priest was giving a sermon. When he criticised Ignat for being sodden and, moreover, reproached him for bungling in levying taxes for the Crown, Ignat flared up and beat the priest badly (Immonen 1958, 276–77). In other words, what mattered for the Lutheran pastor was a violation of church regulations (being drunk on Sunday), and what did not matter was the fact that Ignat was a (probably loyal) servant of the state.


Laypeople, too, could quarrel and ignore questions about loyalty to Sweden. The sources throughout the seventeenth century indicate that communal drinking, and quarrelling or brawling while drunk, was not untypical of Orthodox-Lutheran relations (see also section “Local Relations”). On the contrary, drinking brought to surface conflicts which, if not quite about religion, were intensified by the fact that the parties were of different religions. Laasonen (2005, 85–86) mentions several cases (from Sordavala and its northern neighbourhood, Kides [in Finnish, Kitee]) in which a violent aftermath of communal drinking was heard in a district court. Unfortunately, no details of these incidents are known. We may speculate that drinking together suggests a loose communal tolerance, while brawling afterwards implies its fragility. Whether or not religious differences played here a role is not clear, but evidence from other places and times (for example former Yugoslavia in the 1990s) support the notion that profane quarrels may be fostered, intensified and expressed by religious differences.


An example from Kexholm County in the first part of the seventeenth century is the symbolic power struggle between Lutherans (both priests and laypeople) and the Orthodox clergy. One of the most infamous cases is that of the Lutheran bailiff of Tiurula (part of Kronoborg parish), Juho Kauranen. Laasonen (2005, 98) considers him a unique case. He not only forced an Orthodox priest to officiate at marriages according to the Lutheran rites and confiscated his skufia (apparently because he did not take it from his head as a token of inferiority, as the subjects were expected to do) and the keys to his church, returning them only after getting a fee. He also overtaxed the Orthodox peasants to the extent that, in 1633, five of them complained to the queen, stating that if the oppression did not end, they would move to Russia (Leinberg 1893, 53–56; see also Immonen 1958, 285). The result was mainly negative (taxation was not changed), but Queen Christina (or her regency, because she was a minor) decreed that officials apply a more tolerant policy (Leinberg 1893, 59). Thus, by making a local quarrel a question of royal loyalty, the Orthodox were able to strike back.

Reorientations: Attempts to Create the ‘Swedish Greek Orthodox’


As his instructions imply (see section “Beginnings”), in the beginning King Gustavus Adolphus was suspicious of Orthodox loyalty. His distrust likely increased with the discovery, in 1619, of some letters which the archbishop of Novgorod had unofficially sent to the Karelian and Ingrian Orthodox to boost their loyalty to Russia. The king therefore forbade the Orthodox (against the treaty) to acquire new priests from Russia (the prohibition was reissued in 1635 and 1638) and began to consider their separation from Novgorod by procuring them a bishop independent of Russia; in effect, to establish a minority church, a Karelian-Ingrian Orthodox community under Swedish tutelage. It is uncertain how much the idea was influenced by an anonymous hegumen who (in Ivangorod, the centre of the Ingrian Orthodox) had offered his services to the king right after the 1617 peace with the ‘wish’ to become the head of the Orthodox in the newly-acquired Swedish lands (Tarkiainen 1986, 88–89; Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 253–54, 279, 291).


The community did not materialise, but some years later, after some parishes in Kexholm County failed to recruit replacements for their deceased priests (2005, 27), Gustavus Adolphus proposed placing his Orthodox subjects under the supervision of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which politically was under the Ottoman sultan. As is well known, the contemporary patriarch, Cyril I (Lucaris), with close contacts with the Dutch, was inclined towards Calvinism. In addition to trying to make the Orthodox more loyal by severing their ties with Moscow, the king perhaps appreciated the fact that the patriarch was far away and unable to mingle in Swedish politics, and therefore posed no risk to the Crown.


Not much is known about the plan; merely that in 1625, Gustavus Adolphus ordered the Ingrian Orthodox to select from among them two men to be consecrated as priests in Constantinople. They were to come to Stockholm first, where their loyalty would be investigated. Two years later, the governor general was ordered to ensure that the Orthodox of Kexholm County selected “two decent men” to be sent, via Stockholm, to Constantinople. No one selected ever appeared in the Swedish capital (Kuujo 1963, 47; Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 254–55). Kuujo (1963, 47; see Kirkinen 1979, 110) muses that no suitable men were found, and takes this to indicate local reluctance to the king’s plan. I think that this makes the Karelians too much like Protestant rationalists and find Kujala’s (Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 262) interpretation more convincing. He argues that the Orthodox were unwilling to abandon familiar traditions, implying that their resistance was due to age-old customs, not loyalty to religious institutions per se. However, Kujala’s further suggestion that the Orthodox considered the rejection of the Russian Church as the “first step towards” Lutheranism sounds a bit too rationalising.


Nevertheless, the idea survived. In 1633, regency of Queen Christina informed the governor general in passing that “Her Majesty would be pleased if someone were to be sent to Constantinople, whom the Patriarch … could consecrate to a Metropolitan, [who] then could provide them [the Orthodox] with priests of Greek religion” (Leinberg 1893, 59). Her ‘wish’ did not come true, but five years later a Kievan monk appeared in Ivangorod, allegedly with authorizations from the patriarchs of Constantinople and Jerusalem (then subject to Constantinople) to watch over the Orthodox in Ingria and Kexholm County. In Finnish studies, he is called Anfinagen; Laasonen (2005, 31) spells the name “Arfimager,” possibly an alternative spelling in Swedish sources. However, neither of them is a valid Russian or Ukrainian name, which thus remains unknown.12 The reason for his turning up probably was that local Russian townsmen, perhaps developing the idea of Gustavus Adolphus, had asked the metropolitan of (the Polish-held) Kiev to send them a bishop. The Swedish Crown treated Anfinagen with suspicion, finally sending him to Danzig (then a free city under the Polish Crown). His later fate is unknown (Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 299). The Kexholm County Orthodox possible did not even hear about him.


During the following years, Ingria became more and more central in these kinds of efforts. In 1662, the governor general of Ingria, Jacob Taube,13 alerted the king to the fact that because many priests had left for Russia during the 1650s war (see section “From Wartime to the 1686 Church Law”), local Orthodox recruited new ones by themselves from Russia. Taube suggested that instead of getting priests consecrated in Novgorod, they should be sent to Constantinople or (Polish-held) Belorussia or be ordained by the Ingrian superintendent (a Lutheran bishop). The latter possibility was purely theoretical, as Taube himself acknowledged. King Charles XI agreed: The Orthodox should get a bishop consecrated amongst the men born in “our lands.” The proposal was never put into practice, and the king finally buried this option in 1686, after Constantinople transferred14 its Central European ‘canonical areas,’ including Kiev, to Russia (Laasonen 2005, 140–41; Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 426).


