A HISTORY OF
RUSSIAN CHRISTIANITY – Daniel H. Shubin
THE ERA OF THE PATRIARCHATE
INSTITUTION OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PATRIARCHATE
In explaining the creation of the Russian patriarchate, Russian historians such as Karamzin and Kostomarov attach much significance to the ambition of Boris Godunov, who installed his court favorite Iov (Job) as metropolitan and then adorned him with the title of patriarch — although Job was not without ambitious inclinations of his own. Godunov’s objective was to route the frail dynasty of Rurik into the channel of his own genealogy. While it cannot be denied that Boris Godunov was ambitious to confirm the upcoming coronation by the mystique of consecration by a patriarch, just as the actual heirs to the throne of the Byzantine emperor had done, the principal reason is much more profound. The idea of a Russian patriarchate evolved from the entire history of the metropolitan’s cathedra during the era of Moscovite Russia. It was on everybody’s mind. During the final years of the 16th century, Moscow developed a very urgent desire to institute a patriarchate for itself. In 1415, Ukraine had removed itself from the administration of the metropolitan of Moscow and created its own cathedra, and in 1596 the region became completely Uniate. Russian distrust of the Greeks was measurably encouraged by the Jesuits, enemies of Orthodoxy. The Jesuits had promoted the decay of the Hellenic east as one of the motives to convert Eastern Orthodoxy to Unia, and this excited in Moscovites an opposite effect. Moscow prelates now developed a drive to become totally autocephalous, by way of a Russian patriarchate, which would put them on an equal footing with Greece or perhaps even give them pre-emi- nence over Greek Orthodoxy.
In view of Ukraine’s evasion from the hegemony of both Moscow and Con- stantinople, Jesuits in the 16th century persistently advertised the loss of the purity of religion and ecclesiastical rites by the Greeks and the Russians who were associated with them. The Jesuit Peter Skarga wrote that the Greek Church suffered for a long while from the despotism of Byzantine emperors, and finally collapsed under the shameful yoke of the Ottoman Turks, who installed and deposed patriarchs at their whim beginning from the defeat of Constanti- nople in 1453. The patriarch and clergy of Constantinople had a reputation for arrogance, and were oblivious to the fact that purity of religion could not reside in a church in captivity. Skarga also stated that because Russia had imitated the Greek religion and rite, it too possessed no purity of religion, no miracles of God, no spirit of God, no cohesion. Such assessments by the Catholics regarding Russian Orthodoxy made their way to Moscow and, of course, could not please the Russians. The attitude of the Catholics aggravated Russia’s frustration with the Greeks, and convinced them of the necessity of establishing an additional level of ecclesiastical primacy for Russian Orthodoxy. This was necessary not only for personal recognition, but for recognition by the Eastern Orthodox popu- lation and the entire Christian world.
It is credible that Peter Skarga’s inferences genuinely excited a Greco- phobia in Russia that otherwise had lain dormant since the time of the Council of Florence. The Russians were now flattered in the hope that Ukraine — crushed under the heel of Catholicism — would jubilantly arise, once it recog- nized that its elder sister — the Russian Orthodox Church — now possessed a patriarchate. Indirectly, the Russian Church would affirm that the Hellenic east was aflame, rather than just smoldering, and would summon its brethren in Poland and Lithuania, who had jurisdiction over Ukraine. The national prestige of Russia, both imperial and sacerdotal, always kept in its sights another great historical question: Who would attain hegemony over the Eastern European plain, the Catholics or Orthodox?
The question of the patriarchate flared up in Moscow when the news came that Patr. Joachim V of Antioch, who was traveling through Lvov and Eastern Europe, had appeared at the border of Russia. The arrival of an Eastern patriarch on Russian soil was unprecedented. The Moscovites felt honored, in their cus- tomary respect for their spiritual fathers according to faith, the heirs of the glory of the ancient church. This was accompanied by a desire to flaunt their piety and the majesty of their kingdom. And along with the issue of hospitality, it was an opportunity to present the question of a Russian patriarchate.
The rendezvous with the patriarch was pompous, beyond compare with any he received in the Uniate regions of Eastern Europe. Such a reception in Russia could not but impress the Eastern patriarch and gladden his retinue. By order of Moscow, the Smolensk military commander greeted the patriarch with dignity, provided him all comfort and provisions, and accompanied him to Moscow with an honor guard. Patr. Joachim arrived in Smolensk on June 6, 1586, and from there sent a letter to Tsar Feodor Ivanovich. Earlier, the patriarch had requested and received from Tsar Feodor 200 pieces of gold. This newest letter of Patr. Joachim was full of native Byzantine expressions, that is, abundant praise of the Moscovite tsar, such as, “If one should view heaven and the heaven of heavens, and all the stars, but sees not the sun, he has seen nothing. But when he sees the sun he rejoices immensely and glorifies its creator. At the present the sun of our Orthodox Christians is none other than yourself, your royal majesty.” But none of the correspondence was directed to Metr. Dionysei.
The tsar sent esteemed emissaries to the patriarch to greet him as he traveled deeper into Russia: to Mozhaisk, first, and then to Dorogomilov. Patr. Joachim entered Moscow on June 17, 1586, and was given a residence in the home of Sheremetiev. On June 25, there was a full-dress banquet to greet the patriarch at the home of Tsar Feodor, but Metr. Dionysei extended to Patr. Joachim neither visit nor greeting. This omission on the part of the Russian metropolitan did not occur without the consensus of imperial authority. The metropolitan clearly wanted the Eastern patriarch, who was begging for alms, to recognize that he — the Russian metropolitan — was head of his own autocephalous church, just like the patriarch of Antioch; he was also the head of a church that was larger and stronger, and that possessed more freedoms. For this reason Russian prelates felt it was more appropriate for the patriarch to condescend to the metropolitan in greeting. The patriarch sought to circumvent the issue by first greeting the tsar; the Russian metropolitan played the same game.
As an honored guest, the patriarch rode to the palace in the royal carriage.
Receiving the patriarch in his Golden Chamber, the tsar sat on his throne wearing his royal robes in the midst of his noblemen and officials in full dress. The tsar then arose and walked forward from his throne a few feet for the meeting. Patr. Joachim blessed Tsar Feodor and delivered the relics of some saints as a gift for him. He also handed the tsar a letter of approbation, confirmed with the signatures of Patr. Theoleptus of Constantinople and Patr. Silvester of Alexandria, regarding financial assistance from Russia in the amount of 8,000 pieces of gold, to cover the debts of the cathedra of Antioch.
The tsar invited the patriarch to dine with him that very day, a great honor according to Moscovite custom. Meanwhile, Joachim was directed to Uspenski Cathedral to meet with the metropolitan. This scenario was determined in advance in order to intimidate the patriarch with a display of Metr. Dionysei at his cathedral, surrounded by a crowd of innumerable prelates dressed in bro- caded golden robes with pearls, and in the midst of icons, and vaults containing relics of saints, which were also decorated with gold and jewels. The scene was designed so that the destitute guest — patriarch in title only — would feel his inferiority while in the presence of the head of a genuinely majestic church. An honorable greeting was offered the patriarch at the south doors, and attendants led him to kiss certain icons and relic vaults in the traditional manner. Mean- while Metr. Dionysei, with his prelates in the center of the cathedral, were ready to begin the liturgy. Metr. Dionysei descended from his ambo and then took a few steps forward to greet Patr. Joachim, and hastened to bless him first. The patriarch, struck dumb by the advance of the metropolitan and his blessing, well understood the offense imposed; through an interpreter he informed them that this was inappropriate and that the patriarch was supposed to bless first. But Joachim noticed that nobody seemed to hear his complaint, and divined that it was not the time or place to debate the issue, and he desisted. Patr. Joachim heard the liturgy, standing at a pillar near the rear of the cathedral, still dressed in his traveling clothes!
The royal banquet after the liturgy, and the royal gifts presented him, were only gilded pills for the embittered patriarch. The person of the Russian metro- politan, radiant as an Olympic giant in the presence of the patriarch, again hid from the patriarch. Immediately following a greeting and dinner, the royal family began negotiations with Patr. Joachim regarding the patriarchate. The talks were conducted clandestinely, and without a written account of the pro- ceedings. All this impressed upon the patriarch that it was no use for him to argue with the Russian metropolitan, who had the advantage; and the patriarch was now in Moscow’s debt, anyway. By handling the matter entirely behind the scenes, the imperial authorities spared the Russian prelates the risk of conde- scension and delivered them from any chance of falling into the hands of a des- titute beggar. The Russian church asked for nothing, as if it had all it wanted, but nonetheless gave the Eastern patriarchs to understand their obligation toward the Russian Church and the need to recognize it for its charity. A patri- archate was the price to be paid. At the Boyar Duma (Assembly of Nobles), Tsar Feodor gave a speech com- mencing with the statement that he, after consulting with wife Irina and brother-in-law Boris Godunov, had decided to propose a matter to the visiting patriarch. Tsar Feodor proceeded with his address.
