Philotheus of Pskov

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Philotheus (or Filofei) (Russian: Филофей) (1465–1542) was a hegumen of the Yelizarov Monastery, near Pskov, in the 16th century. He is credited with authorship of the Legend of the White Cowl and the Third Rome prophecy, details of which are very scarce. He is popularly known as the presumed author of the concept of Moscow as the Third Rome, which sets out the thesis in his letters.

In reality, these letters are mainly devoted to other issues, mostly talking about Church issues, and only refer to Moscow or Muscovy rather obliquely. Their main message in this regard is rather to remind the tzar about his ecclesiastical position of Protector of Faith, as the two previous capitals of Orthodoxy, Rome and Constantinople, both fell, first to the Latin heretics, and second to the Muslim heathens, with Moscow remaining its sole bastion. Philotheus prophecy could then best construed that the Muscovy (or Russia in general) will stand as far as it remains true to the Orthodox faith.

His essays "On the Grievances of the Church" to Ivan the Terrible, refuted by scientists, as it contains elements of controversy with the first epistle. Philotheus tied the "Third Rome" to protection of property rights of the church.

In August 2009, it was reported that archaeologists had discovered a Pskov grave, allegedly belonging to Philotheus.[1]