Possibly, the matter was discussed in Russia, too, because local documents suggest that the Moscow Patriarchate sent a monk to Constantinople, where he was ordained as bishop of Karelia and Ingria around 1633. From Swedish documents we glean that he tried to travel to Karelia, was imprisoned and spent some time in the Åbo slott (castle, in Finnish, Turun linna). His later fate is unknown, but the episode itself indicates that Russia was worried about the future of the Kexholm County Orthodox. This is corroborated by the fact that in 1685, the archbishop of Novgorod consecrated an auxiliary bishop for “Karelia and Ladoga” (Kirkinen 1979, 110; Kuujo 1963, 101; Mikkola 1932, 10). These various attempts to create a separate Karelian Orthodox administration indicate that the loyalty of local people was important for both Sweden and Russia.


Another way of making the Karelian Orthodox more reliable was educating them in the Lutheran spirit. This was initiated in 1629 by the newly appointed governor general, Johan Skytte; he proposed that the Finnish-speaking Orthodox should participate in Lutheran services as well. The reason was that he regarded a substantial number of them as Lutherans who at some point had converted to Orthodoxy (Laasonen 2005, 24). Now he—and other authorities later pursuing the same policy—wanted their ‘return’ to the State Church. Laasonen claims that he did not aspire to their “Swedishisation” (see Laasonen 2005, 13–16; see Lehtinen 1961, 330–32). It is hard to tell for sure, but usually a switch in rituals and in the language in which they are conducted implies an attempt at assimilation.


Three years later (1632) Skytte was transformed to chancellor of the newly founded University of Dorpat (Tartu) and the threat of hard-line religious policy stood down. However, efforts to familiarise the Orthodox with Lutheranism continued. Namely, in the letter to the abovementioned peasants of Kronoborg the regency also reasserted the establishment of new Lutheran parishes and the building of new Lutheran churches. First parishes were founded in the late 1610s in Kexholm, Sakkola and Hiitola (the latter two located in the southernmost part of the county). After the letter, the process and the appointment of priests intensified in areas north of Kronoborg, and by 1653 the whole county, expect Suojärvi, at least nominally had a Lutheran parish. In fact, first a priest was appointed and the actual building of churches (mainly of wood) began only later; thus, founding a parish did not mean that it instantly started to function (Kirkinen 1979, 111; Knuutila and Hiekkanen 2017, 61; Laasonen 1967, 23–25, 48; Saloheimo 1976, 108, 110).


The expansion of Lutheranism was accompanied by a strong emphasis on rational understandings of religion. Throughout the seventeenth century, the Crown attempted to abolish as “ignorance” or “superstition” everything differing from its and its theologians’ Lutheran understanding of religion. For example, after Per Bjugg, a Swede, was consecrated bishop of Vyborg in 1642, Queen Christina provided him with instructions on how to run his diocese. She argued that Kexholm County was in a state of heathendom—not only the Orthodox but also the Lutherans, including (most of) the priests (Leinberg 1893, 228–29; see also Lehtinen 1961, 209; Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 363). While most paragraphs gave advice on how to improve Lutheran church discipline, the instructions also admonished the bishop to proceed “slowly” (medh makeligheet), that is, to guide not by coercion but by persuasion “those, who have elapsed [from Lutheranism] or still hang on the Greek religion” towards the “true” religion (Leinberg 1893, 229). Four decades later, Governor General Göran Sperling similarly demanded Ingrian gentry and other landowners to help the local superintendent Johannes Gezelius to lead to “true Christianity” the Orthodox Izhorians and Votes living in “wretched paganism and heresy” (Mikkola 1932, 4). Of Kexholm County he said nothing.


The county was, however, not totally neglected. To lead the Orthodox there onto the ‘right path,’ King Gustaphus Adolphus had Luther’s Small Catechism printed in Slavonic in 1628 in Stockholm. The translation was prepared by bailiff of Kronoborg Jefim Simonov, an Orthodox who was claimed to be “half Lutheran.” It was apparently put to use in early 1639, when governor general of Finland Per Brahe instructed Lutheran and Orthodox priests to let the former to teach the latter ‘true’ Christianity, to persuade them to learn to read the Small Catechism and the Gospel, and to impart this to their parishioners (the place is uncertain, probably Vyborg). The Orthodox priests were possibly also expected to educate the parishioners (mainly males, in all likelihood) to acknowledge the Swedish authorities as the right ones, as Brahe instructed a son of the priest of Taipale, Fyodor, around 1639, when he wished to be consecrated as his father’s follower. To make the clergy generally more willing, Brahe promised them corn and other commodities as well as farmland (Laasonen 2005, 53; Parvio 1982, 201; Purola 1984, 7–8; Saloheimo 1976, 267).


As Laasonen notices (2005, 49), Brahe’s policy meant a turn in official Lutheran-Orthodox relations. Whereas thus far, several authorities had wished to force the Orthodox to accept Lutheran priests or become members of a Lutheran parish without trying to educate them, Brahe attempted to persuade the Orthodox clergy to “enlighten” the Orthodox regarding Lutheranism. Because the state materially supported these priests, the policy amounted to a step towards accepting them as state functionaries reminiscent of the Lutheran clergy, thus implying a sort of tolerance of Orthodox institutions. The policy also prodded the Orthodox to accept the Lutheran emphasis on folk education. On the other hand, using the clergy to persuade laypeople to accept the conqueror’s ideology implies a sort of internal colonialization (see the British resort to native ‘reformers’ in nineteenth-century India).


In his 1643 report to state authorities, Bishop Bjugg concurred with Brahe by arguing that teaching the catechism to the Orthodox was desirable. His justification was, if not odd, rather theoretical. Namely, he claimed that if only Lutherans were required to learn the catechism, they could dodge the matter by converting to “laxer” Orthodoxy (Bång [1643] 1902, 104). By “laxer,” Bjugg evidently meant that Orthodox priests (or their superior, the archbishop of Novgorod) demanded neither literacy nor strict observation of church discipline from their parishioners (Laasonen 2005, 83). I find Bjugg’s argument hypocritical because even Lutheran education (particularly in areas with a substantial Orthodox population) started to materialise only since the early 1670s, and, unlike Brahe’s project, was the task of bell-ringers and cantors (Simolin 1912, 122; see also Hellemaa 1986, Ch. 2, §§ 9–10; Tarkiainen 1986, 126; Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 292–94, 370).


To judge from extant evidence, Brahe’s idea was put into practice. Most of the Orthodox clergy consented, perhaps for material reasons, but also because that mission gave them a more legal, and hence secure, position. Immonen (1958, 268–69; see also Laasonen 2005, 50, with reference to a letter by Brahe) lists 13 priests or deacons teaching the Slavonic catechism in 1640, while governor of Kexholm Magnus Nieroth reported to Stockholm in August 1640 that “some Russian priests and deacons teach the youth [a version of Luther’s Small] Catechism in churches, so that already more than twenty persons not only are able to read the Karelian [sic] … catechism, but also [know] a major part of it by heart” (quoted in Laasonen 2005, 50). We do not know where these persons were from, who they were or how skilled the were at reading.


