Stephen of Perm
Saint Stephen of Perm (1340–1396) was a fourteenth century missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 credited with the conversion of the Komi Permyaks to Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and the establishment of the Bishopric of Perm'
Perm is a city and the administrative center of Perm Krai, Russia, located on the banks of the Kama River, in the European part of Russia near the Ural Mountains. From 1940 to 1957 it was named Molotov ....

. Stephen also created the Old Permic script
Old Permic script
The Old Permic script, sometimes called Abur or Anbur, is an original ancient Permic writing system.-History:The alphabet was introduced by a Russian missionary, Stepan Khrap, also known as Saint Stephen of Perm in 1372. The name Abur is derived from the names of the first two characters: An and Bur...

, which makes him the founding-father of Permian written tradition. "The Enlightener of Perm" or the "Apostle of the Permians", as he is sometimes called, is commemorated by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches on April 26.

Stephen was probably from the town of Ustiug
Veliky Ustyug
Veliky Ustyug is a town in the northeast of Vologda Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Sukhona and Yug Rivers. Administratively, it is incorporated as a town of oblast significance . It also serves as the administrative center of Velikoustyugsky District, by which it is completely...

. According to a church tradition, his mother was a Komi
Komi peoples
The Komi people is an ethnic group whose homeland is in the north-east of European Russia around the basins of the Vychegda, Pechora and Kama rivers. They mostly live in the Komi Republic, Perm Krai, Murmansk Oblast, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug in the Russian...

 woman. Stephen took his monastic vows in Rostov
Rostov is a town in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, one of the oldest in the country and a tourist center of the Golden Ring. It is located on the shores of Lake Nero, northeast of Moscow. Population:...

, where he learned Greek and learned his trade as a copyist. In the year 1376, he voyaged to lands along the Vychegda and Vym
Vym River
The Vym River is a river in the Komi Republic, Russia. It is a tributary of the Vychegda River in the basin of Northern Dvina. Its length is 499 km, and its drainage basin 25,600 km². Average discharge is 196 m³/s....

 rivers, and it was then that he engaged in the conversion of the Zyriane (Komi peoples
Komi peoples
The Komi people is an ethnic group whose homeland is in the north-east of European Russia around the basins of the Vychegda, Pechora and Kama rivers. They mostly live in the Komi Republic, Perm Krai, Murmansk Oblast, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug in the Russian...

). Rather than imposing the Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 or Church Slavonic on the indigenous pagan populace, as all the contemporary missionaries did, Stephen learnt their language and traditions and worked out a distinct writing system for their use. Although his destruction of pagan idols (e.g., holy birch
Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula , in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa...

es) earned him the wrath of some Permians, Pimen
Pimen may refer to:*Pimen, Metropolitan of Moscow, aka Pimen the Greek, Metropolitan of Moscow from 1382-1384*Patriarch Pimen I, , 14th Patriarch of Moscow and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church...

, the Metropolitan of All Rus', created him as the first bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 of Perm'.

The effect of the new bishopric and the conversion of the Vychegda Perm threatened the control that Novgorod
Novgorod Republic
The Novgorod Republic was a large medieval Russian state which stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Ural Mountains between the 12th and 15th centuries, centred on the city of Novgorod...

 had been enjoying over the region's tribute. In 1385, the Archbishop of Novgorod
Archbishop of Novgorod
The Archbishop of Novgorod is the head of the eparchy of Novgorod the Great and is one of the oldest offices in the Russian Orthodox Church. The archbishops have, in fact, been among the most important figures in medieval Russian history and culture and their successors continued to play...

 Aleksei (r. 1359-1388) sent a Novgorodian army to oust the new establishment, but the new bishopric, with the help of the city of Ustiug, was able to defeat it. In 1386, Stephan visited Novgorod the following year, and the city and its archbishop formally acknowledged the new situation. Subsequently, the region's tribute became the luxury of Moscow. These events had immense repercussions for the future of northern Russia, and formed but one part of a larger trend which saw more and more of the Finnic North and its precious pelt
Fur is a synonym for hair, used more in reference to non-human animals, usually mammals; particularly those with extensives body hair coverage. The term is sometimes used to refer to the body hair of an animal as a complete coat, also known as the "pelage". Fur is also used to refer to animal...

s passing from the control of Novgorod to 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...


The historian Serge Zenkovsky wrote that St. Stephen of Perm, along with Epiphanius the Wise
Epiphanius the Wise
Epiphanius the Wise was a monk from Rostov, hagiographer and disciple of Saint Sergius of Radonezh.He wrote hagiographies of both Saint Stephen of Perm and St. Sergius. The latter, The Life of Sergii Radonezhsky, he started to write a year after the death of Saint Sergius according to his own...

, St. Sergius of Radonezh, and the great painter Andrei Rublev
Andrei Rublev
Andrei Rublev is considered to be the greatest medieval Russian painter of Orthodox icons and frescoes.-Biography:...

 signified "the Russian spiritual and cultural revival of the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century." Indeed, Stephen's life encapsulates both the political and religious expansion of "Muscovite" Russia. Stephen's life was in fact commemorated in the writings of the aforementioned Epiphanius, who famously wrote the Panegyric to Saint Stephen of Perm, a text with praises Stephen for his evangelical activities, and styles him the "creator of Permian letters".

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.