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Why was the end of the world repeatedly expected in Russia?
Why was the end of the world repeatedly expected in Russia?

The well-known author of aphorisms Arkady Davidovich once noted: "How many times have we been deceived by the end of the world, but we still believe in it every time." He is absolutely right - the Apocalypse is constantly awaited all over the world, zealously following all kinds of predictions and signs. They especially succeeded in this expectation in Russia, where the End of the World is awaited thoughtfully and selflessly.


What is the reason for the constant expectation of the "end times", which is characteristic of peoples all over the world? For this we need to thank Christianity, or rather, John the Theologian. In his Revelation, the Apostle described the Apocalypse very colorfully, but did not indicate the exact date of this important event.


But it became clear to everyone that nothing just happens and before the End of the World signs will certainly be shown, usually not very pleasant in themselves. John described the signs of the coming end in the language of images, giving a wide scope for the interpretation of a variety of events of a climatic, biological and political nature.

End of the world. Start

The first end of the world known to science was supposed to take place in 156 AD. e. Why - about this, most likely, we will never know. Most likely, there were reasons. The next Apocalypse was quite expectedly appointed for the year 666, because this number is the symbol of Satan. Since nothing fundamentally new this year happened, the figure was simply turned over and they began to wait for the Last Judgment in 999.


Since 999 failed, we spent the whole year 1000 waiting. This time, everyone was almost sure of success, since it was officially believed that Jesus would return to earth after a thousand years of atheism and sinfulness. Revelation says that the calamities will be colossal, and "people will die of fear."

The year 1000, by the way a leap year, passed traditionally for the early Middle Ages. This year Hungary, Iceland and Norway adopted Christianity and also began to wait for the end of the world, but nothing more global happened in the world. At the end of the year, it dawned on theologians - the time should not be counted from the birth of Christ, but from his death! The date immediately shifted to 1033. From this moment on, Mother Russia is actively involved in waiting.

1038 year

The later joining of our ancestors to the general hysteria is explained by the fact that Christianity in Russia was adopted relatively late - in 988. In 999 and 1000, our ancestors were still busy with some organizational issues, so these two dates were simply missed. By 1033, everything more or less got better and everyone began to expect the Last Judgment as actively and hysterically as Europeans.


According to the plan, in 1033, the appearance of the Antichrist was expected, which was released for 5 years of reign on Earth, and only then did the end of the world come with all its unpleasant consequences. The fact that the Annunciation and Good Friday coincided in 1038 also added fuel to the fire. Despite the fact that the prediction was about the simultaneous Easter and Annunciation, no one began to spoil an excellent occasion because of one day.

Needless to say, the Last Judgment did not take place, and everyone who gathered bundles of belongings and changed into clean underwear stood near the temples, looked into the sky, and dispersed to celebrate Sunday. How the numerous preachers and fortune-tellers felt who had been preparing the ground for the Apocalypse for five whole years, history is silent.

1492 year

Apart from small, local apocalypses that were expected in different regions almost every year, the next major end of the world in Russia was expected in 1492.The main reason was that the Easter dates calculated by the Byzantine clerics, that is, the annual dates of Easter, ended exactly this year.

There was no one to ask specifically - in 1453 Constantinople was captured by the Turks, and the Orthodox high priests fled in some direction. It was also important that according to the church calendar, this year was 7000 from the creation of the world. Isn't it a wonderful date for everyone to die together and appear before the High Court?


The sages, bending over their gnarled fingers, immediately gave accurate calculations - Saint Peter once said that one day of God is equal to 1000 years for ordinary people. The creation of the world along with the rest lasted 7 days, which means that it is quite logical that the world will exist for 7 God's days or 7000 years for mankind.

Waiting for the end significantly influenced the socio-political and economic life of our ancestors. The princes, who always behaved unbridled, went en masse to monasteries to atone for their sins and live righteously, while the peasants, in joy, decided not to sow the fields, but just wait and pray. The New Year, which was celebrated on September 1, in 1492 passed without incidents, and it became clear that the Apocalypse would be some other time.