Not all Orthodox priests were willing to fulfil Brahe’s idea. One example is Osip Kuismin, thus far considered loyal to the Crown (see section “Early Grassroots Relations”). Due to his rejection (the reason is unknown), he was discharged and replaced by a priest of Kronoborg, Joakim Terent’ev, whom Brahe appointed in July 1641 to also supervise the teaching of the other clergy. He was considered favourable for Orthodox-Lutheran rapprochement. But even Terent’ev’s commitment varied. When sued for witchcraft in 1642, he denied that he had taught Lutheranism to the “Russian people.” Nevertheless, later in the same year he affirmed to the court indeed having done so (Matikainen 1995, 170, 173). My sources do not attempt to explain this inconsistency. However, one may speculate that it had something to do with his ways to adopt a reasonable strategy in each phase of the trial (Immonen 1958, 283–85; Kuujo 1963, 49; Matikainen 1995, 164; Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 295–97).


Not daunted, in 1643 Bishop Bjugg suggested, and the next year organised, the printing of a new version of the abovementioned catechism, this time in Finnish, but in the Cyrillic alphabet. Several members of the clergy— Laasonen (2005, 52) puts their number at around ten—learned it by heart and allegedly started to teach it to their parishioners after the liturgy. I surmise that many of these teaching clergymen functioned in areas with heavy Lutheran influence; we know of their activities in Ilomantsi, Kronoborg, Libelits (in Finnish, Liperi), Pielisjärvi and Pälkjärvi, while from Suojärvi, for example, such information is lacking. For their work, they received material advantages, usually corn (Immonen 1958, 283–85; Kirkinen 1979, 108, 111; Kuujo 1963, 48–49; Laasonen 2005, 52; Pelkonen 1965, 79; Purola 1984, 7–9; Saloheimo 1976, 105–6). Teaching continued until about 1652, when poor economic conditions forced the state to discontinue it (Laasonen 2005, 54; Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 341–43). The number attending lectures or learning to read is not known but cannot be high.


Despite poor results, Bjugg praised the project. In a 1648 letter to Chancellor of the State Axel Oxenstierna, he argued that “the Russians [e.g. the Orthodox] start to conform nicely.” This happened after they had heard readings from the 1642 Finnish Bible and “salutary [Lutheran] explanations and exhortations” during Bjugg’s visitations, and read the Finnish Catechism, printed in Russian alphabets, in 1643 (Leinberg 1893, 332).15 By “visitations,” Bjugg referred to the 1630 state orders by Governor General Skytte that ruled that in Lutheran parishes (meaning both the existing ones and those planned for the northern and eastern parts of the county), the Orthodox living there had to attend both their own liturgy and, less frequently, Lutheran mass. Moreover, the Orthodox also were obligated to attend visitations of the bishop of Vyborg. However, in 1643 the queen advised that everything should be put into practice “very moderately” (quoted in Laasonen 2005, 64–65).


We do not know if or how Bjugg’s ideas materialised. In his 1643 exchange of letters with the queen he claimed that the Orthodox had voluntarily participated in his visitations (Laasonen 2005, 64). However, this possibly is confined to southern (Lutheran) parishes and their tiny Orthodox minorities because Simolin (1912, 85) states that first visitations to Pielisjärvi, Libelits and Ilomantsi were carried out but in 1683. Moreover, we do not know whether “the Orthodox” here means merely the clergy or also laypeople.


Despite their aura of reality, Bjugg’s claims may gravitate towards wishful thinking, intending to show the queen that he ran his diocese well and fulfilled her orders. Namely, if we consider the education project and the demand to attend Lutheran mass and visitations from an Orthodox viewpoint, the situation seems different. Excluding the clergy, the number of those who knew something about Lutheranism must have been, as indicated above, negligible. Most of the Orthodox were illiterate and very likely could not understand what benefit they could draw from turning into literate Lutherans when their priests remained Orthodox, and even less if their priest insisted on them becoming acquainted with Lutheranism; this very likely encouraged suspicion in his parishioners (see Sivonen 2007, 178, this may also be an explanation for Terent’ev’s denials mentioned above). Nevertheless, as Bjugg claims, in places the Orthodox possibly participated in visitations out of local social pressure, if not for other reasons.


On the other hand, the Swedish Crown and Church also tried to exclude the Orthodox, particularly those ethnically Russian. For example, when part of the town of Kexholm was burnt in 1634 and the governor looked for new townsmen (to take responsibility for the rebuilding expenses), the queen (actually, her regency) strongly demanded that only trustworthy people were to be let into the fortified centre (quoted in Laasonen 2005, 90). The Orthodox or the Russians were not mentioned by name but very likely they were targeted. One may quibble if the reason was religious, but in the contemporary context religion was inseparable from social, political, and other responsibilities.

From Wartime to the 1686 Church Law: Siding with the Russians and Choosing to Emigrate


In the 1640s, serious crop failures tried Kexholm County. Peasants and even the governor appealed for tax reliefs, but to no avail (Laasonen 2005, 100). As a result, many Orthodox fled to Russia, where they presented, in 1649, religious oppression as their main reason for running away (see Katajala 2005, 48). In other words, their immediate motive to escape was economic but they justified it religiously. For their perspective, both perhaps were equally true. For the fugitives, the taxing state and the Lutheranizing Church (Bjugg’s above-mentioned ‘reforms’ coincided with the 1640s crop failures) probably were but two arms of the same oppressing body (see Laasonen 2005, 91, 94). Finally, for Russia, religion was a legitimate reason on grounds of the 1617 treaty not to return religious refugees, whereas ‘economic refugees’ would have had to be restored.


For Sweden, the increase in emigrants meant a diminishing number of taxpayers and a revival of the former suspicion of Orthodox loyalty. The latter was reinforced by the fact that simultaneously, in 1649, Russia fortified the town of Olonets on the eastern shore of Lake Ladoga; Sweden took this as a sign of increasing military activity, possibly supported by the Orthodox (Kuujo 1963, 69). The warring proper, a part of the First Northern War and involving Sweden, Russia, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and others, began in June 1656. At that time, most of the Swedish army was campaigning in Poland. To ease the pressure there, Russian troops trespassed to Kexholm County and Ingria and, within a few months, occupied the former. Most of the Lutheran population took flight to the west, while a majority of the Orthodox supported the attacker. It is disputable whether they did so voluntarily or in return for economic advantages or were pressed. Some of them perhaps believed the (possibly quite intensive) pre-war and wartime Russian propaganda, which painted life in Russia in rosy colours (see Laasonen 2005, 104–5).


In places, the Orthodox killed Lutherans (allegedly to revenge their previous oppression), and in the parishes of Kides, Libelits, Tohmajärvi and Sordavala, they rose in armed revolt against local Lutherans. Their houses and churches were burnt, either by the Orthodox or Russian troops. Kuujo (1963, 87) argues that in the parishes of Pälkjärvi, Salmi, Suojärvi and Suistamo, too, Lutheran churches and parsonages were destroyed. However, according to Laasonen, before the war only Pälkjärvi had a Lutheran church; and abandoned Orthodox farms served as parsonages to priests (Laasonen 1967, 48, 56–57, see also section “Reorientations”). Immonen (1958, 295–97) lists two other destroyed churches in Kronoborg, and Manninen (1917, 16) mentions three, adding Nurmes (in the northernmost part of the county) to the already mentioned Kides and Libelits.


