Platon Levshin


1737 – 1812


Who was Platon Levshin?

Plato II or Platon II was the Metropolitan of Moscow from 1775 to 1812. He personifies the Age of Enlightenment in the Russian Orthodox Church.

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 of Moscow. In 1757 he was appointed instructor in Greek and rhetoric 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 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. Here he came into close contact with Voltaire 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 to Maria Feodorovna, daughter of Duke Eugene of W├╝rttemberg, in 1773. During this time he published, for the use of his royal pupil, his Orthodox Doctrine: or, A short Compend of Christian Theology, 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 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.

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Jun 29, 1737
Nov 11, 1812

on July 23, 2013


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