Barlaam of Moscow

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Barlaam of Moscow, also Varlaam of Moscow (Russian: Варлаам), was the Metropolitan of Moscow from 1511 to 1521. He was a supporter of the sixteenth century non-possessor movement in Russia.


Little is known of the early life of Barlaam. He became the archimandrite of the Simonov Monastery in Moscow in 1506. On July 27, 1511, Grand Prince Basil III of Moscow appointed him Metropolitan of Moscow, with his consecration and enthronement on August 3, 1511.

Metr. Barlaam was noted as austere and one who did not try to win favor by flattering influential people, particularly Basil III. Although the non-possessors had been suppressed early in the sixteenth century, Metr. Barlaam maintained his agreement with their principles of opposing ecclesiastical land-ownership and supported those who were like thinking such as with Maximus the Greek, a non-possessor sympathizer, who had been invited to Russia to translate Greek liturgical books.

In 1515, Metr. Barlaam consecrated the main church of the Khutyn Monastery outside the city of Novgorod. Later that year he also consecrated the Tikhvin Monastery that also in the Eparchy of Novgorod. The Novgorodian see had been vacant since 1509.

On December 17, 1521, Metr. Barlaam was deposed as metropolitan of Moscow by Basil III. His removal was precipitated by his refusing to participate in Basil III's fight against Prince Basil Ivanovich Shemyachich and the dispute with the Grand Prince over his refusal to allow Basil to divorce his wife for a remarriage. Metr. Barlaam was initially confined in shackles in the Kyrilo-Beloozersky Monastery north of Moscow, but was soon transferred to the Spaso-Kamenyi Monastery in Vologda where he died sometime in 1522.[1]


  1. Isabel de Madariaga, Ivan the Terrible (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 29; Janet Martin, Medieval Russia 980-1584(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 262-264.
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Barlaam of Moscow
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Patriarch of Moscow
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