3(10), май-июнь 2001
„New Constantinople”: Byzantine Traditions in Muscovite Rus’ in the 16th Century
The subject of this paper is the problem of relations between Rus’ and the
Balkans in the 16th century which is still the one of the least discussed
questions of Orthodox art. Scholars usually assumed that canonical models of
icon painting reached Rus’ from Serbia and Bulgaria from the 11th century1. But
if there is not much doubt that Balkans were „the christian world” for Rus’,
the scarceness of sources illustrating the manner of their effects on the visual
culture of the eastern Slavs is much more striking. However, in effect, this
situation is typical while even the most famous Greek master who was working in
Rus’, Theophanes the Greek, left only one surviving wall-painting, and
information about him in Epifanij the Wise’s letter to Cyril of Tver cannot be
verified in the present state of research. On the other hand, the sources of the
most „cosmopolitan” Russian city, Novgorod, preserved only three names of
the Greek painters who were working there2.
The problem of Greek and Balkan influence concerns also the process of
changes in the canon of icon painting which finally brought about a
transformation of its principles. It raises questions about the origins of „new”
iconographical subjects and the beginning of the growth of „new” Russian
icon painting in the second half of the 16th century. Another one is the role of
Greek and Balkan artists in its creation. But the most interesting problem, in
effect, is the Russian clergy’s attitude towards Byzantine and post-Byzantine
heritage and the possibility of its impact on icons in the 16th century.
G. Florovskij wrote about Russian „intellectual silence” in the Kievan
period. It was, Florovskij said, a result of comprehensive adaptation of
religious and cultural models from Constantinople and the Balkans since the time
of the official adoption of Christianity3. However beginning from the second half
of the 15th century religious reflections began to be more individual, but
neverthless they still kept the same ecclesiastical patterns which were
understood as the one correct expression of Orthodox faith. There is no question
but that familiarity with patristic and Byzantine literatures, as the Russians
could gain access to them, was the main impulse of the growth of „the Russian
theology of the icon”. Russian writers obtained their knowledge of Orthodox
doctrine indirectly from their „Greek masters”. As a result of that, their
literary canon contained not only the Bible and the Church Fathers but also
texts from the middle and the late Byzantine periods. What is more, their
authorities were supposed to be equal because all of them were considered to be
an expression of the same tradition, so they were often used interchangeably. On
the other hand, the knowledge of Greek among Russian elites was very imperfect
and, although the use of Greek was highly estimated by them, it never became an
element of „religious education”. As a result the principle role in
disseminating Orthodox literature was naturally taken by translations4.
Most of these reached Rus’ during the 14th century because of the southern
Slavs. The books often came from Moldavia where refugees from the Balkans were
gathering in the second half of the century. However there were still big
centres of Slavonic contacts in the monasteries of Constantinople, Thessalonica
and Mt. Athos which were also the main centres of the hesychast movement at that
time5. In the Monastery of Studios and monasteries of Mt. Athos theological
manuscripts were translated and copied, frequently with the intention of sending
them to Rus’. But in fact only occasionally did Russian elites have the
possibility of becoming acquainted with the actual spiritual trends propagated
by the Church in Constantinople really rapidly. It did happen in the instance of
the hesychast writings about Uncreated Light and Divine Energies. They reached
Rus’ as early as the first half of the 14th century and the first reaction to
them was the Novgorod bishop’s „address” to Theodor, vladyka of
Tver (1347) relating to the controversy of a material or transcendental Paradise.
Shortly after the middle of the century the new hesychast Synodicon of
Orthodoxy of 1352 was known and read out in the Muscovite Church6.
One of the most important source of theological gnosis were, just
because of their dissemination, the sborniki composed of passages of the
Fathers’ writings. The greater part of their Slavonic versions from the 13th
to the 15th century included selections from the fragments of the works of Isaac
the Syrian, Abba Dorotheus, Simeon the New Theologian, John Climacus, Philotheus
Sinaites, Peter of Damascus and Gregory Sinaites. Therefore they were not
dogmatic but had moral and ascetic meaning. That was the most popular literature
which was reading both Athonite and Balkan monasteries. In the eastern Slavs’
area these texts took also an important part in in the creation of ascetic
writings, especially in Nil Sorski’s circle. On the grounds of saints’ lives
it is possible to say that among the monks’ favourite books were the writings
of Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, Ephraim the Syrian, Isaac the Syrian and
Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite7.
Corpus Areopagitum was translated into Slavonic very late, only in 1371
by the Serbian monk, Isaac, superior of the Panteleemon Monastery on Athos.
According to the Russian tradition the Corpus was imported by
metropolitan Kiprian, a refugee from Bulgaria (1381-1382, 1390-1406), but it
most certainly was known towards the end of the century8. Nevertheless knowledge
of them did not become common immediately and the shortage of manuscripts still
existed found even at the end of the 15th century. An increase in the
availability of those books began shortly after their inclusion in Makarij’s Četii-Minei
but even then they existed only in manuscript and this naturally reduced their
influence. But since the middle of the 16th century Pseudo-Dionysius became just
„a first theologian” in all the discussions about art. His name was always
mentioned in explanations of controversial subjects and his writings were used
usually in a rather free way9.
