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Document Details :
Title: Moskou, het derde Rome
Subtitle: De wording van een religieuze mythe
Author(s): VAN DEN BERCKEN, W.
Journal: Journal of Eastern Christian Studies
Volume: 49 Issue: 1-2 Date: 1997
Moscow, the third Rome: The emergence of a religious-political myth
Although the beginning of Russian history lies in Kievan Rus’, it was during the post-Kievan period that the Russian national consciousness became explicit. It was expressed in the vitae of Russian princes such as Aleksandr Nevskij and Dmitrij Donskoj who fought against catholic neighbours in the West, Lithuania and the Teutonic Order, and against the heathen and islamic Tatars from the East. After the church union of Florence had failed and after the fall of Constantinople the Russian national consciousness got new political and religious impulses and developed into a kind of official ideology, the ‘third Rome’ doctrine. It was expressed in beautiful legends of Tver and Novgorod origin, but eventually became a Moscow doctrine in the letters of the monk Filofej. It reached its highest status under Ivan the Terrible but this tsar also undermined the myth by his politics of terror. The doctrine is an eastward variant of the translatio imperii and has interesting parallels with the Western variant.