It seems that these cases, all from areas with a Lutheran majority and a relatively strong Orthodox minority, shaped the official view about the whole county. For example, the governor general during the war, Gustav Horn (situated in Ingria), argued in a June 1656 letter to the king that “the whole Russian nation [e.g. local Orthodox] had allied with the enemy, murdering, ravaging and destroying people of our religion with brutal violence” (quoted in Laasonen 2005, 106). Five months later, he alleged that the Kexholm County Orthodox had been “more vicious than the enemy itself” (quoted in Laasonen 2005, 106), but supported his view with no evidence. These kinds of assertions imply that Horn took for granted that, being Orthodox, local people “naturally” allied with the Russians and because of their “heathen” religion were quite “savage” (see also section “Local Relations”). That may explain why he suggested to his namesake, Gustav Carlsson Horn, High Commander of the army, that the whole Orthodox population should be expelled (Laasonen 2005, 107). This did not happen.


In late 1656, Russian troops retreated. Thousands of Orthodox followed suit, afraid of the Lutheran revenge, which in places actually was harsh, not least because the commander of troops in Finland, Gustav Lewenhaupt, has issued a decree in August 1656 that allowed killing any Orthodox that participated in violence against the Lutherans (Laasonen 2005, 107). It is likely that not many were killed (see Laasonen 2005, 107–8), but a couple of Orthodox churches were burned, usually by local Lutherans. Immonen (1958, 286) lists two, one from the Kronoborg centre and another from a nearby village of Tervu. Manninen (1917, 38) adds a Libelits prayer-house (in Russian, chasovniya), and Laasonen (2005, 110) the village church of Papinniemi in Uukuniemi parish, burnt by Swedish troops. If this is all, the material damage sustained by the Orthodox in religious matters was possibly smaller than that sustained by the Lutherans.


Warring continued in the late summer of 1657, but Russian detachments could not beat the reinforced Swedish. Moscow tried for peace, and in the December 1658 truce the pre-war borders were acknowledged. The truce also warranted the Orthodox religious freedom and the right to elect their own priests, but at least in Ingria this did not materialise. In Kexholm County, the number of Orthodox was greatly reduced; between 1651 and 1660, some fourteen hundred escaped, and their desolated farms were given to, or taken by, the Lutherans. For example, in 1658 in Kronoborg, the local priest tilled the land of three runaway “Russian” peasants (Immonen 1958, 320; Kuujo 1963, 71–73; Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 379–81, on wartime in general, see 2010, 365–76).


The demographic change in Kexholm County was supported by a new Lutheran immigration wave after the Kardis Peace Treaty in June 1661 (see Suomi 1843, 3:86–117). Like their predecessors, many of the newcomers arrived to avoid heavy taxation or recruiting in Finnish counties. As a result, in the 1680s only the easternmost parish of Suojärvi was fully Orthodox, while the neighbouring Salmi and Suistamo had a slim Orthodox majority. Further in the west, the parishes of Ilomantsi and Taipale (both in present Finnish North Karelia) remained preponderantly Orthodox; elsewhere, the Orthodox, if they existed at all, were attached as chapels to one of these five. During the last decades of the century, the number of Orthodox continued to decline to around ten percent of the county’s total population, which in 1690 was estimated around 50,000, or about the same as half a century earlier. According to a 1685 Russian ‘intelligence report,’ translated by Mikkola, in the northern part of the county there were six functioning Orthodox churches and seven priests (expect one, all fugitives from Russia16), while the southern areas had three churches and four chapels plus one priest (in Sordavala) (Kuujo 1963, 74, 77–80, 100–101, 130; Mikkola 1932, 26–27; Saloheimo 1976, 256; Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 446).


Continuous immigration and emigration, which involved several men and a few women fleeing the authorities for various, partly criminal, reasons, not only changed the religious scene. It also made the area quite restless; homicides (often after drinking) and thefts were common and evidently the reason for certain trials in which people were accused of sorcery or witchcraft (see section “Local Relations”). All these changes also led the state to increase its control and to incorporate the county into Sweden, or the “West,” as Kuujo puts it (Kuujo 1963, 83–86, 183–85; see also Simolin 1912).

Policy after 1686: ‘Unifying Lutheranization’


In 1686, a new Swedish Church Law (Kyrkio-Lag och Ordning, Hellemaa 1986) came into effect and continued to be valid in Sweden until 1992. Despite its title, the law covered both the sacred and the profane sphere (Parvio 1986, 113). Its main purpose was to define the Lutheran dogma and to unify the realm by reasserting Lutheranism as the state religion and strengthening the position of the king as the head of the Church (his autocracy was juridically consolidated shortly before). However, the law also confirmed (Ch. 1, § 5) that people coming to Sweden and not practicing the same religion as the king and his subjects had the right to worship God in their own ways, provided they did it indoors and without causing confusion. In other words, the law guaranteed a limited degree of religious freedom to foreigners. It did not explicitly mention the king’s Orthodox subjects, which implies that freedom of religion covered merely those not living permanently in the country. On the other hand, the treaties of 1617, 1658 and 1661 guaranteed the Orthodox inhabitants the right to practice their religion (Osmonsalo 1945, 267–68). Thus, the Swedish authorities had to maintain a balance between the ideal of a purely Lutheran country and the reality of multireligious state, or at least a religious duopoly.


An example for how this was attempted comes from a 1686 letter of the bishop of Vyborg, Bång, to the king. He first claimed that during his visitations he had noticed that the Orthodox (who, as mentioned, were supposed to attend) had taken a liking to the Finnish language and had asked him to press their own priests to officiate liturgies in Finnish (Laasonen 2005, 130). The bishop does not explain where this happened or who asked. He continued that the Orthodox liturgy in Finnish, if implemented without a Lutheran type of church discipline, would tempt the Lutherans to embrace the disciplinarily “laxer” Orthodoxy (see section “Reorientations”) instead of rectifying the “erring” Orthodox. The same conclusion was drawn four years earlier by superintendent (bishop) of Ingria, Johannes Gezelius; hence the idea was shelved. Instead, Bång revived Per Brahe’s view of intensifying Lutheran folk education; the Orthodox, too, should learn the main tenets of Christian (e.g. Lutheran) dogma. The teachers would be the Orthodox priests (Laasonen 2005, 130, 133; see Simolin 1912, 125). No attempt was made to realise this, however.