The use of Greek theological sources for Russian knižniki was
just the one of the aspects of „literary etiquette” of course10, but there is
no question that authors had access to the texts, as they were originally
written; rather they, just like the sborniki, delivered Byzantine
literature only as fragments. For example, some parts of The Address to the
Icon Painter indicate that Joseph Volotsky used the sbornik known as Patriarch
German’s Briefing to Recalcitrant Latins, including among others
quotations from the works of Athanasius the Great, Gregory the Theologian and
Pseudo-Dionysius11. The use of sources known only „at second hand” was
permissible and even indispensable because of the permanent lack of manuscripts.
What is more, the Slavonic translations which were used since the 14th century
often differed from the Greek originals. In consequence of that in the 16th and
the 17th centuries a number of conflicts and discussions broke out, especially
on the subject of icons. The Stoglav (Council of the Hundred Chapters) held in
1551 saw the problem stregthened the necessity of using „adequate translations”
by copysts and ordered church elders to examine „incorrect” books which had
to be amended12. Action however was hard and perhaps impossible to achieve just
because there were no Greek translators throughtout the country. In the 1510’s
and 1520’s they could come only from Mt. Athos. The surviving correspondence
of Basil III and the archimandrite of Vatopedi (1515) testifies that the prince
asked for the dispatch of a scholar who could correct books. But the statement
of the letopis about the admiration of Maximus the Greek for the Moscow
prince’s library should be considered only as an example of rhetoric and an
attempt to emphasise the splendour of the Muscovite court13.
The tragic vicissitudes of Maximus, his lawsuits and imprisonment made a
background for the change in the position of the Moscow hierarchy regarding the
Byzantine Church in the first half of the 16th century. Accusations against the
Greek scholar show the growing distrust of aliens from the South. One of the
charges concerned his supposed favour with the Turks, another his unsuitable
attitude towards the Russian prince and rejection of the bishops’ right to
elect the metropolitan without the approval of the Constantinople patriarch. The
list of objections ended with criticism of the Church’s possession of estates
and blasphemies against „Russian miracle-workers”14.
In the change of relation to the Byzantine heritage, the turning-point of
1453 has a rather symbolic meaning. The time of direct and properly documented
transformations of that relation came immediately after the middle of the 16th
century, in the reign of Ivan the Terrible. In his oration to Ivan on the day of
his coronation (1547), metropolitan Makarij put his hopes in the young tsar who
would humiliate „all barbarous languages”, begin just government and be the
guardian of the Church and of Orthodoxy. Instead the analysis of Makarij’s
opinions expressed at the time of the Kazan’ war (1552) suggests that in the
victory over „blasphemous Kazan’ Tartars” he saw an expectation of
regaining the important role lost by Byzantium in 1453, when, as Philotheus of
Pskov wrote, the Empire was profaned by „the progeny of Hagar”, who brought
shame upon the city15. In the first half of the 16th century in Russian
publications there are no statements poining at the fall of Byzantium as a
punishment for its „apostasy” from the rules of Orthodoxy in the days of the
Council of Florence. But the Stoglav condemned all ritual traditions other than
native ones as heretical (e.g. in the matter of crossing the fingers, a number
of proskynesis and singing „alleluia”) and presented them as being
more correct than Greek16.
Laying claim to be „the last Orthodox Empire in the world” Moscow would
become „New Constantinople” and „New Jerusalem”. According to the
sources Rus’ would be also „the new land”. Philotheus called the Muscovite
Church „the holy, apostolic and catholic Church of new Rome” which „at the
end of the world (...) shines because of its Orthodox christianity”. Ivan
Peresvetov compared Ivan with Alexander the Great and the emperor Augustus and
his period with that of Constantine IX Palaeologus, the last emperor of
Byzantium whose place Ivan would have to take17. The canonization of „new
Russian miracle-workers” in 1547 and 1549 seems just like one of the Church
activities undertaken after the increase of the authority and influence of the
tsar and the Church (canonization of princes, saints, the founders of the
biggest monasteries, Russian bishops and Moscow metropolitans)18. In a number of
texts of that period Rus’ was called „shining”, „brigh” and especially
blessed by God19. Many actions of Makarij’s circle show aspirations to set up a
conception of „the holy Russian land” and its cultural „transfer” from
„the ends of the world” to „the centre”.
