Daniel of Moscow (metropolitan)

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Daniel of Moscow (Russian: Даниил) was Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia from 1522 to 1539. He was a leading member of the Josephites (Possessors), a faction of the Church of Russia that favored ecclesiastical land-ownership and a close Church-State relationship. It also fostered a life of ascetic discipline and social service among the people rooted in strict observance of liturgical rites.


Daniel was born in Ryazan and developed disciplined work habits during his youth with an encyclopedic turn of mind. A protege of Joseph of Volokolamsk, he was tonsured a monk by Joseph around 1500 at the Joseph-Volokolamsk Monastery, a monastery that was under the patronage of Grand Prince Basil III of Moscow. Daniel was elected hegumen of the monastery in 1515 and was designated to succeed his mentor as abbot after his death that occurred in September 1515.

As abbot, Daniel enforced within the monastery the rule of communal property as the monastery continued to grow as a landowner as well as a center of learning, writing, and training future hierarchs. In addition to overseeing the completion of the redactions of Joseph's Enlightener and Monastic Rule, Daniel masterminded the creation of the Chronicle of Nikon with its grand narrative that made sacred the history of Rus and granted Moscow the contested succession to Kiev.

After his selection to succeed Metr. Barlaam as metropolitan of Moscow, Metr. Daniel cooperated with Prince Basil in 1523 in summoning Prince Basil Shemyachich of Seversk whom Basil III then imprisoned. He also permitted the controversial divorce of Basil from the barren Solomonia Saburova and his remarriage, in 1525, to Princess Elena Glinskaya, who gave birth to the future Ivan IV (the Terrible) five years later. Daniel maintained his influence with Basil III's family. He presided over Basil III's pre-death tonsure, accepted Ball III's request to take care of his son Ivan, and remained metropolitan through Elena Glinskaya's challenged regency from 1533 to 1538.

In ecclesiastical affairs Daniel also initiated a number of church councils between 1525 and 1531 that condemned the opponents of the Josephite faction who included Maximus the Greek, and Vassian Patrikeyev and other dissenters and alleged heretics. Metr. Daniel made a number of episcopal appointments to strengthen the Josephites. These included the appointment of Macarius to the vacant see of Novgorod, and of monastics trained by Joseph. These included bishops of the sees of Tver, Kolomna, and Smolensk. He also canonized Joseph's mentor Pafnuty of Borovsk.

After Elena Glinskaya died in 1538, the struggle for power between the Shuisky family and prince Ivan Belsky, whom Daniel supported, resulted in Metr. Daniel's deposition and defrocking in 1539 by the Shuisky family. He took refuge in the Joseph-Volokolamsk Monastery where he remained until his repose on May 22, 1547.

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Daniel of Moscow (metropolitan)
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Metropolitan of Moscow
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