In addition to education, Bång wanted to “correct” some Orthodox views on the Lutherans. In his letter to Governor General Sperling in April 1686, the bishop argued, first, that the Orthodox made an (unspecified) difference between Orthodox and Lutheran practices. This sounds plausible. Second, he stated that “following the practice of the Russian Orthodox Church,” the Orthodox priests taught that Lutheran baptism was not entirely valid and therefore, “as the people think,” they [the Lutherans] are “half döpte” (Swedish for half-baptised). Moreover, the Orthodox did not consider the Lutheran sacramental bread (hostia) a true one because it was prepared differently (Laasonen 2005, 131). We do not know what local priests taught, but these views as such reflect contemporary Russian notions. By demanding their correction, Bång put into words that (some) Orthodox tenets were wrong and had to be amended. He also wanted to abolish the use of some external symbols, such as making the sign of the cross or wearing the baptismal cross in a necklace (see Simolin 1912, 124–25). In general, it seems that Bång did not fully reject Orthodox dogma (thus, in theory, Orthodoxy had the right to exist in Sweden), but had a lot against Orthodox practices and views on Lutherans. Put differently, he denied the Orthodox the right for everyday religiosity and, in fact, recommend they adopt Lutheranism.


A harder version of this (switching from Bång’s principled persuasion to demands of coercion) was expressed by Bång’s successor, Petrus Laurbecchius, who, in order to advance the unification of the state in the 1690s, repeated Governor General Skytte’s demand (half a century earlier, see “Reorientations”) to incorporate all “Finnish-speaking” Orthodox into Lutheran parishes. A similar venture was attempted a dozen years earlier in Ingria, but without success. For that reason, and because relations to Russia were tense, the king cautioned him, and the Great Northern War (1700–1721) put an end to the issue (Laasonen 2005, 136–40; Mikkola 1932, 20–21; Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 426–27).


But although the bishops’ proposals did not materialise, the Orthodox, particularly the priests, increasingly fell under the control of Swedish authorities. As mentioned in the section “Beginnings,” they were ordained by the archbishop of Novgorod, but since about 1661 their appointment was confirmed by the Vyborg chapter. This in effect turned them subordinates of the Crown. The parishioners were ‘socialised’ by this policy to the extent that they finally asked the chapter themselves to interfere in priests’ nominations, for example, in Suistamo in the 1690s (Laasonen 2005, 142). Thus, what the bishops’ coercion could not bring about was achieved by Swedish bureaucracy.


Another result, usually attributed to social and political pressure by the majority, was conversion to Lutheranism, which even included some priests. This evidently was most common in areas where the Orthodox were a negligible minority. More difficult to explain is why some Lutherans converted to Orthodoxy if we exclude those who fled to Russia and were routinely converted by local authorities (Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 258). Why did they cross the social border when they certainly knew about social discrimination and mutual disparagement, such as name calling, attested, for example, by an Orthodox term for the Lutheran, “ruotši,”17 a Swede, and the Lutheran word for the Orthodox, “ryssä,” a Russkie (Kuujo 1963, 61; see also Laasonen 1967, 90)?18


I have no patent answer. Earlier we saw that religion was considered as a key factor in indicating someone’s belonging to this or that political system or local community. However, during the last decades of the seventeenth century, the Kexholm County Orthodox were no longer considered a political risk; hence embracing Orthodoxy was not a major political crime. Bång’s view on “laxer” Orthodoxy may explain some cases, considering the demands of the 1686 Church Law; why, for example, some Lutherans in Jaakkima parish (northeast of Kronoborg) in the 1670s and 1680s, or in Libelits in the early 1690s, embraced Orthodoxy although most inhabitants were Lutherans. Their wish to escape the Lutheran church discipline is implied by the fact that in Jaakkima, priest Johannes Amnorinus summoned some of the converts to court (see Immonen 1958, 314). Unfortunately, further details are lacking. However, “laxer” Orthodoxy does not account for (the rare) conversions to the fairly strict Old Believers’ religion (see Laitila 2017, 167–68).


Relative to the social dimensions of conversion, the Crown probably had nothing against the Orthodox converting to Lutheranism in cases of mixed marriage, which was quite common during the last decades of the seventeenth century in parishes where the previous Orthodox majority had turned into a minority (for example, in Ilomantsi and Libelits; see Saloheimo 1976, 278–79). We do not have data to indicate how the new Lutherans were welcomed by their local sisters and brothers of faith. Of the (admittedly few) Lutherans who embraced Orthodoxy we have some fragmentary knowledge. For example, in Libelits, in an unfinished witchcraft trial in 1692, the main accused was a woman, Anna. She was baptised in the Lutheran Church but converted after having married an Orthodox. Laasonen (1967, 90–91) sees behind this her wish to escape Lutheran church discipline. Katajala (2005, 56–57, 181–82) pays attention to social relations by pointing out that she had quarrels with her new Orthodox in-laws (who finally turned her in to the authorities) and argues that she adopted witchcraft as a means of defending herself. That sounds plausible but does not explain why she converted, if not purely for personal reasons to marry (mixed marriages were not acknowledged by the state). Katajala further argues (2005, 182) that social resistance (not accepting an originally foreign in-law, both in Orthodox and Lutheran cases) was a major reason why conversion was slow, but this begs further research.

Local Relations in the Late Swedish Period: Prejudges and Entanglements


In general, although individually some leading members of the Church still wanted to force the Orthodox to convert, during the last decades before the Great Northern War the Crown focused more and more on fighting “superstition” (healing with charms) and “witchcraft” (harming others by charms or incantations), particularly among Lutherans. The practical reason for this was that even at the end of the seventeenth century, the country’s Lutherans were not deeply stable in their Christianity, and Orthodoxy and the Orthodox were the ‘ordinary suspects.’19


At a local level, the matter seemed more complicated. Let us take two cases from the protocols recorded in the 1680s. A deacon from Suistamo, Paukko (an Orthodox, his first name is not mentioned), was said to have treated wounds of two local women (it is unclear if they were Orthodox or not) by “reading over” them; that is, by casting a spell (Kuujo 1963, 187). Although sued, the women evidently did not consider their behaviour as wrong. In another case in which both characters were Lutherans, Söyrinki Rantanen, a young man from Impilahti, was said to sometimes “go out of his mind.” A female ‘seer’ from Libelits connected Söyrinki’s behaviour to (local) “Russian” crosses20 and graveyards. As a cure, she ordered the youth to “offer” some money to a “Russian” church (Kuujo 1963, 193–94). The list could be extended. Almost all cases known to me are from the western and Lutheran majority areas of the county.


The cases suggest that at a grassroots level, Orthodox and Lutherans had a shared, non-Christian belief (possibly developing from their earlier beliefs and practices) of spirits or powers considered the sources of misfortunes and illnesses (see Laitila 2017, 184–92). This flew in the face of official endeavours to eradicate ‘superstition’ and substitute it with more ‘rational’ reasoning. Laasonen (1967, 87) encapsulated the governmental view by suggesting that behind the Crown’s policy was the fear of a local peasant worldview spoiling the budding Lutheran education towards ‘sane,’ ‘this-worldly’ Protestantism, also outlined as the Crown’s mission in the 1634 Constitution (see Parvio 1986, 100). That the Swedish government was worried about the future of state religion is attested, among other things, by the fact that most Kexholm County cases going before the court (totalling around 50, see Katajala 2005, 170) involved Lutheran men21 from southern parts of the county; the Orthodox were seldom involved.