One of the aspects of that process was an action of collecting in the main
Moscow chuches the most important, i.e. the holiest, icons-relics of Rus’. It
began just in the 15th century with the placing in the Annunciation cathedral of
the Moscow Kremlin of the icon of the Mother of God of Smolensk and removal to
the Dormition cathedral of the icon of the Mother of God of Vladimir20. After the
conflagration of Moscow in 1547 Ivan IV „sent to the cities for holy and
venerable icons; to Novgorod and Smolensk and Dmitrev and Zvenigorod. Thus
numerous and miraculous icons were transported from many other towns”21. However
after the pacification of Novgorod in 1570 „icons of Korsun’ painted by the
Greeks” were taken away22. „New icons” painted after 1547 and placed in the
Dormition cathedral from the very beginning awakened enormous
controversies. They were caused, as the documents of the Council of 1553-1554
testify, by Ivan Mikhailovič Viskovatyj. His greatest objections was the
result of the appearance among them of the images of God the Father (called as
Lord of Sabaoth) and the New Testament Trinity, Christ as a warrior
sitting on a cross, the crucified Christ covered with cherubs’ wings and
others. Viskovatyj’s argument against them was simple: images like those were
not in conformity with the tradition of Orthodox art established by the
Quinisextum Synod and Seventh Ecumenical Council, so they should be forbidden in
the Russian Church23.
The leading antagonist of Viskovatyj’s view, metropolitan Makarij,
completely denied the substance of his argument. The metropolitan affirmed that
the images in question had a long tradition in both Byzantine and Russian art
and, what is more, he emphasised the second one. He quoted a story about some
„old men” who came from the Athonite Panteleemon Monastery. There were the
icon painter Euphemius, Paul the Priest and „companions” among them. Monks
told the council (and Euphemius even described everything) about wall-painting
and icons on the Holy Mountain. They testified to the popularity of images of
God the Father and the New Testament Trinity among them. For Makarij it was
clear enough to prove their canonical character. It should be pointed out that
the metropolitan was inclined to take as „ancient” „the icons of Korsun’”
as well as the paintings „more than two hundred years old” from the churches
of Mt. Athos24. „Icons of Korsun’” (корсунские
письма) is a designation which in the 16th century referred to
paintings also called „ancient” and „Greek”. It seems that designation
„of Korsun’” was just a synonym for their old-time origin. It is probable
that the icons of Korsun’ were thought of as pictures which, as the Russians
believed, appeared in Rus’ shortly after the baptism of Vladimir the Great.
Acording to The Tale of Bygone Years (Повесть
временных лет) that event took place in Korsun’ (Cherson).
During the ceremony the prince, the chronicle related, confessed the Creed which
included the first known exposition of the theology of the icon in Russian
writings25. The close relation between the icons of Korsun’ and the
Christianization of Rus’ is supposed to be confirmed by Makarij’s
pronouncement that such icons were good models for painters. The metropolitan
mentioned among them the Annunciation of Ustjug Velikij, taken from Novgorod by
Ivan IV, but „more than five hundred years ago conveyed from Korsun’”26.
Analysis of the council’s statements and the hierarchs’ attitudes gives a
sign that in the beginning of the second half of the 16th century Russian
culture was designated as the possessor of the same authority and tradition
whose centre since the 10th century had been identified as Constantinople. But
it is difficult to point at pronouncements of Makarij and other hierarchs which
might attempt to deny or reject the Byzantine heritage. Although in sources of
that period, especially in polemics, distrust and ill-will towards Greece
increased, it is not possible to find similar tendencies in opinions about art.
In the Stoglav’s and the council of 1553-1554’s acts Greek icons were
referred many times as the correct models for Russian painting. Most likely in
their conception of ancient, Greek models, the bishops and the tsar did not mean
works from Constantinople but those from Athos and especially the paintings „of
It should be emphasised that the Stoglav recommended the elimination of „foreign”
wandering sellers of icons (it referred surely to newcomers from the West) and,
at the same time, postulated the necessity of „the right education” of icon
painters. They would have to „study good masters” and use „ancient good
models”28. The council’s opinion about the canonical form of the icon of the
Old Testament Trinity testifies unequivocally that both Greek and Russian icons
were understood as „good models”. However, as Pokrovskij noticed, members of
the Stoglav had no knowledge of the traditional iconography of that subject in
Byzantium29. Some aspects of the attitudes of the
great protector of tradition, Ivan Viskovatij are equally disquieting just
because he said for example that the Greeks painted Christ on the cross „in
trousers” (в портках)30. It seems that every side in the icon
controversy used canonical sources rather freely to support its own arguments.
At the same time every party formally declared for the side of Orthodoxy and
rejected any deviation from its principles.
