Moscow, Metropolitan See of

Moscow, Metropolitan See Of, was established by St. Peter, the 25th metropolitan of Russia, in 1320. As early as 891 a metropolitan had been appointed to that country, and until 1240 their episcopal centre was at Kief. But the terrible invasion of the Tartars, which burst over the country at the beginning of the 13th century, caused the metropolitan see to be established at Vladimir in 1299, whence its final removal to Moscow. All this time the metropolitan was confirmed by the Oriental Church; yet until the middle of the 15th century almost all the metropolitans of Moscow were members of the Church of Rome, and favorable towards a reunion of the Eastern and Western churches. Peter (1318-26), Theognost (1326-53), and Alexis (1354-78) zealously labored for this end. Indeed, Alexis was originally within the Romish communion, united himself with it, and edited a liturgy and form of service which obtained the endorsement of the pope. In 1380, however, the metropolitan Pimen (called the pseudo-metropolitan) made strong efforts against the possibility of union with Rome, but failed to carry his point. His successor, Cyprian (1380-1406), than whom there was no more ardent friend of the Roman Church, undertook to unite the whole Russian Church with Rome. He had several conferences with Jagello, the king of Poland, and Witout, the grand-duke of Lithuania, the result of which was the reunion of the Lithuanian churches with the Roman Church. This reunion, however, never obtained the assent of the people. After Cyprian's death, Photias tried again to dissever the Russian Church from Rome. But grand-duke Witout and the bishops of Southern Russia opposed him energetically, and at a meeting of a synod (1414) they denounced him as a heretic, and nominated Gregory Jamblak metropolitan of Moscow. At this same time also the metropolitan seat of Russia was divided into the metropolitanate of Kief and of Moscow, Kief ruling the southern episcopacies and Moscow the northern ones. The real reason for this division was the leaning of the Kief party to Rome; and while in later years Moscow was decidedly opposed to the Church of Rome, Kief was its warm friend and ally. This division was brought to an end in 1437, when Joseph, patriarch of Constantinople, consecrated the learned Isidore of Thessalonica metropolitan of all Russia. Isidore is well known in Church history as one of the principal movers of the Council of Florence (1439), whose sole object was the reunion of the Greek with the Latin Church. He was highly esteemed by pope Eugenius IV, who created him cardinal of Russia in 1441. He returned to Moscow, but miserably failed in his zealous efforts of reunion. The people were so enraged against him that the grand-duke Wasilj III had to imprison him. In 1443 he escaped and fled to Rome, where he died in 1463. This persecution of Isidore led to a new division between Kief and Moscow, and the Roman Catholic bishops of Lithuania in 1474 elected Michael, bishop of Smolensk, as metropolitan of Kief, and henceforth the two metropolitan sees remained intact. The northern part stood again under the metropolitan of Moscow, while the southern part belonged to the metropolitan of Kief. They were, moreover, divided in sentiment, the former favoring strict adherence to the Eastern Church, the latter leaning strongly towards Rome; and thus matters, remained until 1520, when the Kief party abandoned the hope of union with Rome. The seeds of dissension, however, took root in the Russian Church, and the fruits were manifest in the following century, finally resulting in the establishment of the independent metropolitanate. See Strahl, Russ. Kirchengesch. volume 2; Neale, Introd. Hist. Holy East. Ch. 1:55 sq., 283 sq.; Stanley, Lect. on the East. Ch. page 435 sq. SEE RUSSIAN CHURCH.

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