Establishment of the Independent Riga Diocese (22 March 1850)

The first Riga diocese was created in 1836. However, it was only a suffragancy: it was administratively part of Pskov diocese, and was run by the bishop of Pskov and his consistory. In 1850, Nicholas I upgraded Riga to an independent diocese, partially to reflect the fact that the mass conversions of Estonians and Latvians in the 1840s had now created a flock of a sufficient size.

Cathedral of the Nativity (Riga, construction finished 1884).

Cathedral of the Nativity (Riga, construction finished 1884).

Edict of HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY, THE ALL-RUSSIAN AUTOCRAT: from the Most Holy Governing Synod

In accordance with the high report of the Most Holy Synod, confirmed by HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY on the 11th day of March, it is instructed: 1) form a special independent diocese, which will be opened on 1 March 1850; 2) its episcopal cathedra will be founded in Riga, with the name of Riga and Mitau; 3) this diocese is assigned into the second class: in hierarchical rank, it will follow the Warsaw diocese; 4) with the establishment in Riga of a consistory, close the ecclesiastical board and transfer its business to the consistory; 5) the ecclesiastical school, established by SUPREME INSTRUCTION in 1846, will be renamed as the Riga seminary; 6) the hierarch of Pskov diocese, due to the allocation from the diocese’s composition part of the present Riga suffragancy, will be renamed as the Pskov and Porkhov diocese, with part of this diocese placed into the administration of the Riga hierarch; and 7) about the elevation of the current Riga suffragan Bishop Platon as diocesan bishop of the newly established diocese, the Most Holy Governing Synod INSTRUCTS: let all the ecclesiastical domain know about this via circular edicts, and communicate [this] via instruction to the Governing Senate. 22 March 1850.