What did the Russian elite know about the art of Mt. Athos? N. Pokrovskij
supposed that in Athonite monasteries in the 16th century „the renaissance”
of post-Byzantine art began which penetrated into Greece, Crete, the Balkans and
also Rus’. It could be asserted that in the case of the last it was possible
because of really frequent bilateral contacts with Athos. They lost the nature
of pilgrimages made by Russian priests who wished to obtain from the source the
moral teaching of Athonite fathers. Because frequently fathers reached Moscow
asking Russian rulers for protection and financial support for monasteries in
their dangerous situation under the reign of infidels. The first mission came
from the Panteleemon Monastery in 150931. During the reign of Basil III there were
close relationships also with other Athonite centres, Great Lavra and Vatopedi
among others32. In 1538 some Bulgarian monks from Zographou Monastery came to
visit Makarij, archbishop of Novgorod at that time. Owing to that meeting
Makarij got to know the story about the martyrdom of Gregory the New, killed by
Muslims. Those facts were written in Makarij’s Minei33. In the
period of 1550-1558 three legations from Hilandar reached Moscow to beg Ivan IV
for aid. Monks from Rila monastery in Bulgaria made a similar mission in 1558.34
Sources from the 16th century confirm that Makarij was especially interested
in information about Athonite monasteries. At his request Paisius of Hilandar
wrote down The Typikon of the Holy Mountain in 1550. In 1560-1562 The
Story of the Holy Mountain was compiled, including information collected
from the monks (who had been in Moscow almost two years) of Panteleemon,
Stavronikita and the Great Lavra. The Story brings detailed descriptions
of monasteries, particulars of the sites of the buildings, their origin and the
number of the brethren. It also tells about Athonite nature, farming and
monastic life. Just like most of the texts from that period it includes news of
the humiliations and insults which monks met on the part of the Turks35. The
Story shows that the interest of the Russian clergy concerned not only
spiritual questions and „the holy places” but also economic activities.
During the time of the evolution of Russian monasticism and conflicts between
adherents of possession (стяжателе) and
non-possession (нестяжателе) of the estates and the properties by the
Muscovite Church the exemple of Athonite economy could be a really important
argument for Makarij’s followers in the case of the appearance of „heretics”
who criticized the wealth of clergy, and trans-Volga monks - partisans of
non-possession of large land property by monasteries36.
The priests reached Rus’ from the South and the East, especially from Mt.
Athos and Jerusalem, and presented the tsar’s family and clerics with „gifts
and blessings”. There were crosses, liturgical utensils, books, relics and
icons - the sacred objects being „keepsakes” from the holy places where the
monks came from. In the case of icons - they were the cult images of saints
especially venerated in particular monasteries; for exemple the Serbian Hilandar
Monastery in 1550 made the tsar’s family a gift of icons of SS. Simeon and
Sabbas37. It seems that images like these could not be a cause of iconographical
innovations, even if they presented unique subjects (e.g. St. Anne with Mary as
Child). Their influence on Church iconography would surely be insignificant just
because they were appropriate to private devotion. The influence of stories and
legends about icons from the Holy Mountain, e.g. The Mother
of God of Iveron (Portaitissa) and The Mother of God „Troieručnica” (Tricherousia),
could be much stronger; however the popularity of those images and of course
their legends probably begun not before the 17th century38. In the end of
the 16th century the Serbian bishop Nektarij reached Rus’. The Typicon
he brought was an exposition of the style of icons painting „according to
Greek practice” but also in that case it is rather questionable whether The
Typicon could affect the form of Russian podlinniki (patterns)
which were current in the 17th century39.
On the grounds of the preserved objects of Russian icon-painting it could be
assumed that some complicated symbolical-dogmatic compositions appeared only
once in the14th-15th centuries to return in many copies and variants in the art
of the 16th century. On the two-sided tablet from Novgorod (the second half of
the 15th century) there is a composition of The Exaltation of the Mother of
God with prophets and Christ Emmanuel40. The program of the so-called Sophia
Church Calendar from Novgorod (end of the 15th century) comprises among
other images related to Balkans art that of the Passion and Christ the Vine (Assembly
of the Apostles); the prototype of the last surely came from Crete41. The
scenes from the Passion cycle: The Procession to Golgotha, Christ Ascending
the Cross and Request for Christ’s Body were painted in 1509 for
the festival tier of the iconostasis in St. Sophia cathedral in Novgorod by
native artists - Andrej Lavrent’ev and Ivan Jarcev42. In the present state of
research it is not possible to ascertain how big an influence on their
appearance could have been due to the activity in 1338 in Novgorod of Isaac the
Greek with his workshop and even of Theophanes the Greek who made the
wall-paintings in the church of the Transfiguration in 137843. In the case of the
tablets from Sophia Church Calendar it is very likely that they were made
in the time of Gennady, archbishop of Novgorod in 1484-1504. In his court there
were meetings of „Latins” and Greeks working on the translation of the Bible
and religious literature, both eastern and western44.