This suggests that the authorities were mainly interested in Lutheran males in Orthodox minority areas, and advocated, as the first step towards ‘pure’ Lutheranism, their gradual upgrading. It may be too far-reaching to claim that the Crown neglected the Orthodox, but obviously it now believed in their peaceful disappearance and, instead of forcing them to convert to Lutheranism, tried to eradicate a shared local ‘superstition’ by turning the Lutheran majority a paragon of official “true religion”. By increasing this kind of social pressure, however, it created a new, mental divide between the ‘rational’ (civilized) Lutherans and the ‘superstitious’ (ignorant) Orthodox, leaving the latter with the alternatives to convert or to be pushed to the margins of reason, development, society, and history (see Immonen 1958, 329–35; Katajala 2005, 167, 179; Laasonen 1967, 83).


This divide is not self-evident or clearly manifest in the sources, but it can be inferred from clues provided by court protocols from the late 1600s discussing Lutheran-Orthodox quarrels from Lutheran majority areas. They usually grew out of drinking, leading to fist fighting, stabbings and sometimes killings. Laasonen (1967, 90) mentions, but does not specify, two such cases, one from Tohmajärvi (in 1683), where a Lutheran man called an Orthodox male a “Russkiy dog,” and another from Libelits (1702), where an Orthodox priest was accused of having beaten an assumedly Lutheran woman. Katajala (2005, 55) adds one more example from Sordavala (1690), where a Lutheran townsman and an Orthodox peasant, after drinking together, began to call each other names and ended in an aggressive physical encounter.


One could argue that calling each other names while drinking, with the quarrelling parties being of different faiths, does not prove anything, or that, as Laasonen concludes (2005, 68), it merely implies tensions in majority-minority relations; a minority is often “put in its place” by disparaging. However, what I find interesting is that the religious dimension was not referred to in the trials (see Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 427). The court was probably not interested in emphasising it, and the parties involved were silent; but the very fact that it was not mentioned, although the state strongly emphasised the adoption of the “true faith,” implies that somehow it was important.


Further support for my mental divide hypothesis can be deduced from protocols dealing with eastern Orthodox-majority areas (see Katajala 2005, 55; Laasonen 2005, 122). Laasonen calls attention to the protocols’ tendency to see violence between Orthodox and Lutherans more commonly in Orthodox majority areas than elsewhere in the county and concludes (ibid.) that “it is hard to exclude the role of religious tensions” in these cases. He does not explain further, but it seems evident that the authorities perceived the Orthodox as somehow “naturally” violent (see Horn’s accounts in section “From Wartime to the 1686 Church Law”). Of course, it is also possible that the Orthodox considered the Lutheran pressure as heavy and resorted to force to defend themselves.


To reflect this further, let us consider Katajala’s example from Salmi in 1686 about two Orthodox women accusing a Lutheran peasant of sodomy. The ‘crime,’ if committed, could result in the man being sentenced to death. In the district court trial, the jurors (evidently all Lutherans, despite the parish’s small Orthodox majority) defended the accused by claiming that the Orthodox (or perhaps the women?) were not reliable witnesses. Laasonen adds (2005, 127) that during the trial the women confessed that their accusation was not true and were duly convicted. He does not say whether the females were pressed to take their accusation back, or had for some reason simply slandered the man, but the protocol text in any case implies that the unreliability of the Orthodox was more important than the verification of the crime.


The sources also contain cases which do not dovetail with what I said above, such as court accounts making a row on money, particularly on hard taxes (Katajala 2005, 21–22; Kuujo 1963, 114, 119; Laasonen 1967, 32–36). For example, in 1687 Olokka, a drunken servant of the Orthodox priest of Tiurula (midway between Vyborg and Sordavala) came to beat a local inspector, Johan Bagge, to end his tax collection. A Lutheran priest who happened to be there forbade this to Olokka and managed to persuade him not to batter Bagge (Immonen 1958, 310).


This case does not particularly imply a divide. However, like previous examples it is about a concrete issue. I therefore argue that while official policy supported an abstract (or mental) division between the Lutherans and the Orthodox, local people linked the view with concrete instances, such as brawling or name calling. These had their origins in private and social conflicts and struggles over land, taxation and power between locals and newcomers, indigenous and foreigners (see Katajala 2005, 62–64), but were reconceptualised in terms of religious dissimilarity.


There also were other indications of prejudice and a divide, namely, straightforward religious intolerance, although recorded cases are rare. The best-known one comes from Lapinlahti, a village in Kronoborg parish, from the year 1685, when the rector of Kronoborg, Petrus Petrinus, and his chaplain Nils Krook (both possibly drunk) entered a local Orthodox church, seized an icon of the Virgin Mary, smashed it and declared: “In this way we trample down and undo the Russkiy religion!” (quoted in Simolin 1909, 328). Immonen (1958, 312) claims that Petrinus was known as a fervent opponent of the Orthodox, but I have been unable to corroborate this. Akiander (1868, 415) only mentions that before coming to Kronoborg, he served as a notary of the Vyborg chapter. Immonen (1958, 286, 309) also argues that Krook was known to have had quarrels with his Lutheran colleagues, but this, too, remains unverified. According to an Internet genealogy,22 he was born in 1656 in Vyborg. If so, he was quite young and possibly already known to Petrinus from Vyborg times. Thus, it is possible that the destruction of the icon was the drunkards’ whim, inspired by a similar (and likewise capricious) destruction of icons in Ingria around 1684 (see Mikkola 1932, 7–8), yet another hint at a Lutheran-Orthodox divide. Both men were sued, but there are no protocols on the case. Laasonen (2005, 132) assumes that it was closed “privately” after a discussion between them and bishop of Vyborg, but there is no evidence of this, either.


Another example of intolerance is the destruction of grave monuments (Immonen 1958, 337). Unfortunately, the source only mentions it happening (again, in Kronoborg parish) at the end of the seventeenth century. There is no contemporary data, so the story may be an invention based on later similar histories from the years of the Great Northern War when the area was ravaged. The “common” (Kuujo 1963, 198) flight of the Orthodox to Russia after the war broke up, as well as their refusal to fight the Russians, suggests that Orthodox-Lutheran relations were tense, for religious or other reasons, and therefore the devastation of the graves is plausible. However, when Kexholm County, with the exception of its northernmost parts (Ilomantsi and Taipale parishes), was ceded to Russia in the Peace of Nystad (in Finnish, Uusikaupunki) after 1721, the Lutheran inhabitants largely stayed (Kuujo 1963, 214).


The history of the late seventeenth century is not only a story about increasing (mutual) prejudges, it is also one about assimilation or the ‘entangling’ of religions in the area of folkish customs and, to a lesser extent, official practices. Laasonen’s (2005, 126–28) perusal of the late seventeenth century district court practice shows that in cases involving Lutherans and Orthodox, it was common to use jurors from both churches (but see the Salmi case). In his view, this implies a systematic attempt at impartiality, but I would qualify this; because the official policy supported uniformity (see Lehtinen 1961), the Orthodox minority was used to support the Lutheran majority administration, particularly in the western parts of the county where Laasonen’s data comes from.


