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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Enthronment in the Russian and Byzantine Traditions

P. 153-174.
Translator: M. C. Levitt.

After the fall of Byzantium a restoration of the Byzantine Empire was enacted in the Muscovite state.  Thus originated the tsardom of Muscovy, which subsequently became the Russian Empire.  This tsardom was modelled as a theocratic one: Moscow was conceived as the New Constantinople and the Third Rome. In conformity with this conception, there appeared in Moscow, as in a New Constantinople, a tsar, that is, basileus or emperor (the Byzantine emperor was called “tsar” in Russia) and subsequently a patriarch. Clearly it was stipulated by the orientation towards Byzantium; however Byzantium had been long gone by that time. What is more, long after the fall of Byzantium, contacts between Moscow and Constantinople remained severed.  Thus the Russians modelled themselves not on a tradition that actually existed, but on a certain notion of theocratic state in which ideology played a far greater role than real facts. This is especially evident in the rite of enthronement and royal anointment: the Russian rite differs drastically from the Byzantine one. The special Russian custom of royal anointment contributed to the idea of sacralization of the tsar.

In book

Enthronment in the Russian and Byzantine Traditions
Uspensky B. A., Zhivov V. M. Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2012.