“From the beginning, at the time of our forefathers — the rulers of Kiev, Vladimir and Moscow — pious tsars and grand princes installed our prelates as metropolitans of Kiev, Vladimir, Moscow and all Russia with the consensus of the ecumenical patriarch at Constantinople. Then by the mercy of the omnipotent God and the immaculate Virgin Mary, our intercessor, by the prayers of the great mira- cle-workers of the entire Russian realm, and by the petitions and prayer of our ancestors — our pious tsars and grand princes of Moscow — and in accord with the counsel of the patriarch of Constantinople, metropolitans in Moscovite Russia were allowed to be ordained by the selection and consensus of our forebears and the entire council of prelates, one selected from the prelates of the Russian realm. Now, according to His great and indescribable mercy, God has gifted us to see the arrival of the great patriarch of Antioch, and we give glory to God for this event. And we must also ask of Him mercy, so that He will ordain a Russian patriarch within our sovereignty of Moscow. And we will discuss this matter with the most-reverend Patr. Joachim, and will direct him toward blessing a Moscovite patriarchate, one who will be included with all the patriarchs.”
Boris Godunov, nominated for the negotiations, was sent to Patr. Joachim, and proposed to him the following.
“You should discuss this with the most-reverend and venerable ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, while the most-reverend patriarch will discuss this great matter with you and the other patriarchs, and with archbishops and bishops and with abbots and archimandrites, and with an entire ecclesiastical assembly. Even at the holy mountain, at Sinai, should our petition be heard, in order for God to permit such a great matter to be implemented in our Russian sovereignty and for the piety of the Christian faith. After meditating on this matter, they should dis- close to us how to proceed to consummate this matter.”
Patr. Joachim, after presentation of the request, on his own behalf and on behalf of the other Eastern patriarchs thanked the tsar of Moscow for all the charity that was requested of him, and recognized that it would be appropriate to install a patriarchate in Russia. He promised to discuss this matter with the other patriarchs, saying, “This is a great matter pertaining to a council of us all, and I cannot implement this matter without their consensus.” The final words echoed oddly in the ears of the tsar and Boris Godunov. The subsequent docu- ments pertaining to the negotiations are ambiguous and far from objective. Apparently, the 8,000 pieces of gold Joachim had requested was offered by Godunov, and in return, while on his homeward journey, Joachim was to intercede for a Russian patriarchate and secure approval from the remaining patriarchs. The negotiation concluded quickly; both parties received what they expected. Patr. Joachim visited Moscow Chudovski Monastery on July 4, and Troitse-Sergievski Monastery on July 8. He was honorably received and was pre- sented with many gifts at both shrines. Joachim was then received with honor at the tsar’s Golden Chamber on July 17 for farewells. The tsar publicly announced his grant of alms to the patriarch, and requested the patriarch, in return, to pray on his behalf; but not a word was spoken about the patriarchate. From here the guest was led to Blago-Veschenski and Archangelsk Cathedrals, to attend lit- urgies prior to his departure; but Joachim did not enter the cathedra of the met- ropolitan — Uspenski Cathedral — nor the personal chambers of Metr. Dionysei, and neither was there any farewell with him. The offense to Joachim was appreciable. One can only surmise that Dionysei’s gesture was not made without strong political reason, nor without the consensus of the tsar and his brother-in-law.
Patr. Joachim departed Moscow on August 1, 1586, escorted by an honor guard on his journey for Chernigov. To help accomplish the intents of Moscow, Mikhail Ogarkov, a clerk, was sent with Joachim. Ogarkov was hoping, as well, to ransom his son who was sitting as a captive in a Turkish prison. Ogarkov also was delivering expensive gifts and additional contributions to the patriarchs of Constantinople and Alexandria. Boris Godunov guided the politics of the Russian state to his own benefit, with opposition from a party that included Metr. Dionysei. Godunov had a favorite among the prelates, Job, abbot of Staritzki (Elder’s) Monastery, whom he hoped to make Dionysei’s replacement. Godunov also entertained the idea of installing Job as patriarchate. Metr. Dionysei suspected as much: the intriguing Godunov might agree to some accommodation with the Eastern Church, to reduce some of the independence of the Russian Church, in order to acquire the pompous patriarchal title for Job. From this point onward, Metr. Dionysei began a serious campaign to preserve intact the autonomy and dignity of the Russian Church. In the following year of 1587, Metr. Dionysei and Archbishop Varlaam of Krutitzk, as candid opponents of Godunov, were both deposed by Godunov, and indeed Job was given Dionysei’s position and then promoted to the cathedra of metropolitan.
In Constantinople, the tendentiousness of the Russians evoked a negative reaction among the Greek Orthodox prelates. The history of the earlier ascen- sions of the patriarchates of Bulgaria and Serbia was raised, and the Greeks remembered how bitter it was for them, when these Churches gained indepen- dence. The Eastern patriarchs employed the tactics of silence and procrasti- nation at least to delay what they could not prevent, and for an entire year Moscow received no response from them. Constantinople, foreseeing the inevi- table, then decided to take advantage of the situation and exploit the Russians. All throughout the latter part of 1586 and early 1587, Eastern clergymen — dozens of metropolitans, archbishops, abbots, hieromonks and monks — migrated in a stream through Chernigov and Smolensk, and thence to Moscow, requesting donations and then returning home with their spoils.
Toward the end of June 1587, Nikolai, a Greek, a messenger from the patriarchs of Constantinople and Antioch, appeared at Chernigov, at the border of Russia, with a letter again requesting donations and with an oral communi- cation for the tsar. The message borne by Nikolai was that, at a council (seem- ingly undertaken for the purpose of considering the request for a Russian patriarchate), the patriarchs had conferred on that question. Some evidence indicates that Nikolai fabricated this “oral communication” while in Chernigov, so that his requests for charity would be granted, and he would not return empty-handed. The guards at Chernigov questioned Nikolai about his embassy, and only allowed him to continue his journey to Moscow after they received the desired response.
During this interval Patr. Theoleptus of Constantinople was deposed by the Turkish sultan Porta, and former patriarch Jeremiah II Tranos was recalled out of exile and reinstalled as patriarch. It was Theoleptus who, as a result of his intrigue to acquire the patriarchate of Constantinople, had earlier banished Jer- emiah to exile. When Patr. Jeremiah returned to Constantinople from exile, the Ecumenical patriarchate was in ruins. Apparently because of the debts of Theo- leptus, Sultan Porta confiscated the patriarchal cathedral church of Pam- makaristi (All-Blessed) and converted it into a mosque, and also confiscated the remaining buildings of the patriarch’s domain. Jeremiah found refuge at the estate of a feudal prince in Walachia (Romania), and there he built a church to use as his cathedra and residence. Jeremiah was overwhelmed by the responsi- bility of restoring the devastated center of his own patriarchate, and the Rus- sians’ importunate demands were not on his mind. It is also possible that documents were destroyed during the devastation of Theoleptus’ patriarchate by the sultan, and little remained for Jeremiah. However, he did acquire suffi- cient information from others on the “urgency” of the matter. Jeremiah decided to swallow his Greek pride and travel to the fabulous Moscow — as they described the city — and with an open palm. Moscow, he heard, was very rich and very naïve in honoring Eastern patriarchs, and a patriarch of Constantinople had not yet visited Russia in all its 600 year association. The fact that Moscow was awaiting a positive response regarding the question of the patriarchate did not deter him the least. He needed financial support, which request Moscow did not expect from him, especially after Patr. Joachim’s visit and Nikolai’s intrigue.
With the permission of the sultan, Jeremiah left for Russia. Passing through Lvov and Vilna with a retinue of 27 persons, he arrived at Smolensk on June 24, 1588. Moscow was perplexed. Why Jeremiah, and not Theoleptus, whom they knew? Moscow was initially reluctant to accept this newcomer as patriarch, and gossip recalled his earlier expulsion from the cathedra. Using the Smolensk militia, Jeremiah dispatched a letter to the tsar containing a request for funds, mentioning nothing about a patriarchate. This was a riddle for Moscow. They were expecting their affirmative answer, not another request for a hand-out. Tsar Feodor issued an order to Bishop Silvester of Smolensk and the local militia to greet the newcomer with all honor. A delegate from Moscow, headed by the respected Semeon Pushechnikov, was to travel to Smolensk and interview this newcomer. Prelates wondered among themselves whether the new patriarch of Constantinople was legitimate.
Apparently the result of Pushechnikov’s interview was satisfactory to Moscow, since Jeremiah was allowed to proceed with his embassy, and was greeted with ample pomp and ceremony. At Smolensk, Jeremiah and his retinue were treated with honor, and were accompanied to Moscow with an honor guard. Two of the prominent members of the retinue were Metr. Jerofius of Monemvasi, in southern Greece, and Archbishop Arsenius of Elasson, a teacher of Greek at Lvov, where he joined the party of Jeremiah. Arsenius described their arrival at Moscow from their final resting place at the Dorogomilov outpost in the following report: Having departed Smolensk on July 1, after ten days we arrived at Moscow. Five miles before great Moscow, Tsar Feodor and the great metropolitan Job of great Moscow sent two archbishops, two bishops, respected noblemen, archimandrites, abbots, priests, monks and a large crowd, to greet the patriarch. The prelates and royal noblemen, having arrived, related to the patriarch the greeting and satisfac- tion of the tsar, while the patriarch, having stood and raised his hands to God, prayed long, thanking much the tsar, and after his prayer the patriarch blessed the prelates and noblemen, giving them a holy kiss. In like manner did he bless them all. In an orderly fashion we proceeded with festivity and great honor to great Moscow.