It is very propable, despite the shortage of sources confirming the process,
that a large number of new but much more popular images in the 16th century came
to Rus’ directly from Mt. Athos, the southern Slavs or Moldavia. They could
arrive in a similar way to the composition The Tree of Jesse in the
Annunciation cathedral in Moscow45. Scholars assumed that the image Divine
Wisdom Has Built the Temple Herself (Премудрость
созда себе храм) migrated from Balkan painting in the
end of the 13th or in the 14th century. Moreover its spread was, to Prokhorov,
closely connected with the increasing interest in the works of Pseudo-Dionysius,
especially his Message to Titus the bishop46.The same thing probably
happened to images like „Weep not for Me, Mother” (Не
рыдай Мене Мати) and Anapeson - The Vigilant Eye of
Christ (Недреманное Око
Спасово) both popular from the 16th century. Their Russian
variants have close analogies to the paintings of Athos and the Balkans but
there is no direct interdependence between them47. In the matter of much
more enigmatic and problematical compositions, images of God the Father and the
New Testament Trinity, scholars often saw them as an effect of the influence of
western art. However in the larger context of Russian culture with its negative
attitudes towards „Latins” it is very doubtful if it could be possible48. It
is also proper to add that one of the earliest images in Russian art (and the
earliest one in Muscovite art), that of Paternitas (Отечество)
appears on the liturgical textile presented by Sophia Palaeologus to St. Sergius
Trinity Monastery in 1499. Retkovskaja assumed that its iconographical program
was created by the princess herself. Before the wedding with Ivan III she lived
for a long time in Italy (so she must have known Italian painting) but
Retkovskaja considers that the model for the textile was the Byzantine
manuscripts which Sophia probably saw in Italy49. Moreover it is not unlikely that
non-canonical images came in a similar way just like secular literature did: The
Story of Alexander the Great, Trojan History and The Tale of Dracula reached
Rus’ in the 15th century from the southern Slavs and Moldavia50. G. Popov
suggests that even so unique an image as The Church Militant (Церков
воинствующая) should be connected with The Blessed
Army of Constantine known in the 14th century in the paintings of Ohrid and
especially popular in Moldavian wall-paintings in the 16th century51.
Even if it could be accepted that the examples above testify to the influence
of post-Byzantine art on Russia in the particular matters of images, is it
possible to find out about the Greek and Balkan artists who could be „carriers
of innovations”? The names of Balkan refugees, knižniki, who were
active in Rus’ are known. There were the metropolitan Kiprian, Pachomius the
Logothet, the Serb Leo Philologus and others. But if it is a question of the
icon-painters working in the end of the 15th and the 16th centuries there is no
precise information nor unfortunately any preserved objects. On the one hand,
there were most certainly not only bishops and writers but also artists in the
suite of Sophia Palaeologus who arrived in Moscow in 1472. If the one of the
bishops, Nil (then vladyka of Tver), came from Athos perhaps there could
be also Athonite icon painters among the painters52. On the other, in the group of
artists and craftsmen established by Sophia’s husband Ivan III there was a
majority of Italians and Germans. A few Greeks, just like Peter and Arganapagos,
were active in Venice first. There is no question but that the influence of
„Latins” as „infidels”, and catholic Greek from Italy too, could not
play an important part, simply because they were not be permitted to paint
icons, due to concern for the significance of icons to the Orthodox. Aliens
working in the Muscovite court were obliged to accept of canonical models first
of all. Even having a good reputation, Aristotele Fioravanti who built the
Dormition cathedral in Moscow had to „copy” the cathedral of the same name
in Vladimir on Ivan’s orders53.
It must be assume that after the first half of the 16th century the influence
of southern Slavs models in art could be dependent only on „icons of
Korsun’” as icons and wall-paintings which were approved as „ancient”
and „correct” expressions of Orthodoxy and, as a result, lacked any
participation of contemporary Balkan artists. The originals of the Serbian icons
from the 14th century The Empress Has Stood at the Right-Hand (Предста
Царица...) and The Exaltation of the Mother of God
with Acathistos were taken away from Novgorod after 1550 and put in the
Dormition cathedral and soon copies of them were painted by Russian icon
painters54. In the same way wall-paintings from the church at Volotovo near
Novgorod (end of the 14th century) could probably also have had some influence.
Here were the first Russians versions of Divine Wisdom Has Built the Temple
Herself, the images of prophetic visions and The Mother of God, Fountain
of Life55. The increase of the number of copies and continuations of
their subjects were surely intended for the purpose of keeping up the tradition
which was considered in the 16th century as Byzantine and designated in the
texts as „Greek”. Indicating the canonical sources of Orthodox art, Makarij
during the council of 1553-1554 actually mentioned not only „the all-holy
churches” of Mt. Athos but also icons and wall-paintings in Moscow, Novgorod,
Pskov and Tver56. The archpriest Sylvester instead laid emphasis on the question
that „grand princes (...) sent for Greek icon painters to paint the churches
and icons” and, on the other hand, the continuity of tradition in Ivan the
Terrible’s time: „In the whole state of tsar
Ivan Vasilievič there are Greek and Korsun’ icons and the others -
painted by native masters after the [ancient] models on the walls and icons”57.
Though it must not be forgotten that these opinions were only an attempt to
demonstrate the Orthodox character of icons whose meaning was questioned. But
they were also just a manifestation of the point of the view of the Muscovite
clergy: Rus’ is the only empire in the world which holds and protects the
ancient traditions of Orthodoxy. Curiously enough The Tale about Miracles of
the Icon of the Mother of God of Tikhvin from the first half of the 16th
century tells the same but in the language of popular literature. According to The
Tale the Mother of God herself decided that her image would leave
Constantinople where she did not want it to remain anymore. The icon was carried
by „supernatural power” and revealed over the waters of Lake Ladoga near
Novgorod where the church for her was built58.
