The Church remained the greatest feudal landowner in Russia, and by the end of XVII century still preserved some politic independence, incompatible with developing absolutism. In 1700 Patriarch Adrian died, Peter decided not to assign new Patriarch. Temporarily, Ryazan Metropolitan Stephan Yavorsky was assigned as the Head of the Clergy, but without powers of Patriarch.
Though formally acting Patriarch still was to call bishops for Councils, but these meetings were merely formal events. The office of Patriarch was abolished and its functions were transmitted to restored in 1701 Monastic Department led by boyar I.L. Musin-Pushkin and the scribe E.Zotov. Revenue and Palace Departments were submitted to this Department.
The income brought by economic activity of the monasteries and other establishments of the Church, was generally used for the needs of the country. Thus, from 1701 to 1711 the Exchequer received from monasteries' lands more than 1 million rubles.
At the same time the Government limited the number of monks, didn't allow them to move from one monastery to another, regulated the staff of monasteries. The Church was to organize and to keep Primary schools and almshouses for cripples invalids and retired soldiers.
At last, on January 25, 1725 Peter established 'The Church Regulations', worked out by his supporter Pskov bishop Pheophan Prokopovich. In accordance with the new law the fundamental reform of the Church was carried out, which completely submitted the Church to the State. Patriarchate in Russia was abolished, and to rule the Church the special Clergy Collegium was established, which soon (February, 14) was transformed into The Holy governing Synod in order to obtain more authority. It was in charge of purely religious affairs: interpretation of the religious dogmas, directions about prayers and church service, censorship of the religious books, fight against heresies, regulation of educational establishments etc. The Synod also had a function of the Religious Court. The Office of The Synod consisted of twelve higher church officials, assigned by Tsar, to whom they swore an oath.
On May 11, 1722, to control the activity of Synod Peter chose from his closest officers and assigned as chief-prosecutor I.V. Boldin, there were Synod office and church fiscals ('inquisitors') in his charge. All the property and finances of the church, its lands and serfs were in charge of Monastic Department. It was submitted to Synod, which was transformed into Synod camer-bureau. Thus, Peter completely submitted the Church to his power.