Patr. Jeremiah of Constantinople entered Moscow July 13, 1588. The guests were led through the best streets of Moscow surrounded by crowds, and were given a residence at the Riazanski Palace. The tsar issued a personal order to Semeon Pushechnikov and a police office, Grigori Naschokin, to see to the security of the guests, and provide surveillance. A robust and strong guard, con- sisting of three sons of noblemen, was to follow their every move, so that no Greek or Turk residing in Moscow would approach them without official per- mission. Communication between the guests with the public was permitted only with the approval of Andrei Schelkalov, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Any unauthorized person who attempted to communicate with Jeremiah was to be reported to the tsar. Jerofius of Monemvasi left this bitter account of the surveil- lance over them.
These people are bad and dishonest, and every word they heard they relayed to a translator, and he in turn relayed it to the tsar. None of the local residents were allowed to speak to them or visit with them, neither were they allowed out of the palace into public view. Even when monks, who accompanied the patriarch, had to go to the bazaar for provisions, they were accompanied by the tsar’s people, who guarded them until they returned to their residence.
On this occasion — in contradistinction to the conduct of the former Metr. Dionysei — the prelates expressed their goodwill and respect toward Patr. Jeremiah. This change in attitude was shown, first, because Jeremiah of Con- stantinople was considered to have preeminence over all Eastern patriarchs; and second, because he had brought many relics of saints as a gift to the Russian tsar, while Joachim had come to them begging for alms; and third, because Godunov had replaced Dionysei with Job, his court favorite, whom he wanted to promote to the cathedra of a newly-established patriarchate.
On the day after Jeremiah’s arrival, June 14, by order of the tsar, a distinguished deputation of archimandrites, protopopes and sacristans was dis- patched by Metr. Job to the Riazanski Palace to inquire after the patriarch’s health. They also welcomed the patriarch to Moscow, in a ceremonial manner, on behalf of Metr. Job, and requested his blessing. In return, Jeremiah relayed to Job his gratitude for the welcome. On the following Sunday, June 21, a formal welcome was displayed for the patriarch at the palace of the tsar. The patriarch traveled there on a donkey, while crowds lined the streets. Metr. Jerofius and Archbishop Arsenius rode on horses in the traditional manner. After the guests were suitably welcomed by palace officials, they were led to the Golden Chamber, where the tsar sat wearing his royal robes, surrounded by noblemen and courtiers, who were again in full dress. Tsar Feodor Ivanovich arose and took a few steps forward to greet the patriarch. The tsar was blessed by the patriarch, and then asked him, “Did you travel well?”
Jeremiah answered following the prescribed manner, “By the mercy of God and your sovereign assistance. And as soon as we set eyes upon your royal person, we forgot about the journey and have arrived at your kingdom in good health.” All of this exchange was facilitated by interpreters on both sides.
Patr. Jeremiah presented the tsar a gift of holy relics, saying to him, “Here is a golden panegia with several relics of saints. In it is a piece of the life-giving cross upon which Christ was crucified, and in this panegia is some of the blood of Christ, and a piece of the robe of Christ, and a piece of the spear, and of the reed, and a part of the sponge from which Christ tasted the vinegar, and part of the crown of thorns which the Jews placed upon Christ; and also three buttons from the garment of the Immaculate Virgin; plus a relic of the great king Con- stantine: a piece of his arm held in a silver pouch. This [panegia] holds a relic of the martyr St. Yakov (Jacob), [a piece of] the elbow of the left arm, and which was brought from the land of Syria by Sultan Suleiman, and was given to Patr. Jeremiah at the Church of the Immaculate Virgin. While for Tsaritza Irina we present this gold panegia containing a jewel [on its cover], and on the jewel is engraved the portrait of the holy female martyr Marina. It contains a relic of St. John Chrysostom, part of the small finger of his hand; and a relic of the holy female martyr Marina of Antioch; and a relic of the holy martyr Solomanius, part of the bone of his skull.” (The historical account calls these containers panegias; Kartashyov feels they were more like jewelry boxes, only sealed so they could not be opened.)
After the gifts were presented, the tsar sat Patr. Jeremiah alongside himself on a special bench, and ordered the royal treasurer Trakhaniontov to present the tsar’s royal gifts to the patriarch: a golden goblet with two arms, a bolt of blue velvet cloth, a bolt of scarlet velvet cloth, a bolt of blue satin, a bolt of scarlet damask, one bundle of sable furs valued at 30 rubles, and 300 rubles in hard money. Metr. Jerofius had received less valuable gifts, while Archbishop Ars- enius had received nothing but the 330 rubles he asked for when he had recently visited Moscow; he took that money back with him to Lvov.
At this point the tsar bid farewell to the patriarch, without inviting him for dinner. However, food from the tsar’s table was taken to Riazanski Palace by Mikhail Saburov, and the patriarch at the same time was advised to discuss further matters with the tsar’s brother-in-law, Boris Godunov.
Later, the patriarch and his retinue entered the small recording chamber at his residence. The tsar appeared, along with Godunov, Andrei Schelkalov and Druzhin Petelin. Godunov requested the entire retinue of the patriarch to leave the chamber, including Metr. Jerofius and Archbishop Arsenius. Then Godunov asked Patr. Jeremiah to personally relate to them why they had come to visit the tsar, when they had left Constantinople, who remained in his place to handle the affairs of the patriarchate, where Patr. Theoleptus was to be found, who previ- ously had communicated with the tsar, whom had he met while traveling through Lithuania, and whether there was any news from that region to relate to the tsar. The Moscow rulers were attempting to elicit clues as to why Patr. Jer- emiah seemed not to be planning to address Moscow’s primary interest — the patriarchate.
As Jeremiah explained his misfortunes, it became plain that his motives for visiting Moscow and the tsar were straightforward and sincere enough. Now, with the disappearance of Patr. Theoleptus, who well understood the question of a Russian patriarchate, and to whom many expensive gifts had been given — now in vain, it was necessary to begin negotiations from the start. This, of course, was disturbing to the Russian rulers. And other items of a political nature, communicated by Patr. Jeremiah, were not without interest to them. He had been in Poland when they selected their king; their selection was Sigismund II Vasa, and so Krakow became the King’s new residence. Patr. Jeremiah also held certain secrets, but he preferred to relate these matters to Godunov in private, because they dealt with Russian involvement in the selection of the Polish king. But because these secrets did not pertain to the matter at hand, Godunov was not interested to listen any further. After about two hours of cere- monial welcome and general conversation, Patr. Jeremiah retired to his residence for lunch.
Did Godunov approach Patr. Jeremiah on the topic of the patriarchate? He certainly did, but Jeremiah did not sense any obligation on his part to proceed at this time. His sole focus was to secure financial backing to cover his needs back in Constantinople. The Moscow officials made it clear that they were not offering charity where nothing was offered in return. Agents of the tsar visited Jeremiah regularly, extorting from him his thoughts; for weeks and months he was sheltered under guard at the Riazanski Palace, his residence, living on the hospitality of the tsar as though a royal prisoner. The Russians then approached him with the possibility remaining in Russia as the Russian patriarch. Without any counsel or consultation with others, he answered affirmatively, “I will stay.” As soon as Jeremiah swallowed the bait, intense negotiations began. Patr. Jeremiah was carried away by the thought of being patriarch of both Constanti- nople and Moscow; his domain would now extend throughout Russia and Eastern Europe. He would have greater access to funds for refinancing his belea- guered and forlorn patriarchate in Constantinople, now laid waste by Ottoman occupation, and could use Russian help in negotiations with the Ottomans. He could also develop Greek culture in Russia, and Moscow would become his second cathedra. Now, he would not have to worry about the autonomy of the Russian Church, since it would be consumed by Constantinople. Patr. Jeremiah may also have been dazzled by the freedom Orthodoxy enjoyed in Moscow, and the wealth, compared to the destitution and persecution in Constantinople.
But the invitation to stay in Moscow was only a ruse designed to lure him into acceding to their primary demand. The Russians, of course, were not about to sell or betray their church to the patriarch of Constantinople, and so they informed Jeremiah that he would have to reside at Vladimir, the ancient capital. That way, he would not interfere with the Russian m etropolitan, whose cathedra was in Moscow; the patriarch would likewise be distanced from the Russian noblemen, the Duma, and other political bodies and agencies of Imperial Russia. Only after hearing the conditions under which he would have his patri- archate in Russia did Patr. Jeremiah understand that he had been tricked. However, he was still somewhat naive about their ultimate goal. The Russians entered into more detailed negotiations with him, but Patr. Jeremiah rejected their proposition. He knew he could not be effective as a patriarch with his cathedra in Vladimir, while the tsar and metropolitan had their residences in Moscow. Godunov visited Jeremiah several times, persistently seeking to change his mind. It was only after Jeremiah’s adamant rejection of the Russian patri- archate on his own behalf that Tsar Feodor pressed him to ordain Job as patriarch. Having already conceded, at least by implication, that Moscow could or should have its own patriarchate, Jeremiah was backed into a corner. He requested leave to return to Constantinople. But Moscow had the upper hand.