Regarding customs, according to Immonen (1958, 317, 338) the Lutheran practice that the new priest could get the deceased rector’s post by marrying his widow was adopted by the Orthodox. He gives Tiurula as an example, but the information raises notable problems, because as a rule the Orthodox priest should be married before he was appointed. Thus, the case may be unique and concern a priest candidate before his ordination. However, it suggests that Orthodox adaptation to Lutheran ecclesiastical practices was not ruled out.


Lutherans, too, could adapt. A case in point is the Orthodox prazdnik, or annual church feast, which simultaneously was a profane feast (a market day) for people far and near to meet, to arrange marriages, and to trade. In the early seventeenth century, the Swedish authorities considered them as a part of folk traditions incompatible with “true Christianity,” but soon they came to the conclusion that, as a part of the Orthodox church calendar, their elimination could be understood as an attack on Orthodoxy, a thing the authorities wanted to avoid for reasons of foreign policy (Laasonen 2005, 47).


In the late seventeenth century, prazdniks began to attract local Lutherans as well, possibly because, aside from liturgy, trade and negotiations on marriages, these involved drinking and brawling. This mixture of the sacred and the profane gave rise to a Lutheran feast tradition called kihupyhä (feast of the temple, when people crowd in one place [to trade and to meet each other]), which spread to various places in the western part of Kexholm County and further west. Another example of Lutheran-adopted Orthodox habits is virvonta (‘refreshing’ a person, or an animal, by waving a willow wig), still practised nationwide in Finland (Immonen 1958, 338; Kuujo 1963, 196–97).23 Thus, in practice, the ideologically motivated divide was not necessarily interpreted negatively.



My study aimed at finding some, and mostly tentative, answers to the questions: What means did the bishops and other Swedish high authorities use to convert the Orthodox or to make them loyal? Were there any differences between royal (state-wide) and local levels? How did the Orthodox react? How were Orthodox-Lutherans relations portrayed in the sources? These questions were guided by my understanding of previous studies as partial towards the official Swedish view, which I consider a colonialising gaze accepting the winner’s intentions as legitimate and dismissing dissenting and contradicting views (i.e., those of the colonised) as wrong or adjusting them to the winner’s view.


Regarding the first two questions, my perusal of previous studies and a selected amount of printed sources indicate that, excluding King Gustavus Adolphus’s policy around the annexing of Kexholm County in 1617 and during the next few years, Swedish rulers (or their regency) adopted a policy emphasising the desirability of turning the Orthodox into Lutherans, while stressing that all such attempts should be carried out with caution (in order not to give Russia a pretext to become involved in the county’s affairs). The bishops of Vyborg, who were the highest local Lutheran authorities, as well as the governor generals of Ingria (also responsible for Kexholm County), were more impetuous, often wishing to use force in coercing the Orthodox into the Lutheran Church, possibly to show their usefulness as administrators of newly occupied areas.


A common ground for royal and local efforts was the cooperation with those Orthodox considered reliable or loyal. At an administrative level, and mainly with laypeople, this continued throughout the century. In general, it seems to have smoothed Orthodox-Lutheran relations at the official level, although resulting in conflicts between individuals. At the ecclesiastical level, cooperation was more forced. It included the Swedish attempt to convert the Orthodox from within. First, the Crown tried to sever them from the Russian Church by establishing a Swedish-controlled Karelian (or Karelian-Ingrian) diocese; without legislation securing the Orthodox position, this would have left them at the mercy of Swedish authorities. When this failed, they persuaded Orthodox priests to teach their parishioners the elements of Lutheranism, which also came to nothing, perhaps due to the parishioners’, and partly also the priests’, lack of interest and motivation. Nevertheless, both ideas were reused in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Finland to integrate the Karelian Orthodox into the Finnish national state.


Resorting to loyalty and conversion was more typical of the western and southwestern parts of the county, where the Orthodox were a minority, and evidently left the Orthodox uncertain; they did not know what the Crown really wanted. On the one hand, they probably saw that they were accepted, less as Orthodox than as useful servants; on the other, they perceived themselves as unwanted, resulting a permanent ambiguity in Orthodox-Lutheran relations.


As to the latter questions, Orthodox reactions and their portrayal depended on the general situation. First, in the west they cooperated, but also resisted (by disobeying orders such as building Lutheran churches or paying taxes to Lutheran priests) or simply ignored the Swedish policy (evident in much of education). During crop failures and periods of heavy taxing, and perhaps due to religious pressure, they sought refuge in Russia, and during the wars they often joined the attacker. I found this in accordance with the abovementioned ambiguity. However, I argue that the Orthodox made a difference between official administrative policy (advocating cooperation) and everyday encounters; they could comply with the former, but often felt free to vent their feelings when their private interests conflicted. In other words, loyalty belonged to the social level and conflicts manifested at the private level.


The mid-1600s war, the escape of thousands of Orthodox to Russia after that, and the extension of Swedish rule to the most remote villages in the east, while not totally toning down demands for the Lutheranization of the Orthodox, gave rise to a new situation where Orthodox complying expanded from official towards personal levels (mixed marriages, non-forced conversions), particularly where Orthodox numbered but a few. At the same time, the state’s policy to educate Lutherans to make them models of good Christians for the ‘ignorant’ Orthodox created, or strengthened, a new kind of antagonism (or mental divide, as I called it) between ‘rational’ Lutherans and ‘superstitious’ Orthodox, which affected interpretations of local quarrels towards emphasising their religious nature. On the other hand, the state’s publicly relaxing policy towards the Orthodox led, at local levels, a sort of ‘entanglement’ of Orthodox and Lutheran customs, thus providing the former one means to fight the divide.


Finally, a few notes on these conclusions’ relation to previous studies. They, too, observed a discrepancy between the Crown’s emphasis of moderate implementation and the bishops’ and governor generals’ periodical direct action to convert the Orthodox. Most scholars have argued that Sweden pursued a forced modernisation, of which Lutheranization was a part. Laasonen (2005, 94–96) correctly notices that this claim seldom has been qualified and states (ibid.) that only in few cases (such as attempts to incorporate all “Finnish-speaking” Orthodox into Lutheran parishes) can one speak of coercion. Otherwise, in his view, a more apt term would be “persuasion,” a claim supported, according to him, by the fact that several of those who fled to Russia also returned (Laasonen 2005, 112). However, this happened but during the first decades of Swedish rule.


When speaking about “persuasion,” Laasonen implies that official decrees and other such documents were indeed implemented. He himself, as well as this study, show that this was not the case. Even where implementation was attempted, it varied markedly according to time and place, and depending whether the Orthodox were a majority or a minority and, probably, whether the Lutherans were newcomers. In other words, royal decrees set an ideal to create a pure Lutheran realm which guided the authorities’ actions, but depending on person and situation it was variously pursued by coercion, cooperation, contempt (support of prejudice) or otherwise just ignored.


