June 13, 2023

Medieval Musings


Medieval Musings
The collapse of the ceiling in the State Duma of the Russian Empire, 1907. Wikimedia Commons.

The Russian education system may see the reintroduction of Domostroy, a medieval guide to life and ethics authored by Archpriest Sylvester, Ivan the Terrible's confessor.

The proposal came from Alexei Didenko, deputy head of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) faction in the State Duma. Didenko argued that Domostroy should be mandatory reading for students of all ages due to the perceived decline in the significance of marriage in contemporary Russia, where over half of registered unions result in divorce.

“This leads to a decline in the population and a crisis in the institution of the family,” Didenko said, “The return of Domostroy will help overcome this problem. This ancient guide to everyday life and family life should become a subject in schools and universities so that our citizens learn from childhood to build strong and happy families."

Domostroy is divided into three sections, each offering guidance on different aspects of life. The first section focuses on proper conduct and prayer within the church, while the second emphasizes respect for leaders. The third section covers domestic life and household management.

The book also advocates physical discipline in child-rearing, suggesting that parents should discipline their children from a young age and take pride in their courage. It also offers recommendations on how to treat wives, suggesting that they should be obedient and kept clean but advises caution when administering punishment, suggesting the polite use of a whip – while holding their hands.

Furthermore, Domostroy promotes a sense of fear and reverence towards one's leaders, considering them representatives of God on Earth.

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