In early January of 1589, Tsar Feodor summoned the Duma, in the presence
of Patr. Jeremiah, and gave a lecture recapitulating the history of the attitude of the cathedra of the Russian metropolitan to Constantinople. The Duma named Boris Godunov to accept the responsibility for further and final negotiations. The following is Godunov’s address to the Boyar Duma, main in our sovereignty, pos- sessing the patriarchate of Vladimir and all Russia, while our father and intercessor Metr. Job would remain in the capital city Moscow. But the reverend Jeremiah does not desire the patriarchate of Vladimir. He would be willing to fulfill our will, if we permit him the patriarchate in Moscow where our father Metr. Job presently resides. But we feel that disposition to be inadequate; how can we banish the great miracle-workers Peter and Aleksei and Jonah and men of dignity, as well as our holy and reverent father and intercessor Metr. Job, from [the Cathedral of] the Immacu- late Theotokos and the great miracle workers, and implement the Greek law of the patriarch? And he does not know local customs and Russian language, and we are unable to discuss any religious matters without an interpreter.
And so we will further discuss this matter with the patriarch, for him to bless and ordain for the patriarchate of Vladimir and Moscow, a member of the Russian council of prelates, our father and intercessor Metr. Job, to elevate him to the same rank as the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. And the rite of ordina- tion will be acquired from him, for us to be able [to ordain] a patriarch from among the metropolitans, archbishops and bishops in Imperial Russia; while metropoli- tans and archbishops and bishops would be ordained by the patriarch of Imperial Russia, which would be useful in order to increase the number of metropolitans, archbishops and bishops in our cities.
Godunov and Schelkalov visited Patr. Jeremiah on January 13, 1589 in his palace, and stated to him rather adamantly that they by order of the tsar needed to further “discuss” the matter of his ordaining a Russian patriarch. Jerofei of Monembasi was present at the time, and recorded the scene as follows. “Then they said to him, ‘The decision of the tsar is for you to ordain a patriarch.’ And Jeremiah would change the subject, but then said that he is not authorized by the prelates, and this would be illegal. But finally against his own good wishes, he ordained a patriarch for Russia.”
Patr. Jeremiah capitulated. Under such ongoing pressure from the royalfamily and imperial officials, he agreed to ordain a patriarch, and for no other reason than to win his release from royal house arrest and to be allowed to return home. Historian Bogdonov feels that Godunov and Schelkalov learned their techniques of coercion while they were young members of the oprichniks under Tsar Ivan the Terrible.
No sooner did Tsar Feodor hear of Jeremiah’s capitulation than he summoned an ecclesiastical council of three archbishops, five bishops, five archiman- drites, and three monastic elders, on January 17, 1589, to announce to them the good news. After the meeting, Godunov and Andrei Schelkalov visited Jeremiah with an ultimatum to ordain Metr Job, specifically. Under duress, Jeremiah again agreed, and the selection of Job as patriarch-designee was announced January 19, just two days later. The final technicalities were resolved on January 23, and January 26 was the date selected for the ordination. Along with Job, Patr. Jeremiah was to perform two other ordinations: Aleksandr, as metropolitan of Novgorod and Varlaam, as metropolitan of Rostov. Jeremiah was unprepared to conduct the rite of ordination of a patriarch, and was only able to supply, on such short notice, a synopsis of the rite. Details that were missing were supplied by Schelkalov, from the Russian rite of the ordination of a metropolitan.
Beginning January 23, the entire city joined the celebration of a patriarchal ordination. At seven o’clock that morning, an ecclesiastical assembly began at Uspenski Cathedral; except that Metr. Job remained in his chambers. A special delegation of clergy departed for Riazanski Palace, to invite the patriarch to the all-Russia ecclesiastical assembly, where he would venerate the tombs of early Moscovite prelates and acknowledge autonomy of the Russian Orthodox Church (which, up to that time, had been a daughter of the Church of Constan- tinople). Thus, the Moscovite diplomats were able to ensure that Patr. Jeremiah traveled with them to Uspenski Cathedral, to ordain as patriarch the person he had yet to set his eyes on.
At the cathedral, the services began at the sound of the smaller chime. The patriarch proceeded at the forefront of a line of Russian clergy. At their head was a taper-bearer with a dual-burning lamp. As they entered the Kremlin, the larger chime sounded. The episcopacy and clergy greeted the patriarch with three prostrations; the patriarch blessed them all. Entering Uspenski Cathedral, the patriarch stood opposite the icon of the Vladimir Theotokos and listened to the prayer on behalf of his entrance. He approached the icons and tombs of Mos- covite miracle-workers and ancient prelates, displayed veneration toward them, and kissed them, and then returned to his place opposite the icon of the Vladimir Theotokos. Russian and Greek prelates approached him and performed the cer- emony of the secret council, which pertained to the selection of three candidates for the patriarchate. These were — as predetermined — Metr. Job, archbishop Aleksandr of Novgorod, and Archbishop Varlaam of Rostov. Then these Russian prelates and two of the Greek prelates departed upstairs to the Chamber of the Veneration of the Theotokos (Pokhval Bogo-Roditzi), to consummate the selection. One of the candidates was to be designated patriarch, and the other two would be nominated as metropolitans of their respective dioceses. Docu- ments were composed to this effect by Ivan Schebarshin, metropolitan’s deacon. Then these documents were brought downstairs to the patriarch, and the entire ecclesiastical assembly went to the palace to present the documents to the tsar. The procession was greeted by the tsar and noblemen at the doors to the Golden Chamber. The assembly was led in and they were seated at appropriate places in the tsar’s presence. After a moment, Patr. Jeremiah arose and communicated to Tsar Feodor the selection of a candidate, and entrusted him with the related doc- uments. The tsar ordered the deacon to read them. After listening to the names of the candidates, Tsar Feodor selected Metr. Job for the patriarchate. This was the conclusive act of selection, and a special delegation was quickly sent to summon Job to the palace.
Job was supposed to hear of his selection direct from the lips of the tsar, and meet Patr. Jeremiah for the first time. Upon the arrival of Metr. Job, the tsar issued strict orders so that his candidate would not be subjugated to the authority of the visiting patriarch, but at the same time would not insult him. The entrance was entirely planned by the tsar: when Job was to arrive at the doors to the tsar’s Golden Chambers, the tsar was to greet him at the doors, and Job would bless him in an appropriate manner. Then the entire ecclesiastical assembly — including Patr. Jeremiah — was to greet the arrival of Metr. Job. Afterwards, Job was to approach Jeremiah and bless him first, and in return, Jer- emiah was to bless Job, and the two would kiss each other with a holy kiss in the love of Christ in the traditional manner. Each of them would hand his shepherd’s staff — the sign of his authority — to a prelate standing next to him, in order for them to kiss each other as equals. When Job entered, everything was performed exactly as planned, and they were all seated at their respective places. This was Patr. Jeremiah’s first opportunity to set his eyes on Metr. Job since his arrival in Moscow, seven months earlier!
Tsar Feodor informed Metr. Job of his selection as patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, and then asked Patr. Jeremiah to pray on Job’s behalf. They arose, Patr. Jeremiah blessed Metr. Job as the patriarch-designee, and they were seated. Jeremiah handed to Tsar Feodor the documents regarding the selection of two metropolitans. The documents were read and approved by the tsar, and Jeremiah blessed the two metropolitan-designees. The ordination date of the two metro- politans was changed so that it could be performed by the new patriarch of Russia after his own ordination. Patr. Jeremiah had hoped the selection process would occur at an ecclesiastical assembly at Uspenski Cathedral, instead of at the tsar’s chambers, and he was disappointed. For reasons that are not specified, after the nomination ceremony was concluded, Metr. Job failed to publicly thank Patr. Jeremiah for his blessing that designated him as the new patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.
From the tsar’s chambers the assembly walked back to Uspenski Cathedral, there to again venerate the icons. After the short service, Patr. Jeremiah returned to his residence, accompanied by a royal delegation, while Job remained at the cathedra to perform additional liturgy. After these services, Job returned to his residence, accompanied by an ecclesiastical assembly. There they congratulated him as patriarch-designee, and wished him many years. The actual ordination of Job was scheduled for January 26, a few days thence.
In the center of Uspenski Cathedral, a scaffold was erected and on it three seats were placed: the central one for the tsar, and on either side of him Jeremiah and Job. The Tsar’s gilded chair was enveloped with blue-green velvet and above it red cloth was stretched. The areas for the patriarchs were covered with blue- green cloth, while the chairs were covered with black velvet. On each side of the scaffold were benches for prelates, both Russian and Greek. Another scaffold was erected to serve as an elevated ambo, and an eagle with its wings out- stretched was mounted over it. Twelve large lamps surrounded the ambo.
Announcements were made at seven o’clock on the morning of January 26, 1589. Within an hour, Metr. Job appeared. After kissing the icons, he departed to the Chamber of the Veneration of the Theotokos, where he was arrayed in his vestments. An honor guard departed for Patr. Jeremiah, and in the same pomp escorted him to the cathedral. After listening to the prayer of his entrance, the patriarch was arrayed in his vestments, while a choir of Greek girls sang. Now began the pompous ceremony of the entrance of the tsar and his retinue into the cathedral; the same choir now sang to his longevity. After kissing icons and vaults of deceased saints, Tsar Feodor Ivanovich was blessed by Patr. Jeremiah. Then the tsar ascended the scaffold to his seat in the center, and invited the patriarch to sit at his right. Prelates and other clergy were asked to leave the area of the altar and to sit in order of rank, according to the customary manner, on the benches which were placed on each side of the scaffold. A delegation brought Metr. Job into the area in front of the eagle. Job, having bowed at the waist to the tsar and patriarch, read the confession of faith — probably the Nicene Creed — and oath of office, practically identical to the one he had read when he was ordained as metropolitan.
