The Activities of Nikolai Ivanovich von Bock at the Russian Imperial Diplomatic Mission to the Holy See, 1912—1917
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The Activities of Nikolai Ivanovich von Bock at the Russian Imperial Diplomatic Mission to the Holy See, 1912—1917
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Anna Volodko 
Institute of World History RAS
State Academic University for the Humanities
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow

The diplomatic activities of Nikolai Ivanovich von Bock at the Russian Mission to the Holy See in 1912—1917 are assessed in the general context of the Russian-Vatican relations. The relationship between the Vatican and the Russian Empire was never an easy one. On the one hand, the Tsarist regime and the Holy See shared a commitment to traditional values and an aversion to radicalism in any forms. On the other hand, their political dialogue was complicated by the traditional rivalry between the Orthodox and Catholic Church and the fact that the majority of Catholics in Russia was represented by the Poles, among whom nationalist feelings and a desire to secede from the Empire were widespread. There were also other points of mutual dissatisfaction, for instance, the position of the Catholic Church in Russia. In the period when Nikolai von Bock served in the Mission — and with his active contribution — Russia and the Vatican not only broke the stalemate in bilateral relations, but managed to improve them significantly. The new character of these relations, marked by a removal of limitations to the Catholic Church’s activities in Russia, to a large extent corresponded with von Bock’s convictions and his desire to continue the political line of Foreign Minister Sergei D. Sazonov, aimed at reaching compromises and agreements with the Holy See. The article relies, among other sources, on Nikolai von Bock’s memoirs and his correspondence with the Russian Foreign Ministry.

the Holy See, the Vatican, Russia, bilateral relations, position, the Russian Mission, Catholicism, Orthodoxy, Pope Benedict XV, concessions, compromise
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