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Russia Engages the World, 1453-1825
1453 Through the Reign of Ivan the Terrible (1533-1584) The Time of Troubles to the First Romanovs (1598-1682) Peter the Great and His Legacy (1682-1762) The Age of Catherine the Great (1762-1801) The Reign of Emperor Alexander I (1801-1825)


Explore this Section:

Russia Symbol Moscow, the Third Rome
Russia Symbol The Boyars During Ivan IV’s Boyhood
Special Features

Russia's Globalization:
A Key

Events marked Russia Symbol are specific to Muscovy/Russia's internal development.
Those marked World Symbol are important world historical or cultural events.
Engagement Symbol indicates specific points of sociocultural or military engagement between Muscovy/Russia and foreign powers or individuals.



 Russia Symbol    Moscow, the Third Rome

Russia Symbol Russian Manuscript Illumination
  Russian Manuscript Illumination
NYPL, Spencer Collection

According to the belief of the Orthodox Church, Constantinople (Tsargrad) was the center of the only true form of Christianity, since Rome had become the seat of “Latin heretics.” However, in 1453, the Ottoman Turks captured the “second Rome” and transformed the city into an Islamic capital. Twenty-seven years later, the Russians finally stopped paying tribute to the Mongolians, who had dominated Russia for nearly 250 years. Muscovy thus became the only independent Orthodox state in the world. Churchmen rushed to enhance the significance of Moscow, the “third Rome,” and of its rulers, the tsars. In 1510, a monk from Pskov, Philotheus (Filofei) (fl. 16th century), enunciated the classic statement of the doctrine: "All Christian realms will come to an end and will unite into the one single realm of our sovereign, that is, into the Russian realm, according to the prophetic books. Both Romes fell, the third endures, and a fourth there will never be." This myth was elaborated to describe Russian Christendom as the culminating chapter in the sacred history of the world and to claim that God had chosen Moscow and its rulers to guide the destiny of Orthodoxy. The doctrine also elevated the Russian tsar to a position of both spiritual and secular preeminence.