The entire assembly arose together. Patr. Jeremiah blessed Job, saying, “By way of our humbleness, the grace of the most holy Spirit accepts you as patriarch of the God-delivered and reigning city of Moscow and the entirety of great Russia.” And again everyone was seated. A protopope and arch-deacon led Job with the customary three bows to Jeremiah. He blessed Job, and then Job blessed Jeremiah, and the two of them kissed. Job followed the line of prelates and kissed them all. Job then stood again in front of the eagle, and bowed his head. Jeremiah again blessed him, now with the words. “May the grace of the most holy Spirit be with you.” Then Job ascended the scaffold to take his seat alongside the tsar, and the entire assembly, together with the two patriarchs, congratulated the tsar. He replied similarly to the patriarchs. Job, now descending from his seat on the scaffold, bowed to the assembly — his head reaching the floor — and departed back to the Chamber of the Veneration of the Theotokos. The tsar, likewise, after his blessing by Jeremiah, descended from his seat on the scaffold and stood in his customary royal spot in the cathedral.
Jeremiah descended from his seat and began the liturgy. The second part of ordination, the most essential, was to occur after the lesser entrance. After the third recital of “Holy, Holy, Holy,” Job was led from the chambers, and through the Royal Doors in the center of the iconostasis, and brought to the altar. Jer- emiah issued an order for Job to be led near the throne-table, while the choir sang the song of the Holy Martyrs, just as would occur for any candidate for a holy order. The patriarch and all the assembled prelates laid their hands on Job and consecrated him. Both patriarchs in unison finished the balance of the liturgy.
After the liturgy, the third part of ordination — which is called “nastolo- vaniye” (seat-assignment) — was performed. Job was led away from the altar, and three times was seated at his patriarchal spot, while the choir sang. Job removed his vestments and Patr. Jeremiah endowed him with a special gold icon and hung it around his collar. The tsar approached the center of the ambo and presented Job with a gold panegia, encrusted with jewels, along with a new set of vestments. The tsar handed these gifts to Jeremiah, who, in turn, hung them on Job, until he was attired in his new patriarchal vestments. He also received a staff made of solid gold, embedded with jewels and pearls, which was crafted especially for the occasion. We can only imagine the impression that was made on Jeremiah when he saw such majesty and wealth as Eastern patriarchs them- selves never dreamed of wearing now worn by the Russian patriarch. The tsar wanted for Jeremiah to sense, once more, that Russia had earned a patriarchal title, and that Jeremiah should not regret his decision. After attiring Job in his patriarchal splendor, Jeremiah congratulated him. Then Job in return congratu- lated Jeremiah, and also congratulated Tsar Feodor. The three of them then returned to their seats on the scaffold.
After a few moments, Tsar Feodor arose and recited a speech of investiture, similar to the speech recited at the ordination of a metropolitan: The omnipotent and life-giving Holy Trinity, gifting to us, all of Russia, the autocracy of a Russian state, now gives to you the great throne of the great miracle- worker Archbishop Peter, which is the patriarchate of Moscow and the entirety of Imperial Russia through the imposition of hands, and ordination by the ecumenical patriarch Jeremiah of Constantinople, and the holy fathers and the Greek metropol- itans, and archbishops and prelates of our imperial Russian state. Now accept the shepherd’s staff as father, and sit as supreme elder in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and his Immaculate Mother, and enter into [the cathedra] of the great mira- cle-worker Peter. And beseech the Lord God and the Immaculate Blessed Virgin, his mother, and the great miracle-workers Peter and Aleksei and Jonah, and all the saints on our behalf, and on behalf of our state and our Orthodoxy, provide all that is to our benefit, and that of the body and soul of every Orthodox Christian. And may the Lord God grant you health and longevity for ever. Amen.
(The Archbishop Peter who is mentioned is Apostle Peter, traditionally the first bishop or pope of Rome.) After his speech, the tsar entrusted to Job, as is normal according to the ritual of the ordination of a metropolitan, the original staff of Metr. Peter, decorated especially for the occasion. All of the prelates con- gratulated Job, while the choir sang a song to his longevity. Then Job recited to Tsar Feodor a speech according to the traditional text, after which the assembly wished the tsar longevity, and the choir sang again. This was repeated for Patr. Jeremiah, and both patriarchs blessed the entire assembly in all four directions.
Tsar Feodor left Uspenski Cathedral and went to his own quarters, and the prelates entered the patriarchal chamber to await their invitation to the table of the tsar. Decorated sleighs drawn by grey steeds wearing gold trappings were sent to deliver the patriarchs to dinner. Orthodox prelates and all the offi- cials of the Russian state followed the sleighs. The tsar himself proceeded to greet the patriarchs in their sleigh and accepted a blessing from them.
Dinner was held at the Golden Chamber. Among the guests were delegates from Trans-Caucasian Georgia, who were visiting Moscow to deliver a petition to the tsar to accept Georgia under the protectorate of Russia. The gala was as grand as could be managed; the Greeks were struck by the opulent utensils and tableware. The goblets were filled with fine European wines. Nothing of silver or brass was on the table; everything was made of gold: dishes, goblets, glasses, bowls, candlesticks; all out of gold. During the dinner, a choir sang spiritual hymns.
Next, Patr. Job was led on a short excursion through the city on a donkey, taking with him a cross and holy water, in a ceremony that included the archi- mandrites, abbots, noblemen and regular citizens. Prince P. S. Lobanov-Ros- tovski, the tsar’s courtier, and A. V. Plescheev, an official of the tsar, led the donkey. The entourage left the Kremlin and traveled toward Kitai Gorod (Oriental Quarter), and then to the Florovski Bridge. At the bridge, the new patriarch descended from his donkey and, standing on a special dais, read a tra- ditional prayer for the prosperity of the city, king and state. He raised the cross and sprinkled holy water on the area. With the bells of the Kremlin ringing in the background, the procession headed back. Boris Godunov and several noblemen greeted the entourage at the Granite Palace, and all of them entered the dining area.
After dinner, they drank toasts in honor of the Immaculate Virgin, in memory of Metr. Peter, for the health of the Tsar and Tsaritza, and for the newly- ordained patriarch. At the conclusion of the dinner, the tsar presented gifts to the patriarchs and Greek emissaries, and then accompanied the patriarchs to their sleigh. It was winter, and already dark; servants with torches escorted the patriarchs to their residences. That evening Patr. Jeremiah, Metr. Jerofius and archimandrite Arsenius received from Job the first invitation to confer with him the following day. Only now, after the ordination, would they meet unofficially with the new patriarch. It became apparent to Jeremiah, if it was not already, that all the groundwork leading up to and orchestrating this ordination had been the effort of imperial authority.
Patr. Job performed liturgy at the Chapel of the Solovetski Miracle-Workers on January 27, while Patr. Jeremiah listened to the mass from the yard at his residence. Later, a delegation with three prelates at its head arrived for Jer- emiah, Jerofius, and Arsenius. In front of Job’s palace they performed three cere- monial greetings. Crowds of Russian noblemen, standing on the staircase and in the hallways, were brought to impress the three honored religious dignitaries. Patr. Job greeted them at their sleigh at the entrance. At this first personal meeting of the patriarchs, the question arose as to who was to bless whom first. The ecumenical patriarch Jeremiah, softened by the charity of the tsar, and sensing himself the guest of the hospitable Job, felt the need to condescend and cede his preeminence. Job stepped forward nonetheless and asked for a blessing, saying, “You are my great lord and elder and father. From you did I receive the blessing and ordination for the patriarchate and now it is proper for you to bless me.”
But Patr. Jeremiah rejected the offer in the politest terms, saying, “There is only one pious king under all heaven, and it is God who determines our future. It is an honor for the ecumenical patriarch to be here, while in Constantinople, the Christian religion is being expelled by infidel Turks as a result of our sin.” (The “one pious king” pertained to the Tsar of Russia, as the cathedras of the other Easter Patriarchs were under the occupation of Islam.) But Patr. Job held fast to his position and Patr. Jeremiah blessed him first. The two of them then kissed. Jeremiah, however, insisted that at least Job enter the chamber ahead of him.
In the chamber, each patriarch again greeted the other. Jeremiah gave a short speech, saying (according to the Russian account), “Behold how the Lord God has illumined the Russian kingdom for its clean life, for its prayer, for its great charity, and for the prayer of the pious sovereign — the tsar and grand prince — Feodor Ivanovich, the autocrat of all Russia, who has created the patri- archate in the Cathedral and Apostolic Church of the honorable and glorious Assumption of the Immaculate Theotokos, where the great Russian miracle- workers Peter, Aleksei and Jonah also ministered. And there is only one pious king everywhere under heaven, and we greet the Creator with warm faith, and [greet] the parishioners, and the poor who have a kind heart absent of guile and have respect for goodness, and [greet] the armies and the entirety of Orthodox Christianity.” After a hymn sung by the choir wishing the patriarchs longevity, Pr. Lobanov-Rostovski appeared on behalf of the tsar with an invitation to enter the palace to perform an additional blessing. Tsar Feodor again met the patriarchs, and an assembly of Orthodox prelates, in the Golden Chamber. Job presented the tsar a gift of gratitude — an image of the Blessed Virgin encased in a gold frame.
