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The Kalyazin Petition


The characters inhabiting the burlesque anti-world live by special laws. If they are monks, they “turn inside out” the rigid monastic rules that demand strict observance of fasts and attendance of church services, hard work and vigils. The Kalyazin Petition is a satirical complaint by the monks of” the Trinity Monastery of Kalyazin (on the left bank of the Volga opposite the town of Kalyazin) supposedly addressed to Arch­bishop Simeon of Tver and Kashin. They are complaining about their Archimandrite Gabriel who is “vexing” them. The Ar­chimandrite, they complain, “has given orders for … our brethren to be woken up and for them to go to church frequently. But we, your devout servants, are at this moment sitting with no pants on round a keg of beer”. Then follows a folkloric description of the “carefree monastery” in which the monks drink and guzzle instead of performing their monastic duties. Here both the drunken plaintiffs and the hypocritical life of Russian monasteries is satirised.