According to that idea the Rus’ persistence in Orthodox traditions and
customs could be possible owing to Moscow’s having taken Constantinople’s
place, interpreted as „the Third Rome”. In the eschatological vision of
history Moscow took over the title and the dignity of the emperor’s city, in
that way achieving a primacy in the whole Orthodox world59. It could be reinforced
by endless emphasis on continuity tradition in Rus’ but also the peculiar
„expansion” of the art in the South of Europe and in the christian East. It
was especially strong at the end of the 16th and in the 17th century at the time
of intensive western influence in Rus’. In the 16th century „gifts and
keepsakes” were conveyed from Athos to Moscow but in course of time the
movement was reversed in connection with alms sent to the Holy Mountain by the
tsars for helping impoverished monasteries. In 1515 Basil III when asking for a
translator bestowed on the Great Lavra and Vatopedi icon coverings, liturgical
utenstils and textiles60. Ivan IV often sent suitable funds and gifts to Mt.
Athos. In 1556 he presented Hilandar monastery with an embroidered veil with the
image The Empress Has Stood...61. During the 16th century assistance
for Balkan monasteries became something like a custom of the Russian tsars who
aspired to the title of „the one and only Orthodox emperor”. Although from
the end of the century Russian icons frequently reached the southern Slavs,
Moldavia and even Georgia and in the 17th century also Constantinople, Damascus,
Antioch, Jerusalem and Sinai (in 1652 the Serbian metropolitan Mihail in his
journey to the Holy Land took twelve carts of „all the reserves” but also
icons and other liturgical objects)62 the importance of Athos as a spiritual
centre of Orthodoxy could increase in some periods. In the 17th century it
paradoxically intensified in the time of patriarch Nikon who, when striving for
the goal of change of customs and rituals in the Muscovite Church after the
example of Byzantine rite, designated himself as a „believer in the Byzantine
faith”: „I am Russian and I am the son of a Russian, but my faith and my
religion are Greek”63.
It seems that Nikon, having „improvement” of Russian Orthodoxy in mind,
intended to adapt it to Byzantine models so the patterns for reform could be
books such as those from Iveron Monastery. However Nikon’s opponents
reproached him that their origin was not Orthodox. The Old-Believers said that
the books were printed „under the power of God’s apostates, the pope of
Rome, in Rome, Paris and Venice, in Greek but not according to the old
belief”64. But there was no adequate „artistic policy” in Nikon’s circle.
The Russian clergy did not try to employ Greek and Balkan artists to
„reform” Russian icon painting, despite the patriarch’s criticism of it as
fryaz (meaning western) in style. If icon painters reached Rus’ at that
time they were certainly guided by the same economic reasons as Apostol Juriev
„with the companions” was. Icon painters from Athens remained some time in
Moldavia where they could not earn even enough for a journey to Moscow. Finally
Juriev arrived there in 1659 - quite alone because his „companions” died on
the way. However the undertaking evidently became profitable since the Greek
instantly found a position in the Oružennaia Palata and was „inundated”
with commissions65. But interestingly, other aliens could be entertained much
better even than the Greeks, for example Bogdan Sultanov from Persia a convert
from „Armenian faith”. Before he proved his competence in icon painting, he
was given lavish gifts of various provisions but also more than ten „pails”
of wine, fifteen „pails” of beer and ten of mead66.
1 Г. К. Вагнер, Проблема жанров в
древнерусском искусстве, Москва 1974, pp.
2 В. Н. Лазарев, „Древнерусские художники и
методы их работы”, in Древнерусское
искусство. XV - начала XVI веков, Москва 1963, p.
3 Г. Флоровский, Пути русского богословия,
Париж 1937, pp. 1-2.
4 Г. Федотов, Святые древней Руси, Москва
1990, p. 121; F. von Lilienfeld, Nil Sorsky und seine Schriften. Zur
Kreise der Tradition im Russland Ivans III, Berlin 1963, p. 78.
5 Н. М. Дылевский, „Жития Иоанна Рыльского
русских древлехранилищ и их болгарские
источники”, Труды Отдела Древнерусской
Литературы, XXIII, 1968, p. 283; K. Иванова „Отражение
борьбы между исихастами и их противниками в
переводной полемической литературе
балканских славян”, in Actes du XIVe Congres
International des Études Byzantines,
vol. II, Bucarest 1974, p. 167; В. А. Костакэл, „Русско-украинско-молдавские
исторические связи в XIV-XV вв.”, in Феодальная
Россия во всемирно-историческом процессе.
Сборник статей, посвященный Л. В. Черепнину, Москва
1972, pp. 276-277; Г. И. Вздорнов,
„Роль славянских монастырских письма
Константынопoля и Афона в развитии
книгописания и художественного оформления
русских рукописей на рубеже XIV и XV вв.”, Труды
Отдела Древнерусской Литературы, XXIII,
1968, pp. 171-172.