From the palace, the tsar led the patriarchs, prelates and noblemen through the hallway and courtyard to the women’s quarters, to visit the Tsaritza Irina Feodorevna, wife of Tsar Feodor and sister of Boris Godunov. Arriving in the first room, they were asked to wait. When the gold door opened into the main hall, only the tsar, two patriarchs, two Greek prelates, and Boris Godunov were invited to enter. There sat the Tsaritza upon a throne, attired in blinding elegance, surrounded by a crowd of ladies-in-waiting. The beauty of the tsaritza and the elegance of her appearance dumbfounded the Greek guests. Metr. Ars- enius, an observer, recorded that even a fraction of her adornment would be suf- ficient to adorn ten kings. The Tsaritza descended from her throne, accepted a blessing from both patriarchs, and then thanked Patr. Jeremiah for his effort to visit Russia, which, in her own words, “has embellished the Russian Church greatly, and now the glory of the Russian realm has increased in all the world, with the dignity of its metropolitan now raised to the cathedra of the patriarch. For a long while Russian princes have wished this, and they have now attained their goal with the arrival of the ecumenical patriarch.” Tsaritza Irina then brought each of her ladies-in-waiting to be blessed by Patr. Jeremiah, while each presented him an embroidered handkerchief or a small towel as a gift. Patr. Job presented the tsaritza with his own gifts, and she in return presented gifts to him, Patr. Jeremiah and the Greek prelates. In conclusion, Tsaritza Irina requested them to pray fervently on her behalf, to heal her of her inability to con- ceive, and to allow her to give birth to an heir. (The royal couple later had a daughter.)
Returning to the palace, they all sat at table by rank. Choirs of girls sang during the meal. After dinner, Patr. Job presented gifts to Patr. Jeremiah and his traveling companions, and accompanied them to the hall and to the door of the chamber. At the steps, the Greek guests were given leftovers from dinner to take back to their residence with them, including wine and candy.
Patr. Job spent Tuesday, January 28, receiving congratulatory messages from the civil community of Moscow: noblemen, princes, civil servants, foreign guests and business people, all with symbolic bread and salt and other gifts. On Wednesday, the following day, secretaries of the tsar and Job arrived in the morning at the Riazanski Palace, the residence of Jeremiah and his retinue, bringing food from the ceremonial dinner of earlier days for his breakfast. A donkey was delivered to take Job on another ceremonial tour of Moscow. After Job performed a liturgy at Uspenski Cathedral, he held a dinner at his residence for his clergy and for the noblemen’s sons, officials and guests. After the three o’clock dinner, Job rode on the donkey to parts of the city not previously toured. The donkey was led by Boris Godunov, and then by the tsar’s official, Pr. Lobanov-Rostovski.
On Thursday, January 30, Patr. Job ordained Aleksandr as metropolitan of Novgorod, and on the following day Varlaam as metropolitan of Rostov. On February 1, Patr. Jeremiah asked permission to visit Troitse-Sergievski Monastery. There he was honorably welcomed, and the monastery residents pre- sented him with lavish gifts. Thus concluded the days of festivity in Moscow, which were days of bitterness for the Greek retinue of Patr. Jeremiah — especially for his friend, Metr. Jerofius of Monembasi. He was sickened to watch Jeremiah being “wrapped around the finger of the Moscovites,” — as he related in his memoirs — enticed by them into this inescapable transaction which was in violation of Orthodox canon. Jerofius saw it as an unlawful magnification of Moscow by Patr. Jeremiah, with the humiliation of his own vocation as ecumenical patriarch and the humiliation of all Greeks in general. Jerofius’ attitude would also surface later in Greek opposition to the concessions of Patr. Jeremiah.
With the approach of Lent, Patr. Jeremiah began to ask leave to return home. Boris Godunov came to the palace of the patriarch to discuss this matter with him, and suggested he stay on in Moscow for several reasons. First, spring travel through Russia was difficult, as the thawing snow made the roads muddy and often impassable; second, Moscow’s prelates wanted from Jeremiah a docu- mented letter, confirming his performance of the rite of ordination of a Russian patriarch. The normal procedure would have been conducted in the opposite sequence: the act of ordination of the Russian patriarch should have been com- posed prior to its performance, and signed by the respective parties immediately after. But because of the haste with which this ordination had proceeded — after years of waiting — the Russian clergy had not prepared such a document earlier. Under the circumstances, they could not permit Patr. Jeremiah to depart until such a document was created and signed, especially since this document would also require the signatures of the other patriarchs of the Eastern church. Oth- erwise, Patr. Jeremiah could easily capitulate to pressure from the Greek oppo- sition and recant, voiding the entire maneuver.
In the following weeks, a program of exalting and augmenting the Russian hierarchy was executed. In addition to the two metropolitans first ordained by the new Patr. Job, two more were ordained: Gelasie of Krutitzk — a suburb of Moscow — to assist the patriarch in Moscow in his duties, and Hermogen of Kazan, previously archimandrite of the Preobrazhenski (Transfiguration) Mon- astery in Kazan (he later became patriarch). Patr. Job also ordained six arch- bishops, for Tver, Vologda, Suzdal, Nizhni-Novgorod, Riazan and Smolensk; and eight bishops, for Chernigov, Kolomna, Pskov, Bel-Ozersk, Ustyug, Rzhev, Dmitov and Bryansk.
All these constitutional changes in the Russian Church had to be confirmed in a constituent act or statute applied to the constitution, or in a judicial decree, according to the terminology of the era. It was composed by the state chancellery, but it was arranged in a special format to give the appearance that it had been composed by a council. The decree was written on a large sheet of parchment, with its heading and the initial letters of the text in gold. Its content, however, was not in accordance with the facts; rather, it anticipated them and sought to create them. It stated that the institution of the Russian patriarchate was accomplished with the consensus of the entire Eastern Church, declaring, “According to the will of his royal highness (referring to Tsar Feodor) and in agreement with the counsel of the entire ecclesiastical assembly of great Russia, and the Greek kingdom, and the selection in agreement with Patr. Jeremiah of Constantinople himself, and the other ecumenical patriarchs — of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem — and the entire Greek council, according to the divine canons of the apostles and divine fathers.” The content of the statute attributed to Patr. Jeremiah the purely Russian ideological motive for the institution of the patriarchate, namely, to establish Moscow as the third Rome. In this document, Patr. Jeremiah seemingly replies to the tsar’s proposition regarding a Russian patriarchate with the words, “The Holy Spirit abides in you, pious tsar, and as a result of your benevolence, your proposition will materialize. Right and true is this conception of your nobility, while it is the duty of our humility, and the entirety of the ecclesiastical assembly, to perform this magnificent work. Since ancient Rome fell as a result of the Apollinarian heresy, while the second Rome — Constantinople — is in possession of infidel Turks, your great Russian realm.
O pious Tsar, as the third Rome, has exceeded the piety of all former kingdoms. They are absorbed into your kingdom, and in all the world, you alone possess the appellation of Christian king. For this reason, this great work will be accom- plished by God’s providence, by the prayers of the miracle-workers of Russia, and due to your royal request of God, and your counsel.” This Russian version of the words of Patr. Jeremiah is not entirely without justification; it was compiled from excerpts of several welcome speeches, congratulatory statements and com- pliments which Patr. Jeremiah had made over the several months of his sojourn in Moscow. The subsequent paragraph of the decree authorized the installation of suc- ceeding patriarchs by the consensus of a council of Russian prelates, with confir- mation by the tsar, and the Russian patriarch’s ability to ordain metropolitans, and create new dioceses. Beneath the text of the decree was the tsar’s seal, but not his signature.
Following it were the signatures and seals of both Patr. Jeremiah and Patr. Job, and then the signatures of several metropolitans and archbishops of Russia, along with a few archimandrites, abbots and venerated elders; 32 signatures in all. Two Greek prelates also signed the document: Archbishop Arsenius and Archimandrite Christofor. The only opposition came from Jerofius of Monemvasi. He knew the document was generated by the imperial chancellery and not by any council of prelates; and he demanded a copy to review at his leisure. Furthermore, Jerofius apparently could not read Russian himself; a translation was provided, albeit biased toward the Russians, of course. For a long while Jerofius would not sub- scribe to the document, fearing that it would create a schism between Russian Orthodoxy and the rest of Greek Orthodoxy. Neither did Jerofius find any appeal in designating Moscow as the third Rome. Noting that the document indicated that Moscow now considered itself the head of Orthodoxy, and wanted to ascend to the cathedra of the ecumenical patriarchate and develop its sacerdotal realm into a Russian papacy, Jerofius stood firm on the concept that Constanti- nople was the ecumenical patriarchate. Tsar Feodor grew tired of his obstinate abstinence — or perhaps his brother-in-law did — and police officers were sent to threaten him. Eventually, Jerofius signed the document, but only out of fear of reprisal: being drowned in the Moscow River. Finally, he was allowed to leave for home.
