MOSCOW THE THIRD ROME (excerpts)

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by the monk Filofei

To you who have been selected to rule, by the highest, the all-powerful and almighty hand of God, by Whose will all rulers on earth govern and Whom all great people praise and about Whom the powerful write the truth, I address these words to you, the illustrious sovereign, Grand Prince [of Muscovy], occupier of the high throne, the Orthodox Christian Tsar and lord of all, the administrator of all Holy Churches of God and of the Holy Universal and Apostolic Church and of the Church of the Holy Mother of God, that has made such honest and illustrious progress that it has been enabled to triumph over the Church of Rome as well as over the Church of Constantinople.

The Apollinarian heresy caused the downfall of old Rome. The Turks used their axes to shatter the doors of all churches of the Second Rome, the city of Constantinople. Now [in Moscow], the new Third Rome, the Holy Ecumenical Apostolic Church of your sovereign state shines brighter than the sun in the universal Orthodox Christian faith throughout the world. Pious Tsar! Let [people of] your state know that all states of the Orthodox faith have now merged into one, your state. You are the only true Christian ruler under the sky!

Tsar! As long as you hold that position, be mindful always of God. Fear God who has bestowed so much on you. Do not rely on gold, wealth, or glory! All of that is collected here and it will remain here on earth. Tsar! Remember the Blissful who held the sceptre in His hand and the imperial crown on His head and said: "Do not turn your heart to wealth that is running away from you." The wise Solomon said: "Wealth and gold are valued not when they are hidden, but when people offer help to those in need"...... Tsar! During your rule remember [an additional] two commandments.... [The first is]: Do not violate the order which was chosen by your great predecessor [emperor] Constantine, the beatific Vladimir, the great and God-selected laroslav, and all other blissful and saintly [rulers] from whom you have descended. [The second is]: Tsar! Do not harm the Holy churches of God and honest monasteries. [Do not expropriate] that which has been given to God in return for eternal blessing of the memory of a family. The Fifth Great and Holy Ecumenical Council issued a very strict injunction [against such action]....

Now I beg you and beg you again, please remember what I have said. For God's sake, please also remember that now all [Orthodox] Christian kingdoms have merged into your tsardom. Henceforth we can expect only one kingdom to come. That kingdom is eternal. I have written this because, admiring you as I do, I have appealed and have prayed to God that He may bless you. Change your stinginess to generosity and your inclemency to kindness. Comfort those who cry and moan day and night. Protect the innocent from their tormentors. I repeat here what I have written above. Pious Tsar! Listen and remember that all Christian kingdoms have now merged into one, your [tsardom]. Two Romes have fallen. The third stands Ifirm]. And there will not be a fourth. No one will replace your Christian tsardom ...