6 Г. В. Попов, А. В. Рындина, Живопись и
прикладное искусство Твери XIV-XVI века, Москва
1979, pp. 64-65, 198; Г. М. Прохоров, „Изихазм и
общественная мысль в восточной Европе в XIV в.”,
Труды Отдела Древнерусской Литературы,
XXIII, 1968, pp. 103-105.
7 В. Иконников, Опыт изследования о
культурном значении Византии в русской
истории, Киев 1869, p.
238; Прохоров, „Изихазм и общественная мысль...”,
op. cit., p. 103.
8 B. B. Бычков, Русская средневековая
эстетика XI-XVII века, Москва 1992, p. 171; Прохоров,
и русской литературы XIV-XV веков, Ленинград
1987, p. 5; Idem, „Послание
Титу-иерарху Дионисия Ареопагита в
славянском переводе и иконография
Премудрость созда себе дом”, Труды Отдела
Древнерусской Литературы, XXXVIII, 1985,
pp. 11-12; Вздорнов, „Роль
славянских монастырских...”, op. cit., p. 173.
9 Прохоров, Памятники
переводной..., op. cit., p.
52; B. Dąb-Kalinowska, „Klasyczna ikona ruska”, in Klasycyzm
i klasycyzmy, Warszawa 1994, p. 94;
Иконников, op. cit., p. 267; Fedotov, The Russian Religious
Mind, vol. II, Cambridge 1965, pp. 29-30.
10 Qualification used by D. Likhačev in his book The Poetics of
the Ancient Rus’ Literature. Д. С.
Лихачев, Поетика древнерусской
11 „Просветитель преподобного Иосифа
Волоцкого”, Православный собеседник,
1859, 3, pp. 165-166.
12 K. Иванова, op. cit., pp. 174-175; „Стоглавный Собор”,
Православный собеседник, 1860, 2, pp.
13 Арх. Макарий Веретенников, Московский
митрополит Макарий и его время, Москва 1996,
14 Н. А. Казакова, Очерки по
истории общественной мысли. Первая треть XVI
века, Ленинград 1970, pp.
15 Макарий, op. cit., pp. 12-17; Памятники
литературы древней Руси. Конец XV - первая
половина XVI века, Москва 1984, pp. 437-441.
Санкт Петербург 1863, pp. 22-23, 58ff.
17 Памятники литературы...
Конец XV - первая половина XVI века, op. cit.,
pp. 437-441, 606-611ff.
18 Е. Голубинский, История канонизации
святых в русской Церкви, Москва
1903, pp. 100-108.
19 Федотов, Святые..., op. cit., p. 105.
20 Попов, Рындина, op. cit., p. 271; Л. А. Щенникова, „Чудотворная
икона Богоматерь Владимирская как
Одигитрия евангелиста Луки” , in Чудотворная
икона в Византии и древней Руси, Москва
1996, pp. 266-267.
21 О. И. Подобедова, Московская школа
живописи при Иване IV. Работы в Московском
Кремле 40-х - 70-х годов XVI в., Москва 1972, p. 15.
22 Попов, „Три памятника южнославянской
живописи XIV века и их русские копии середины
XVI века”, in Византия, южные славяне и
древная Русь. Западная Европа. Искусство и
культура. Сборник статей в честь В. Н.
1973, p. 359.
23 Макарий, op. cit., pp. 225-228, 257.
24 Ibidem, pp. 238-239.
25 Powieść minionych lat (Повесть
временных лет), trans. F.
Sielicki, Wrocław 1968, pp. 287-292.
26 Макарий, op. cit., p. 238.
27 Н. Андреев, „Митрополит Макарий, как
деятель религиозного искусства”, Seminarium
Kondakovianum, VII, 1935, p. 241ff; „Стоглавный
Собор”, op. cit., p. 225; Л. Успенский, „Московские
соборы XVI века и их роль в церковном
искусстве”, in Философия
русского религиозного искусства XVI-XX века.
Антология, Москва 1993,
28 Андреев, op. cit., p. 240; cf. Н. Покровский, Очерки
памятников христианской иконографии и
Петербург 1900, p. 370.
29 Idem, „Определения Стоглава о св. иконах”,
Христианское чтение, 1885, 1, pp. 547-548.
30 Макарий, op. cit., p. 232.
31 Ю. А. Пятницкий, „Один из путей
проникновения памятников балканского
искусства в Россию”, in
Древнерусское искусство. Балканы. Русь,
С.-Петербург 1995, p. 230.
32 Макарий, op. cit., pp. 110-111.
33 Памятники литературы
древней Руси. Вторая половина XVI века, Москва
1986, pp. 530-545.
34 Дылевский, op. cit., p. 284; A. A. Турилов, „Рассказы
о чудотворных иконах монастыря Хиландар в
русской записи XVI века”, in Чудотворная
икона..., op. cit., p. 510.
35 Словарь книжников и
книжности Древней Руси. Вторая половина
XIV-XVI в., vol. II, Ленинград
1989, pp. 389-390.