Prior to their departure, Tsar Feodor jubilantly received Patr. Jeremiah and his retinue at his palace once again. The tsar attempted to assuage Patr. Jer- emiah’s bitterness by another show of generosity. He took the patriarch by the hand, ascended his throne, and sat him next to himself. More gifts were showered upon the patriarch and his retinue: gold and silver goblets, fine cloth, overcoats of the Russian style, and money. The patriarch was personally gifted an elaborate miter adorned with pearls and jewels, having on it the three images of Jesus, Mary and John the Baptist together on the lower front, and the cruci- fixi o n on the upper front, w i th images of various saints all around. An inscription embroidered in pearls around the bottom read, “From the Tsar to the Patriarch.” Metr. Arsenius seized the moment to secure his career for the future; he knelt before the tsar and asked to be allowed to remain in Russia for ever. The tsar granted Arsenius his request, and he lived out the balance of his life in com- fortable circumstances as a Russian archbishop. Some suspicion remains whether Metr. Arsenius remained in Moscow to keep Constantinople informed of activities in Russian Orthodoxy. Jerofius had expressed the fear that Moscow might expand its authority, and ascend to become ecumenical patriarchate in lieu of Constantinople.
In May 1689, the Greeks departed Moscow, escorted by imperial guards; food was prepared in advanced and was made available to them at regular intervals. The Smolensk regiment, for example, was ordered to prepare eighty buckets of honey along with other prepared food for the guests just before they crossed the border out of Russia at Orsha on the Dnepr River (in present-day Belarus). Arriving at Orsha, the entourage was greeted by a final courier from the tsar, bearing one more parting gift — 1,000 rubles in hard money, a donation to help the patriarch reestablish his patriarchate at Constantinople. Patr. Jeremiah also received letters from Tsar Feodor and Boris Godunov, which he had earlier requested, along with a letter from the tsar addressed to the Turkish Sultan Murad. Boris Godunov asked Patr. Jeremiah to keep him informed of political events in Poland and Turkey. Jeremiah wrote back, using the same courier, thanking the tsar for his charity and promising his full effort to liberate the Eastern Church from the infidel Turks. Jeremiah and his entourage had resided in Russia the entirety of a year. But all this investment still did not guarantee that Eastern Orthodoxy would fulfill Moscow’s will. Many worries and many more “donations” lay ahead before Moscow could acquire a consensus of all the Eastern patriarchs for a Russian patriarchate. Jeremiah was detained in Poland for several months due to turbulent affairs in the Orthodox Church there, no doubt relating to the Uniate problem. From Poland, Patr. Jeremiah traveled to Moldova, which he visited for some time. Only by the spring of 1590 did Jeremiah finally arrive in Constanti- nople, and in May of that year he summoned an ecclesiastical council to discuss the Russian matter.
Present at this council were Patr. Joachim of Antioch and Patr. Sofronius of Jerusalem. Patr. Sylvester of Alexandria became ill and died just as the council was to convene. The prelate responsible for Alexandria during the interval was Meletius Pigas, and he expressed his disapproval by boycotting the council. Patr. Jeremiah took advantage of the vacancy of the Alexandrian patriarchate by a d ve rtising his council as re pr ese n ti ng th e entire hierarch y of Eastern Orthodoxy. According to the record of the proceedings, Jeremiah related the brilliance of Moscow, the tsar’s piety, and the generosity and welcome that was provided to himself, and to his fellow patriarchs and bishops. Finally, he pre- sented Tsar Feodor Ivanovich’s petition to the council and explained the tsar’s desire to have a Russian patriarchate established, noting that, “At present, he is the only great Orthodox sovereign on earth, and it would be inappropriate not to implement his will.” Patr. Jeremiah related Metr. Job’s ordination as patriarch, and his own subscription to the constitutional decree of a Russian patriarchate. Now, Jeremiah requested their approval of his actions.
The patriarchs, having heard of his noteworthy actions, recognized the matter as benevolent and gracious. They agreed to the following items. First, they recognized the validity of Patr. Jeremiah’s ordination of Metr. Job as patriarch of Russia, and accepted that Job would be included along with them in the list of patriarchs of the Eastern church, and that his name would follow after the patriarch of Jerusalem in prayers recited, that is, he would be fifth (last). But they made the point that the new patriarch of Moscow should also recognize, just as did the other patriarchs, the supremacy of the cathedra of Constanti- nople. Second, the appellation of patriarch and the honor attending the cathedra would apply not only to Patr. Job but also to his successors, as long as they were ordained according to canon by a council of Russian prelates. A decree reflecting the decisions of the patriarchs at this council was composed, and signed by the three present: Jeremiah of Constantinople, Sofronius of Jerusalem, and Joachim of Antioch, along with forty-two metropolitans, nineteen archbishops and twenty bishops also present at the council.
Dionysius, Greek metropolitan of Trnov, was delegated by the council to travel to Moscow to inform them of the decision of the patriarchs and the council proceedings. Dionysius was very representative of the Greek point of view, and along his way he was to acquire signatures from diocesan bishops in Bulgaria and Moldova. But Dionysius found out that the Moscovites were not about to lose any time. As soon as he reached Smolensk on May 9, 1591, he entrusted his letter for the tsar to the imperial military commanders who were waiting there. As soon as the news of Metr. Dionysius’ arrival at Smolensk reached Moscow, the tsar’s secretar y, Protopopov, was dispatched to accompany Dionysius to Moscow and to debrief him along the road, inquiring who had attended the council, whether they had prayed for the welfare of the tsar, whether they mentioned the name of Patr. Job in their prayers. He also asked if the Turkish sultan was informed, and if so, what was his reaction. In short, Russians discarded diplomacy in favor of political expedience; and the answers Protopopov got were less than what Moscow had been looking for. Under the circumstances, Moscow still extended a ceremonial welcome to these latest Greek guests, although very cold in comparison to their prede- cessors. A delegation on behalf of Patr. Job met Metr. Dionysius upon his entrance into the city, and a formal welcome on behalf of Patr. Job was recited by an archimandrite and protopope. On May 28 the Greek delegates were taken to Novgorod, to a residence at Ilyinski Crossing, and were held there without any official communication until June 20. That day, they were finally received by Tsar Feodor. Metr. Dionysius delivered the decree to the tsar, along with gifts from the council of patriarchs: relics of saints, and regal gold ornaments for both Tsar Feodor and Tsaritza Irina. The tsar invited Metr. Dionysius to be seated next to him, but said nothing to him the whole while. Afterwards, the tsar sent the guests back to their residence, and had dinner sent in to them as had been done since their arrival.
This cold attitude toward Dionysius continued after the initial meeting. It was prolonged until August 1, when the tsar finally issued an order for Dionysius to meet with the patriarch in Moscow. Patr. Job was at Uspenski Cathedral, in full sacerdotal attire, ready to leave for the sanctification of the water at the Moscow River. Horses were sent for Dionysius and for Bishop Kallistrat, who accompanied him; the archimandrites walked behind. At Uspenski Cathedral, after kissing icons and vaults containing relics of Russian saints, Dionysius was led to the patriarch. He accepted a blessing from Patr. Job, gave him his greeting and handed to him the letter from Patr. Jeremiah and the council proceedings. The patriarchs wrote to Job, “We always recognize you as brother as well as all your successors as the 5th patriarch following Jerusalem, and you will be mentioned in the prayers of our priests just as we also mention each other in prayer.” Patr. Job, accepting the document, invited Dionysius and Kallistrat to par- ticipate in a procession of the cross and then to listen to mass, but they were not invited to dinner, although a meal was delivered to their residence. The Greeks realized that they could only gain the honor of performing rites along with the patriarch after presenting a special petition. They requested the tsar’s per- mission to participate in the liturgy on the Holiday of Assumption, which request was granted. Only after this liturgy were they finally invited to eat at Patr. Job’s table. Again, there was no discussion regarding the council pro- ceedings, and the opportunity to raise the question of a charitable contribution from the tsar and the patriarch of Russia never arose, either. Dionysius was forced to postpone his request for donations. He waited another one and a half months. Finally, realizing that there would never be an opportune moment, and not able to prolong his silence on the matter any more, on October 2, 1591
Dionysius announced that he had in his possession another letter, this one for Boris Godunov, and Dionysius requested a personal audience with him. On October 5, Godunov sent Dionysius a translator, along with horses and an invitation to meet with him. Godunov welcomed the Greek guest honorably, and Dionysius returned the welcome and handed to him two letters: one from Patr. Jeremiah and the other from the council of patriarchs. The letter from the council repeated the essential items of the initial letter given to Patr. Job, but included a rather flattering statement that the Russian patriarchate was insti- tuted as much to his — Godunov’s — desire, as much as to the tsar’s. In his letter Patr. Jeremiah requested 6,000 pieces of gold from the tsar to assist in reconstructing the patriarchate of Constantinople and, as Godunov understood the letter, a building or church wing would be named after or dedicated to him. Dionysius then, on behalf of Patr. Jeremiah, presented Godunov with relics of the great martyr Pantaleon1, and on his own behalf, he presented Godunov two gilt atlases (or, perhaps, maps) a sword made of Damascus steel, and two precious bowls. Godunov accepted the relics but turned down the gifts, telling Dionysius that it was improper for him to personally accept such gestures (knowing per- fectly well they were bribes). Dionysius, however, persisted, and stated that he would be very offended if Godunov should refuse. Finally, Godunov accepted only the two bowls but declined the rest. He thanked Metr. Dionysius for coming, and said that he had many state matters to take care of, and appreciated his visit. The farewell — much like the greeting — was very cold.
