Transformation of East Slavic Messianism from the philosophy of Rus’ to the early Slavophiles

Keywords: history, historiosophy, Orthodoxy, Christianity, Slavophilism, Muscovy


The emergence of the historiosophical concept of the Messianism of the Eastern Slavs in the works of Illarion, Nestor, as well as the subsequent transformation by the Orthodox clergy of the Moscow principality, and later by the Russian Slavophiles, is investigated. The study found that thinkers of Kievan Rus’ created a universal concept of «Holy Rus’» for integration into the historical tradition of Christian states. The historiosophical concepts of Illarion and Nestor were created to unite the society of Kievan Rus’, providing a universal alternative to tribal identity. On the other hand, at the international level, it integrated Rus’ into the community of Christian states. The transformation of the messianism of Kievan Rus’ in the Moscow principality was studied. Due to the conquest of the territory of Kievan Rus by the Mongol-Tatars in the middle of the XIII century, Kiev lost the significance of the geopolitical center of Russia. Moscow principality, on the contrary, being on the outskirts, is preserved, and after the collapse of the Golden Horde it becomes a new geopolitical center. Moscow needed its own ideology. The Moscow Orthodox clergy created the concept of «Moscow is the third Rome», which has lost its universality and integrativeness, becoming the historiosophical cause of Moscow’s civilizational mission as a defender of Orthodoxy. It is shown that during the time of Peter the Great, the church concept «Moscow is the third Rome» becomes the foundation of the state ideology of the Russian Empire. Therefore, the universal concept of «Rus’» is replaced by the narrow concept of «Russia». Thus, the transformation of the historiosophical concepts of Kievan Rus’ makes the Russian empire the heir of all of Rus’, its culture, history, mythology and ideology. Although before that, the Moscow principality was the periphery of Ancient Rus’. The transformation of the historiosophy of Kievan Rus’ removed the Ukrainians and Belarusians, who are territorially and culturally descendants of Rus’. Demonstrated as Slavophiles I. Kireevsky, A. Khomyakov, K. Aksakov developed the idea of historical peculiarities of Moscow and Russia. They created a complex and holistic concept - the «Russian idea» and rejected universalism and integrativity. Later, the Slavophilic historiosophy became the basis for the myths of the «elder brother», Rus’ as the «cradle of three fraternal peoples», opposing Great Russia and Little Russia. These distortions of history and historiosophy need to be analyzed and corrected in order to create the ideology of modern Ukraine.


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How to Cite
Meleschuk, A. (2019). Transformation of East Slavic Messianism from the philosophy of Rus’ to the early Slavophiles. Grani, 21(12), 26-33.