The Russian Orthodox Church differs from other Orthodox churches among other things by the system of organizing its dioceses - church administrative units similar to those in secular law. This state of affairs is conditioned by the special historical and political conditions of Russia, which have affected the spread and development of Christianity in it.
The status of the Metropolitan and Metropolitan in the ROC
So, for example, if in the jurisdictions of the Greek tradition the title of metropolitan has an ordinary bishop who heads an autonomous diocese, then in the practice of the Russian church the status of a metropolitan is given either as a reward or by default belongs to the bishop of a particularly large and important regional church association. Such metropolias often include a number of smaller dioceses with their own bishops. Above the metropolitan in the hierarchy of the Russian church stands only the patriarch, while in the Greek church all jurisdiction is ruled by the archbishop (sometimes also in the status of metropolitan). In the ROC there are a lot of archbishops, and they make up only the middle link of the episcopate.
In this article we are interested in the Tula Metropolitanate. Therefore, all this was said in order to clarify the current status of this subject of the Moscow Patriarchate.
Tula region as a part of Russia
When the Tula Metropolitanate, or rather the city of Tula, became part of the Russian state - is for certain unknown. The first mention of the city is found in the Nikon Chronicle and refers to 1147, to the record of Prince Svyatoslav's trip to Ryazan. Therefore, it is believed that initially Tula was part of the Ryazan region. On the basis of the same document, for lack of other, earlier information, the time of the founding of Tula is officially considered to be 1147.
The territory of this region was inhabited for a long time by the Finno-Ugric tribes, which were later ousted and partially assimilated by Slavic-Vyatichi, who had spun from the Polyan tribes and settled the surrounding forests.
Tula diocese and Christianization of Vyatichi
Most likely, during Svyatoslav's journey to Ryazan, Tula was already Christianized, and maybe even originally founded by Christians. According to most researchers, a full-fledged systematic preaching of Orthodoxy among the Vyatichi began in the twelfth century. Before that, of course, Vyatichi faced Christianity in the person of Russian princes. However, they retained their political independence from them, preferring to pay off tribute. As a consequence, the Vyatichi preserved their pagan identification for a relatively long time. The active preaching of Christianity among the Vyatichi population began after their conquest by the Chernigov princes at the end of the eleventh century. It was not always peaceful. For example, in neighboring Mtsensk (now belonging to the Orel region) Vyatich pagans resisted evangelism until the fifteenth century, until, finally, they were broken by the troops of Prince Vasily Dmitrievich, specially sent on a campaign with "missionary" purposes.
Development of the Tula region
As the urban center of Tula developed very slowly. The reason for this was the geographical situation, which, on the one hand, localized the settlement in the backwoods of the forests, and on the other, was unsafe in the event of hostilities. It so happened that the first strikes of the Tatars and other enemies of Russia from the east of Tula took over, in view of which it had no opportunity for full-fledged development and population growth. Only since the seventeenth century, this city entered the era of a relatively peaceful existence and began to gain weight. This led to the fact that at first Tula was attributed as a provincial town to the Moscow province, and then became the head town of the Tula vicegerency. By the end of the eighteenth century, the governorship had become an independent province. And its administrative center was the city of Tula.
Tula Metropolis: milestones of development
As for church affairs, after the Christianization, the Vyatichi were subordinated to the Chernihiv bishops, who bore the title of Chernigov and Ryazan. It was in dependence on the Ryazan chair and was put Tula. Since the thirteenth century, part of the cities of the region was also managed by the Saray Diocese (later transferred to the Moscow region and renamed to Krutitskaya). In the subsequent history of this region, its cities repeatedly passed from the subordination of some departments to others. The independent Tula diocese was conceived only at the end of the seventeenth century by the patriarch Joachim. However, because of the Streltsy rebellion and the death of Tsar Feodor Alekseevich, this was not allowed to happen.
In 1788, according to the decree of Catherine II, Tula was to grow to the status of the second chair in the Kolomna diocese. But military action prevented the operational implementation of this order. Only in the reign of Emperor Paul, in 1799, Tula finally acquired the status of a cathedral city in the newly-formed Tula diocese. In the future, it did not lose its independence, although its borders were modified.
As a result of the reorganization of the church administration in 2011, according to the order of the Holy Synod, from the composition of the Tula diocese, the Beloye Deanery was singled out as a separate bishopric. Then both dioceses were united under the command of one metropolitan. Thus, the Tula Metropolitanate was formed.
Orthodoxy in Tula today
At the moment the church life of the region is led by the highly reverend Alexy (Kutepov). Formally, his status sounds like "Metropolitan of Tula and Efremov." In his jurisdiction there is a theological seminary and the faculty of theology on the basis of the local state university.
The Tula Metropolitanate includes five functioning monasteries - two male and three female. The role of the cathedral is performed by the Church of All Saints. In addition to him, there are still about thirty parishes in the region, which are united under the Tula Metropolitanate. St. Vladimir's Church at Tulamashzavod is a vivid example of one of them.
Priests of the diocese are taught in the lecture hall for newlyweds at registry offices. The Orthodox site of the Tula Metropolis (http://tulaeparhia.ru/) highlights the events of the diocese in the Internet space. And in the church premises with the involvement of doctors and employees of the Divisions of Civil Status Records, the parents' school operates. Interaction with society and various civil organizations is carried out through thirteen diocesan departments, which includes the Tula Metropolitanate. The news, for example, is managed by the information department. Among other things, the club of Orthodox writers "Rodnik", which operates under the St. Sergius Church of the Tula Diocese, is also of interest.