The Orthodox Nationalist: Prince St Daniel and Mediaeval Russia


The topic for today’s Orthodox Nationalist presented by Dr Matthew Raphael Johnson is the Prince St. Daniel of Moscow (d. March 5 1303).

Daniel was prince under the Mongols, who used the natural ambition of the local princes to further their rule over the country.

The main players here were Galicia in the far west, Moscow, Suzdal and Vladimir close by, Novgorod in the northwest and Kiev, of course, the old capital of western Russia.

Daniel founded the dynasty of Moscow princes that only died after the Time of Troubles in the very early 17th century. Daniel, as well as his son Ivan I Kalita, were universally known for their strict morals, dedication to meritocracy and utter focus on Russia as a unified entity.

The main "rival" to Moscow was Tver at the end of the 13th century and beyond. Tver called itself the "Ruler of all Rus'" and the "Defender of the Orthodox Church." The Mongols, seeing this city as too westernized and too close to Lithuania (a major player at the time and largely Russian Orthodox), set the two cities against each other, with horrific results. Moscow stayed loyal to the pro-Orthodox Mongols rather than turning to the western powers.

It is important to keep in mind that there is some dispute as to whether or not the "Mongols" were actually Asians. In fact, there is precious little evidence for this. Chances are, the bulk of the "Mongols" were Slavs from the southern Steppe of Russia, more in tune with the modern Cossacks than the Chinese. Dr Johnson’s article on the subject can be found here.

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Presented by Matt Johnson

The Orthodox Nationalist: Prince St Daniel and Mediaeval Russia – TON 011817

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