Features of Paperwork for Appointment of Widows as Prosphora Bakers in the Tobolsk Diocese in the 19th – Early 20th Century

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Scientific article

УДК 930.253+94(571.12)+94(470)

DOI 10.28995/2073-0101-2021-3-699-712

Alexandra V. Spichak

Nizhnevartovsk State University, Nizhnevartovsk, Russian Federation

Features of Paperwork for Appointment of Widows as Prosphora Bakers in the Tobolsk Diocese in the 19th – Early 20th Century


The article is devoted to studying the diocesan paperwork on appointment of widows of clergy as prosphora bakers in the 19th - early 20th centuries. It uses general scientific, historical, and special methods of document science. Despite an abundance of works devoted to the life of clergy in pre-revolutionary Russia, the issue of the Tobolsk Spiritual Consistory paperwork concerning request of the widows of clergy to appoint them prosphora bakers in the 19th - early 20th century remains unexplored. During the period of Church revival, it is of great importance to study the history of life of clergy and solution of their problems in the dioceses. The study is to identify the features of paperwork on appointment of widows of clergy as prosphora bakers in the Tobolsk diocese in the 19th - early 20th century. Having studied the previously unknown archival documents from the State Archive in Tobolsk, the author has found out what affected the duration of office-work processes and the number of their stages. Most quickly were solved problems of those women, who lived closest to the Tobolsk Spiritual Consistory, and of those, whose requests were uncontroversial. Thus, there was no need to collect the lacking data, to clarify the controversial points, to enter into correspondence, and the office work included the least number of stages — seven. The number of stages and, accordingly, time needed increased with the moteness of the widow’s place of residence from the city of Tobolsk, where the spiritual consistory was located. The main stages were nearly identical, however, sometimes additional documents were demanded. In case of appointment as prosphora bakers, these were, firstly, approvals expressing the consent of the parishioners and the clergy of churches in which women were to serve, or certificates of village councils, and secondly, tickets for travel to their places of service. These latter were not specific to this type of cases, but general for all personnel-related issues concerning placement in the service and transfer. Bureaucratization prevented widows from getting their desired place faster, but it contributed to a better preservation of documents, thus providing an opportunity for modern researchers to study valuable archival sources. The results of the research may interest archivists; they may be used in preparation of courses on records management, history of organization of office work, and of special courses on the history of office work in institutions.


Historical sources, monastic paperwork, Russian Orthodox Church, Tobolsk Spiritual Consistory, clergy, widows, prosphora bakers, office work.

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About the authors

Spichak Alexandra Vladimirovna, PhD in History, Nizhnevartovsk State University, research laboratory of comprehensive studies of social systems, researcher, Nizhnevartovsk, Russian Federation, +7-912-530-50-23, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Grant information

This article has been prepared with financial support via grant of the President of the Russian Federation for the state support of young Russian scientists – candidates of Sciences (Contest – MK-2020) (project no. МК-514.2020.6).

Submitted 15.06.2020, published (for citation):

SPICHAK, A. V. Osobennosti deloproizvodstva o naznachenii vdov prosfornyami v XIX – nachale XX v. v Tobol'skoi eparkhii [Features of Paperwork for Appointment of Widows as Prosphora Bakers in the Tobolsk Diocese in the 19th – Early 20th Century. In Russ.]. IN: Vestnik arhivista / Herald of an Archivist, 2021, no. 3, pp. 699-712. doi 10.28995/2073-0101-2021-3-699-712

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