36 P. Bushkovitch, Religion and Society in Russia. The 16th and 17th
Centuries, New York-Oxford 1992, p. 26ff.
37 Пятницкий, op. cit., p. 230-232; Покровский, Очерки
памятников..., op. cit., p. 399; Турилов, op. cit., pp.
39 З. Морозова, „К вопросу о времени
появления „иконописных рисунков” и их
роль в работе мастера-иконописца”, Филевские
чтения, 1993, 3, pp. 50-51.
40 M. V. Alpatov, Early Russian Icon Painting, Moscow 1984, cat.
41 Э. С. Смирнова, В. К. Лаурина,
Э. А. Гордиенко, Живопись Великого
Новгорода. XV век, Москва 1982, pp. 314-315, cat.
no 63 - 14 a, b, 15 a, b, 21 b; cf. Byzantine and Post-byzantine Art,
Athens 1985, cat. no 101.
42 В. В. Филатов, „Иконостас новгородского
Софийского собора (Предварительная
Древнерусское искусство. Художественная
Москва 1968, pp. 78-80; cf. Byzantine and Post-byzantine...,
op. cit., cat. no 85.
43 Филатов, op. cit., p. 77; Лазарев, op. cit., p. 10.
44 Флоровский, op. cit., pp. 15-16; Смирнова, Лаурина,
Гордиенко, op. cit., p. 319.
45 И. Я. Качалова, „Стенопись галерей
Благовещенского собора Московского Кремля”,
in Древнерусское искусство. Балканы...., op.
cit., p. 426; Попов, op. cit., p. 358.
46 Прохоров, „Послание Титу-иерарху...”,
op. cit., pp. 8-10.
47 E. K. Редин, Икона „Недременное
Око”, Харков 1901, pp. 2-3; Н. П. Кондаков, Памятники
христианского искусства на Афоне, Санкт
Петербург 1902, p. 86; Idem, Иконография
Богоматери. Связы греческой и русской
иконописи с италянскою живописю ранного
Возрождения, Санкт Петербург 1911, pp. 205-206;
Вагнер, op. cit., pp. 183-185; cf. Byzantine and
Post-byzantine..., op. cit., cat. no 75, 86.
48 L. Ouspensky, La Théologie de l’icône dans l’Église
orthodoxe, Paris 1980, pp. 373-374.
49 Л. С. Ретковская, „О появлении и развитии
композиции „Отечество” в русском
искусстве XIV-XVI веков”, in Древнерусское
искусство. XV - начала XVI веков, Москва 1963, pp.
50 Я. С. Лурье, „Черты возрождения в русской
культуре XV-XVI вв. (Древнерусская литература
и западная „народная книга”)”, in Феодальная
Россия..., op. cit., pp. 159-160.
51 Попов, op. cit., pp. 363, 364.
52 В. Г. Брюсова, „Тверский епископ грек Нил и
его Послание князю Георгию Ивановичу”,
XXVIII, 1974, p. 181, 186; cf. Покровский, Очерки
памятников..., op. cit., p. 399.
53 Ibidem, pp. 331-333, 371-372; cf. R. Cormack, „Moskau zwischen Ost und
West”, in Zwischen Himmel und Erde. Moskauer Ikonen und Buchmalerei 14. -
16. Jahrhunderts, 1997, pp. 21-22.
54 Попов, op. cit., pp. 352-363; cf. „Пречистому
образу Твоему покланяемся...”. Образ
Богоматери в произведениях Русского музея,
С.-Петербург 1995, p. 63, cat. no 34.
55 Вздорнов, Волотово. Фрески церкви
Успения на Волотовом поле близ Новгорода,
Москва 1989, cat. no 168, 181.
56 Макарий, op. cit., pp. 238-239, 242.
57 Ibidem, p. 271.
58 И. А. Иванова, „Икона Тихвинской
Богоматери и ее связь со Сказанием о
чудесах иконы Тихвинской Богоматери”,
Древнерусской Литературы, XXII, 1966, pp.
419-436; Словарь книжников и
книжности..., op. cit., pp. 365-367.
59 Подобедова, op. cit., pp. 18-20.
60 Макарий, op. cit., pp. 110-111.
61 Попов, op. cit., p. 359.
62 Брюсова, Русская
живопись XVII века, Москва 1984, pp. 28-29;
Покровский, Очерки памятников..., op.
cit., pp. 372, 399.
63 Dąb-Kalinowska, Między Bizancjum a Zachodem. Ikony
rosyjskie XVII-XIX w., Warszawa 1990, pp. 12-13.
64 Ibidem, p. 45; Греческие
документы и рукописи, иконы и памятники
прикладного искусства московских собраний.
Международная конференция „Крит,
Восточное Средиземноморе и Россия в XVII в.”,
Москва 1995, pp. 46-48.
65 А. И. Успенский, Царские иконописцы и
живописцы XVII в. Словарь, Москва 1910, pp. 300-302.
66 „pail” - it’s an old Russian cubic measure, ca. 12 litres. Ibidem, p.
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