The present work is an edition of the first part of Nicolaus Bergius’s dissertation Exercitatio Historico-Theologica de statu ecclesiae et religionis Moscoviticae, printed in 1704. The first part of his work consists of two sections: the first historical, comprising 20 chapters, the second dogmatic, comprising 33 chapters, in essence a comparison between the Lutheran catechism and the first part of Peter Mogila’s Orthodox Confession.
The historical section of Bergius’s dissertation contains most of what was known about Russia in the West in terms of people, language, alphabets, faith, translations of the Bible, printed books, printing houses, churches and monasteries, clergy, liturgy, feast days, schools, sects etc. With particular interest Bergius treats the Old Believers, of whom he gives a broad survey. Bergius has read next to everything, and he constantly refers to what his different sources tell about the matter under discussion and often choses the version he finds most trustworthy.