The above discussion also relates to the question of how the Orthodox perceived themselves, or what later was called religious and national identity (see Sivonen 2007). As a separate consciousness it probably did not exist in seventeenth-century Kexholm County; rather, identity, as well as political and religious loyalty, were entangled with various practical issues, such as political (who am I faithful to in a particular situation?), economic (with whom do I trade, raise grain or engage in animal husbandry?), or social (whom do I marry; whom do I trust when running into trouble?) ones. Bång’s attempts to make the Orthodox more loyal, and more Lutheran, by transforming their ritual behaviour corroborate this in my opinion; identity was expressed in practice by rites one conducted in the church and outdoors; whom one asked to baptise children, to marry, or to bury the dead. To the extent that these were forbidden or hindered (as when hampering getting a new priest), we may speak of tampering with the Orthodox identity.


Thus, to summarise, religion was an important factor in shaping and reshaping Orthodox-Lutheran relations; making the former the Other for the latter (both in public and private relations); giving the Lutherans a notion of their superiority (both in profane affairs and intellectually); and assuring the Orthodox that only conversion to Lutheranism, or an extensive adaptation of Lutheran views and practices, might turn them into full and trustworthy Swedish subjects.


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Katajala, Kimmo, Antti Kujala, and Anssi Mäkinen. 2010. Viipurin läänin historia III. Suomenlahdelta Laatokalle [The History of the Province of Vyborg, III. From the Finnish Gulf to the Lake of Ladoga]. Joensuu: Karjalaisen Kulttuurin Edistämissäätiö.

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———. 1982. “Karjalan ensimmäisen ortodoksisen piispan kirje” [A Letter of the First Orthodox Bishop of Karelia]. In Xenia Oecumenica, edited by Hannu T. Kamppuri, 88–116. Helsinki: Missiologian ja ekumeniikan seura.

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———. 2005. Novgorodin imu. Miksi ortodoksit muuttivat Käkisalmen läänistä Venäjälle 1600-luvulla [Novgorod’s Appeal. Why the Orthodox moved from Kexholm County to Russia during the Seventeenth Century]. Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura.

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Lehtinen, Erkki. 1961. Hallituksen yhtenäistämispolitiikka Suomessa 1600-luvulla [The Unification Policy of the Swedish State in Finland in the Seventeenth Century]. Helsinki: Suomen Historiallinen Seura.

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  1. I have provided the Swedish name where possible and added the Finnish one in brackets; otherwise the names are in Finnish.↩︎

  2. Valaam and Konevets re-established themselves in Staraya Ladoga and Novgorod, respectively, and returned to their original sites in the early eighteenth century (see Father Ambrosius 1981, 323–24; Kasanko 1983, 27–28).↩︎

  3. Kexholm County did not have a governor general of its own but was ruled by that of Ingria, based in Narva. From 1634 to 1690, however, it had a governor located in the town of Kexholm. For taxing purposes, the county was divided into northern (originally strongly Orthodox) and southern (inhabited by both Orthodox and Lutherans from the beginning) bailiff districts. Their divide was approximately the southern border of Kronoborg parish (see figure 2).↩︎

  4. All quotations from Swedish and Finnish are translated by the author.↩︎

  5. I have no exact data on their number, but according to the (defective) Swedish tax rolls, in 1613 there were some 2,000 tax-paying houses in the area occupied by the Swedish (Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 208).↩︎

  6. I have no information about the existence of monks in Kexholm County around 1617.↩︎

  7. As Tarkiainen (1986, 96–97) suggests, the change may stem partly from political reasons (a moderate policy towards the Orthodox aimed at not rousing Russia) and partly from the fact that until late in the seventeenth century the main Swedish foe in Kexholm County, Ingria and even Finland was not Orthodoxy but Catholicism (see Laasonen 2005, 16–17; Lehtinen 1961, 177–78). This could be noticed, for example, in the theological disputes between Lutherans and Orthodox in Narva in 1615, where all points (except icons) the Lutherans criticised in Orthodox dogma were in line with Catholic teaching (see Parvio 1982, 199, 204).↩︎

  8. It had initially been founded in 1554 but discontinued in 1578 and incorporated into the diocese of Turku.↩︎

  9. The post already existed in the Russian time. In 1635, the election of a staarosta was transferred to the villagers (also a Russian practice), although the election had to be confirmed by governor general or, later, governor (Katajala, Kujala, and Mäkinen 2010, 306).↩︎

  10. http://hiski.genealogia.fi/seurakunnat/srk?CMD=SRK&ID=1039&TYPE=HTML&LANG=FI, accessed on May 17, 2020.↩︎

  11. The post was established in 1581 by King John III of Sweden.↩︎

  12. One could speculate that the ‘names’ are, in fact, derived from his title, archbishop, in Slavic arkhiepiskop, or from archimandrite, in Slavic arkhimandrit.↩︎

  13. In my sources, Simon Hjelmfelt, which is a mistake, because he was governor general in 1659 and from 1668 to 1673.↩︎

  14. As well-known, this was contested in the 2000s, after Constantinople and Moscow disagreed on Ukraine.↩︎

  15. It is not certain what this means. Parvio (1985, 49–50, 53) thinks this refers to a non-extant Finnish catechism, which according to him was printed in Stockholm in 1643. From Bjugg’s correspondence we know that he prepared a version of the book, appearing in 1644, that year.↩︎

  16. This may imply that they were so-called Old Believers, or Russians not willing to submit to Patriarch Nikon’s reforms initiated in the 1650s and confirmed in an all-Russian church council in 1666–1667.↩︎

  17. Actually, the term is quite neutral, indicating only that a person is a Lutheran.↩︎

  18. The designation probably was derogatory already at that time (see section “Local Relations,” Laasonen 2005, 122; Saloheimo 1976, 279), although originally it possibly merely stated the other’s religion.↩︎

  19. According to Immonen (1958, 330, 333), Swedish authorities considered the Orthodox far more superstitious than the Lutherans.↩︎

  20. Probably meaning wooden crosses the Orthodox erected close to graveyards to mark places where one could rest and say a prayer. They were, and still are, quite common in Karelia (and northern Russia in general), where churches are far and in between.↩︎

  21. Of course, the Lutheran predominance may have been the result of their sheer number (see Kuujo 1963, 29). The reason why most of the accused were men (33 out of 45, in Katajala’s overview, see Katajala 2005, 171) remains unclear. In Europe in general, women made up the majority of those accused of sorcery. My hunch (see also Katajala 2005, 173–75) is that accusations originated not from religious issues interesting to the Church or the State but from local, ‘profane’ matters, such as brawls and quarrels between drunks (as a rule men) or tax-paying peasants (a male) and their masters (who often were Swedish).↩︎

  22. https://www.geni.com/people/Nils-Nicolaus-Benjamini-Krook/6000000001702610706, accessed on May 6, 2020.↩︎

  23. On the western shores of Finland this has mingled with the Swedish ‘Easter witch’ (in Swedish, påskkärring). On the latter, see https://www.nordiskamuseet.se/aretsdagar/skartorsdag, accessed on May 6, 2020.↩︎