On October 7, Dionysius received an invitation to visit Troitse-Sergievski Monastery. The message included a note stating that he would be honorably received, just as the patriarch of Antioch was on his visit, and would be given gifts. Metr. Dionysius divined from this message that Moscow was not especially impressed by the news that he brought them, and that the Russian prelates no ne th el es s fel t it w ou l d be ad van ta geo u s for th em t o tr y t o u se h i m in improving Moscow’s place on the list of Eastern Patriarchs, from the last to the third position. This attempt to manipulate Metr. Dionysius was moot. The new patriarch of Alexandria, Meletius Pigus, did not recognize Patr. Jeremiah’s action as canonical, believing that he was coerced into ordaining Job during his visit. Patr. Meletius likewise did not recognize the council of patriarchs of 1590 that vali- dated the ordination performed by Jeremiah, since the patriarchate of Alexandria was not represented. Meletius, after his ordination as patriarch, stated in a letter sent to Patr. Jeremiah that a delegate representing Alexandria would have voted against the amendment. The ordination performed by Patr. Jeremiah was a grave error as far as Patr. Meletius was concerned, because it was done prior to acquiring a consensus of the patriarchs. Meletius advised Jeremiah to retract his act of ordination, and to repeal the decision made by the council of 1590. In Moscow, the tsar and Orthodox prelates decided to press forward to gain the prestigious third rung on the Eastern patriarchal ladder, using whatever means were available to summon another council. This time, all the patriarchs would have to be present. A letter was dispatched to Patr. Jeremiah, signed by the tsar and Russian Orthodox prelates, stating that it was Moscow’s right to have the third position and not the last. The letter was given to Metr. Dionysius, who was also informed that Moscow would be willing to contribute the funds requested by Constantinople if the decision was made in Moscow’s favor.
At a farewell dinner held on December 2 at the palace, Dionysius sat at table with Tsar Feodor and Tsaritza Irina. After dinner, gifts were given to Dionysius and his entourage from the tsar and his wife. Dionysius was honorably welcomed December 19, 1591, at Chudovski Monastery, while January 12, 1592, Dionysius was ordered by Tsar Feodor to visit with Patr. Job. After the formal welcome, Dionysius proposed to Job that he should have a special representative on his behalf present at any future council of patriarchs, someone who would defend the interests of the Russian patriarchate. Because of the distance between Moscow and Constantinople, and the difficulty of travel, Job was advised to select a Greek prelate. Job replied that he would discuss the matter with the tsar and an ecclesiastical council, and then respond to the proposition. Job then blessed Dionysius, using his panegia, and dismissed him.
Metr. Dionysius departed Moscow on February 18, 1592, after almost nine months in Russia. Before he crossed the border, a courier caught up to Dionysius and delivered more gifts and letters from the tsar. The gifts for Patr. Jeremiah were many, and costly: an omophorium with pearls woven into it, a gold bowl for holy water, a towel interwoven with small pearls, a large quantity of sable and marten, dozens of ermine stretched over a board, and 500 pounds of walrus tusk. The value of these gifts, if sold in Europe, would have amounted in excess of 6,000 gold coins. Gifts were also included for the patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem: a prelate’s liturgical miter, a gold bowl for holy water, towels interwoven with small pearls and a large quantity of furs. Patr. Job, in his letter to Patr. Jeremiah, asked him to accept the gifts and informed him that a council of Russian prelates had decided to mention in prayer the patriarch of Moscow in the third position, after the patriarchs of Constanti- nople and Alexandria. Interestingly, though, another letter was included, this one from Tsar Feodor to Patr. Jeremiah, in which the tsar reminded the patriarch that during the Job’s ordination as patriarch, it seemed that Jeremiah, along with the consensus of a council of Russian prelates, agreed to recognize the new patri- archate as having the third place. It is difficult to ascertain the validity of the tsar’s statement, and it can be debated. Perhaps Patr. Jeremiah did promise such a thing while under duress, but he either did not mention that conversation or did not remember it during the council of patriarchs of 1590. The patriarchs could not understand why Moscow took this issue so seriously; for them, it was obvious protocol for Moscow to be added at the conclusion of the list of patri- archs. The debate almost seemed infantile. There were also letters from the tsar to the other patriarchs. In his letter to Patr. Meletius of Alexandria, the tsar asked that he agree with the decision of the other patriarchs, and that he confirm the ordination of Patr. Job, and the institution of a Russian patriarchate, in writing, in a letter back to the tsar.
Patr. Meletius, having sensed by now the importance of Russian Orthodoxy, and now well informed of the pressure from Unia on Orthodoxy in Poland, resolved his dissatisfaction with Patr. Jeremiah and decided to recognize the Russian patriarchate. Meletius now intended to travel to Constantinople and summon a council of all the patriarchs. There was also a political agenda: Meletius, having delivered the waning Hellenic approach to enlightenment from its capture by Catholicism and Unia, was fervent in his hopes of confirming it on the material base of the wealthy and pious Moscow, using the Orthodox Russian Empire as his defense. He wrote to Tsar Feodor to suggest he institute centers of Hellenic education and scholarship in Russia. Immediately, Moscow sent gen- erous gifts to the patriarchal centers. Following behind Metr. Dionysius was the tsar’s secretary, Grigori Afanasyevich Naschokin, a special emissary who delivered a considerable donation and who sought to implement a clandestine plan to use his personal influence on the Eastern patriarchs.
In December of 1592, another emissary, Ivan Koschurin, departed Moscow with donations for Mt Athos and Constantinople. In January, a new delegation headed by secretary Mikhail Ogarkov, along with the famous Moscovite pilgrim Trifon Korobeynikov, set out with a substantial contribution. The destitute Eastern Orthodox leaders were meant to finally recognize with whom they were dealing. The tsar ordered the latest delegation to “travel with imperial charity to Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem and Mt Sinai, and distribute imperial charity to patriarchs and metropolitans and archbishops and to monasteries, and in these areas, and also deliver some into the hands of the needy.” Money sent with the delegation was equivalent to 5,564 Hungarian gold coins, and there was included a vast quantity of sable, fox, ermine, rabbit and marten furs. Secretary Koschurin was also entrusted to withdraw from the imperial treasury 600 Hun- garian gold coins while in Constantinople, and distribute them according to his discretion to Orthodox prelates, and also to laymen, churches, the destitute and the incarcerated. A river of such generosity flowed all around those who comprised the new ecclesiastical council summoned by Patr. Meletius, the most edu- cated of all the patriarchs. The council began in Constantinople on February 12, 1593. Its proceedings and acts were considered “great” and “all-conclusive” in comparison to the pre- vious council. Secretary Naschokin attended the council as representative of the tsar. Patr. Meletius conducted the council and recorded its proceedings. For all practical purposes, he affirmed the proceedings of the earlier councils regarding the establishment of a Russian patriarchate according to canon law, and now with a consensus of all the Eastern Orthodox patriarchs. However, Meletius also confirmed the order of the patriarchs, the newest to be placed at the end, in accordance with other Church canons. Patr. Meletius was unswayed by the donations offered by Moscow, and held firm to church canons on this issue. This would be a bitter pill for Moscow to swallow. A copy of the proceedings was entrusted to Naschokin, and letters were written personally by Patr. Meletius to Tsar Feodor and Tsaritza Irina, Patr. Job, and Boris Godunov, which were given to him to deliver. Archimandrite Neofit (a nephew of Patr. Meletius) and John the Reader were delegated to accompany Naschokin on his return trip.
Moscow’s attitude toward Patr. Meletius was insolent and malicious. They originally mistook him for an easily manipulated rube, but they soon found out he was up to their tricks. Gifts sent with delegates were refused. Moscow was so irritated that relatives of Patr. Meletius, including his nephew Neofit, who were residing in Moscow, were accused of spying and were incarcerated. Meletius had to write to the tsar to plead for their release. The letter reached Moscow three years later, and only John the Reader was let go. When he returned to Constantinople, all he brought with him were debts that Moscow felt he owed them.
Moscow was irreconcilable, and the council proceedings of 1593 were ignored. The clergy ceased discussing it, and the issue eventually passed into oblivion. The Russian hierarchy resolved to stand firm on its own edict and con- sidered itself as possessing third rung on the ladder. In a later letter addressed to Tsar Feodor, Patr. Job stated that during the institution of the patriarchate Moscow had been assigned third position and as far as Russian Orthodox prelates were concerned, there was nothing more to be debated. In summary, with the institution of its own native patriarch Russian Orthodoxy did gain autonomy from and equality with the other Eastern patri- archates, which it had sought, but it did not gain the pre-eminence it hoped for. Historian Metr. Makari (Bulgakov) concludes that the creation of a Russian patriarchate did not increase the real authority of the Russian supreme cathedra. Essentially, the patriarch possessed the same authority as, and conducted his church in the same manner as, the other metropolitans of the 16th century.