However, for many commoners, the end of the world in the winter of 1492-1493 nevertheless came. In many regions, where they especially sacredly believed in the end and did not take care of food and fuel for the winter, there was a severe famine with human casualties. However, the most persistent were waiting for the Last Judgment for another 2 or 3 years. For a peasant with his difficult life, full of hard work and injustice, the opportunity to get to Paradise was too tempting to just refuse it.

Time of Troubles

In the 17th century, Russia was shocked by such events that even the most inveterate skeptics believed in the Apocalypse. If earlier everything was based on theoretical calculations, now everything has become absolutely obvious. The century began with natural disasters - the middle lane in spring was covered with lingering downpours, which stopped field work, and in July frosts suddenly hit and snow began to fall.


Climatic cataclysms of this kind were repeated for 3 years in a row, driving people to despair. A fierce famine, which was not recalled even in seasoned Russia, devastated villages and cities. Chroniclers claim that the Muscovy lost a third of its population. Other signs were added to hunger and bad weather - comets and solar eclipses.

The end of three catastrophic years was marked by the beginning of the Troubles, during which wars began one after another. Impostors now and then found themselves on the Moscow throne, and huge gangs of robbers roamed the forests, not hesitating to attack entire cities.

Epidemic and Church schism

By 1654, things were getting worse. A large-scale plague epidemic joined the lingering signs of the Last Judgment in the middle of the year. In August, there was an eclipse of the Sun, which, however, did not tell anyone anything new - the fact that the end of the world would be, was no longer disputed by anyone. The plague that engulfed Muscovy in the winter of 1654-55 claimed 800 thousand lives.

The end of the pestilence coincided with the church schism - the Reform, which divided the Orthodox into two camps. The Old Believers seriously believed that Patriarch Nikon is the very Antichrist expected by everyone. The New Jerusalem Monastery, founded by Nikon in 1656, only convinced the opponents of the reform that they were right - according to the prediction, the Antichrist was to come from Jerusalem. The year 1666 was approaching, which, like 666, was simply bound to be the last in the history of mankind.

Cultists and whoopers

I must say that everyone expected the end of the world in different ways. It was fashionable among the peasants to abandon the plow and devote the free time to atonement for sins. There were also more radical ways of waiting. Sometimes people generally abandoned their household and went into the forest to dig their own grave and lie in it, waiting for death. At the same time, the term "post" first appeared, which meant - starve yourself to death.Harsh fasting was an integral part of the anticipation of the Apocalypse.

Starvation was the only way of suicide that was not condemned by the church, and whole families resorted to it. The Old Believers, who refused to accept the church reform, also practiced the so-called "gari". Persecuted by the authorities, they preferred a painful death to the shame of new church rites. Old Believers gathered in groups, locked themselves in log cabins and simply burned themselves, along with their children and all their belongings.

Another radical manifestation of the expectation of the Last Judgment was the eunuchs. The men who joined this sect castrated themselves in order to protect themselves from sin and thoroughly prepare for a meeting with the Creator. In the 18th century, this phenomenon became especially widespread - numerous eunuch preachers wandered around the cities and villages, persuading men to an unpleasant operation in order to get a guaranteed pass to Paradise in the future.

It should be noted that a huge number of religious suicides in various segments of the population, characteristic of all

Today the "ends of the world" come with enviable regularity, but we are all so busy that we do not follow them. However, as soon as we pick up the publication of the “yellow” press, it will immediately become quite clear that we “missed” the next Apocalypse, but we have a chance to participate in the next one, which will not keep us waiting long.

As always, different kinds of sectarians are especially different. For example, in 2007, when the new generation of the iPhone and the Windows Vista operating system went on sale, a group of believers, it is not clear what Russians went to live underground, where they had an excellent 7 months of waiting for the Last Judgment, singing psalms and fasting. To extract obscurantists from the underground, the authorities had to work hard.

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