Cyprian of Moscow

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Our father among the saints Cyprian (+ 1407), was Metropolitan of Kiev, Moscow and All Lithuania and Russia (1380-1385), and Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia (1390-1407). His repose is commemorated by the Church on September 16 and the uncovering of his relics on May 27.


St Cyprian was a Serbian clergyman of Bulgarian nationality who struggled on Mt. Athos. In 1373, the Patriarch of Constantinople Philotheus Kokkinos picked him for his devout lifestyle and excellent education and sent him to Lithuania and Russia on a mission to reconcile the princes of Lithuania and Tver with Metropolitan Alexis. In 1375, after the hostilities between Moscow and Lithuania had started all over again, the Lithuanian princes asked to appoint Cyprian their Metropolitan. Patriarch Philotheus Kokkinos made Cyprian Metropolitan of Kiev, all Rus and Lithuania, so that he could unite both ecclesiastical provinces after the death of Metropolitan Alexis.

In 1378, Metropolitan Alexis died. As a result of the ensuing skirmishes and intrigues, Cyprian became Metropolitan of Moscow in 1381. One year later, however, he fled from Moscow due to the approaching armies of Tokhtamysh. Subsequently, he was removed from the Muscovy and replaced with Metropolitan Pimen (1382-1384). The latter was succeeded by Metropolitan Dionysius (1384-1385). In 1390, Cyprian was returned to Moscow by Vasili II, who he had always supported, and appointed Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia.

Cyprian is remembered as a wise and experienced keeper of the Church of God and a zealot of the unity of the Russian lands. In fact, he is mainly responsible for uniting the Church in all of the lands, even including those of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. He was an erudite person and a connoisseur of ecclesiastic rituals and literature, who especially cared for regulating the divine service and monastic lifestyle. St Cyprian was the one who initiated the creation of the Троицкая летопись (Troitskaya letopis’, or Troitskaya Chronicle) and, probably, the Правосудие митрополичье (Pravosudiye metropolich’ye, or Metropolitan Justice). He also rewrote the Life of Metropolitan Peter, which had been written around 1327, and made it more rhetorical and well phrased. Cyprian corrected mistakes in biblical books and translated ecclesiastic works from Greek. This was a tantalizing effort, considering the fact that printing had not been invented yet.

Uncovering of relics

The uncovering and transfer of relics of Holy Hierarchs Cyprian, Photius and Jonah occured on May 27, 1472 during the construction of the new stone Dormition cathedral in the Kremlin, under Metropolitan Philip (January 9) and Great Prince Ivan III (1462-1505).

Cyprian was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in the 15th century.


External link

Succession box:
Cyprian of Moscow
Preceded by:
St Alexis
Metropolitan of Kiev, Moscow and All Lithuania and Russia
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia
Succeeded by:
St Photius
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