Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Religion, Theological Studies PhD

First Advisor

Miroslav M. Kis

Second Advisor

Denis Fortin

Third Advisor

Jerry A. Moon


This study attempts to examine the trinitarian beliefs of the fifteenth-century Novgorod-Moscow movement, analyzing both their own writings and the polemical writings of those who considered their teaching antitrinitarian.

The main objective of the present research is to contribute to the restoration of the authentic theological identity of this movement. Chapter 1 defines the problem, which has already been raised by some nineteenth-century scholars who have pointed out that the allegedly antitrinitarian character of the Subbotniks' movement must be open for further discussion. It also shows that no systematic research on Subbotniks' theology has ever been produced.

The second chapter of this historical-theological study surveys the historical background of the Novgorod-Moscow movement and briefly analyzes the religious, political, and cultural context of fifteenth-century Russia. It demonstrates that the struggle surrounding this movement was motivated not only theologically, but also politically and culturally.

Chapter 3 analyzes the polemical documents, giving priority to the primary sources contemporary to the Novgorod-Moscow movement, such as Archbishop Gennadii's letters and Iosif of Volotsk's Instructor. In general, the documents presented in this chapter differ in their charges of antitrinitarianism against the Subbotniks.

Chapter 4 analyzes the Subbotniks' sources, which include all the passages directly or indirectly dealing with their trinitarian views. The writings of the Subbotniks in general represent the trends common for European reform movements of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The study of the Subbotniks' literature shows that the antitrinitarian character of this movement cannot be confirmed by the writings of the Subbotniks themselves.

Chapter 5 presents a systematic-analytical and historical evaluation of the question of the trinitarian status of the Novgorod-Moscow movement. The present research found no traces of antitrinitarianism in the Subbotniks' movement.

Subject Area

Antitrinitarianism--Russia--History of doctrines--15th century, Russia--History--15th century, Russia--Church history--15th century


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