The third Rome

In the first part of the sixteenth century, an elder of one of the monasteries in Pskov, a monk called Philotheus, formulated this widely held conviction. He wrote to the Moscow Prince: ‘The Church of old Rome fell for its heresy; the gates of the second Rome, Constantinople, were hewn down by the axes of the infidel Turks; but the Church of Moscow, the Church of the new Rome, shines brighter than the sun in the whole universe. Know, then, pious Prince, that all the realms which hold fast to the Orthodox Christian faith are now gathered together in thy dominion. Thou art the one universal Sovereign of all Christian folk; thou shouldest hold the reins in awe of God; fear Him who hath committed them to thee. Two Romes are fallen, but the third stands fast; a fourth there cannot be. Thy Christian kingdom shall not be given to another.’


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