Platon Levshin
Plato II or Platon II was the Metropolitan
Metropolitan bishop
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

 of Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 from 1775 to 1812. He personifies the Age of Enlightenment
Russian Enlightenment
The Russian Age of Enlightenment was a period in the eighteenth century in which the government began to actively encourage the proliferation of arts and sciences. This time gave birth to the first Russian university, library, theatre, public museum, and relatively independent press...

 in the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...


He was born at Chashnikovo near Moscow as Platon Levshin in the family of a psalmodist, and was educated at the seminary and the Slavic Greek Latin Academy
Slavic Greek Latin Academy
Slavic Greek Latin Academy was the first higher education establishment in Moscow, Russia.-Beginnings:...

 of Moscow. In 1757 he was appointed instructor in Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 and rhetoric
Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western...

 at the latter institution, and became distinguished as a pulpit orator. Within the year he was called to be instructor in rhetoric at the Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra
Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is the most important Russian monastery and the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church. The monastery is situated in the town of Sergiyev Posad, about 70 km to the north-east from Moscow by the road leading to Yaroslavl, and currently is home to...

 near Moscow. Here he became a monk, adopting the name of Platon, and in 1761 was made rector of the seminary of the monastery. A sermon preached by him in October 1762, produced so favorable an impression on the Empress Catherine II that she summoned him to court to be the religious instructor of the eight-year-old heir apparent, Paul Petrovitch
Paul I of Russia
Paul I was the Emperor of Russia between 1796 and 1801. He also was the 72nd Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta .-Childhood:...

. Here he came into close contact with Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

 and the encyclopedists, but without injury either to his faith or his character.

Platon remained at the Russian court, winning the admiration of even Voltaire, until the marriage of the heir apparent
Heir apparent
An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting, except by a change in the rules of succession....

 to Maria Feodorovna, daughter of Duke Eugene of Württemberg
Friedrich II Eugen, Duke of Württemberg
Friedrich Eugen of Württemberg , the fourth son of Duke Karl Alexander and Princess Maria Augusta of Thurn and Taxis .-Royal duke:...

, in 1773. During this time he published, for the use of his royal pupil, his Orthodox Doctrine: or, A short Compend of Christian Theology (Moscow, 1765), in which the influence of Western thought, and even of rationalism, may be distinctly traced. At the same time, Roman Catholic doctrines are mercilessly attacked, while the Lutheran tenet of ubiquity and the Reformed theory of predestination
Predestination, in theology is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God. John Calvin interpreted biblical predestination to mean that God willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others...

 also receive their share of criticism. This catechism was followed, a year later, by the Exhortation of the Orthodox Eastern Catholic Church of Christ to her former Children, now on the Road to Schism, pleading, though with scant success, for lenient treatment of dissenters from the Orthodox Church.

In 1768 Platon became a member of the Holy Synod
Holy Synod
In several of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox churches and Eastern Catholic Churches, the patriarch or head bishop is elected by a group of bishops called the Holy Synod...

, and in 1770 was made bishop of Tver
Tver is a city and the administrative center of Tver Oblast, Russia. Population: 403,726 ; 408,903 ;...

, though he still remained at St. Petersburg, finally being the religious instructor of the new grand duchess. In 1775 he was enthroned archbishop of Moscow, and throughout the reigns of Catherine II, Paul, and Alexander I
Alexander I of Russia
Alexander I of Russia , served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and the first Russian King of Poland from 1815 to 1825. He was also the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania....

 diligently promoted the religious, moral, intellectual, and material welfare of his archdiocese, maintaining meanwhile an unceasing literary activity.

In 1775 he issued a catechism
A catechism , i.e. to indoctrinate) is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present...

 for the use of the clergy, and in 1776 a short catechism for children, as well as one in the form of a dialogue, while his brief history of the Russian Church (1777) is the first systematic treatise of its kind in the Russian language. In 1787 Platon reluctantly consented to become metropolitan of Moscow. He visited the city but seldom, however, passing the winter in the Troitsky monastery and the summer in the Pererva Monastery close to Moscow. Here he supervised personally the studies of the seminarians, who included three destined to succeed him as archbishop of Moscow.

Compared to his predecessors, Platon was rather lenient towards the Old Believers
Old Believers
In the context of Russian Orthodox church history, the Old Believers separated after 1666 from the official Russian Orthodox Church as a protest against church reforms introduced by Patriarch Nikon between 1652–66...

 and allowed them to establish their first chapels in Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, notably the Preobrazhenskoe cemetery. He also formalized the arrangement, known as Edinoverie
Edinoverie is an arrangement between certain Russian Old Believer communities and the official Russian Orthodox State Church, whereby the communities are treated as a part of the normative Orthodox Church system, while maintaining their own traditional rites...

, earlier introduced by Archbishop Nikephoros
Nikephoros Theotokis
Nikephoros Theotokis or Nikiforos Theotokis was a Greek scholar and theologian, who became an archbishop in the southern provinces of the Russian Empire...

 of Slaviansk, that allowed Old Believer communities to join the established church, while maintaining their traditional form of worship.

It was Platon who crowned both Paul (1797) and Alexander I (1801); but despite his close and cordial relations with the court he preserved to the last his firmness and his independence. Shortly before his death he aided in preparing the way for the foundation of the Russian Bible Society
Russian Bible Society
Russian Bible Society - christian non-denominational organization for translating and distributing the books of the Old Testament and New Testament and the Bible in Russia.-Early history:...

 which was established in the year in which he died. Shortly before his death, Platon was evacuated from Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, which was about to be surrendered to Napoleon.

The collected works of Platon were published at Moscow in twenty volumes in 1779–1807, the greater portion of these writings being sermons, of which there are about 500. An abridged English translation of Platon's catechism was prepared from a Greek version of the Russian original (London, 1867), and his sermon preached at the request of the empress to celebrate the victory of Chesma
Battle of Chesma
The naval Battle of Chesma took place on 5 -7 July 1770 near and in Çeşme Bay, in the area between the western tip of Anatolia and the island of Chios, which was the site of a number of past naval battles between the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Venice...

 also appeared in English (London, 1770).

External links

Site scientific theological portal "" and the Savior of Bethany monastery, dedicated to the life and works of Platon Levshin in the Biographical Dictionary of Alexander Men
Alexander Men
Father Alexander Vladimirovich Men was a Russian Orthodox theologian, Biblical scholar and writer.Father Alexander wrote dozen of books ; baptized hundreds if not thousands; founded an Orthodox Open University; opened one of the first Sunday Schools in...

] Biography
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