Filaret (Feodor Romanov)

Patriarch Filaret (Feodor Romanov)

Fyodor Nikitich Romanov (Фёдор Никитич Романов) (1553 — October 1, 1633) was a Russian boyar who after temporary disgrace rose to become patriarch of Moscow as Filaret (Филарет), and became de-facto ruler of Russia during the reign of his son, Mikhail Feodorovich.

Life

Fyodor was born in Moscow the second son of the prominent boyar Nikita Romanovich and was the first to bear the Romanov surname. During the reign of his first cousin Feodor I (1584-1598), young Feodor Romanov distinguished himself both as a soldier and a diplomatist, fighting against the forces of John III of Sweden in 1590, and conducting negotiations with the ambassadors of Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor from 1593 to 1594. He was made a Boyar in 1583.

On the death of the childless tsar, he was the popular candidate for the vacant throne; but he acquiesced in the election of Boris Godunov, and shared the disgrace of his too-powerful family three years later, when Boris compelled both him and his wife, Xenia Shestova, to take monastic vows under the names of Philaret and Martha respectively.

Philaret was kept in the strictest confinement in the Antoniev Monastery of the Russian North, where he was exposed to every conceivable indignity; but when the False Dmitriy I overthrew the Godunovs, he released Philaret and made him metropolitan of Rostov (1605).

In 1609 Philaret fell into the hands of False Dmitriy II, who named him Patriarch of all Russia, though his jurisdiction only extended over the very limited area which acknowledged the impostor. From 1610 to 1618 he was a prisoner in the hands of the Polish king, Sigismund III Vasa, whom he refused to acknowledge as tsar of Muscovy on being sent on an embassy to the Polish camp in 1610. He was released on the conclusion of the truce of Deulino (February 13, 1619), and on 2 June of the same year was canonically enthroned Patriarch of Moscow and all of Russia.

Henceforth, till his death, the established government of Muscovy was a diarchy. From 1619 to 1633 there were two actual sovereigns, Tsar Michael and his father, the most holy Patriarch Philaret. Theoretically they were co-regents, but Philaret frequently transacted affairs of state without consulting the tsar. He replenished the treasury by a more equable and rational system of assessing and collecting the taxes. His most important domestic measure was the chaining of the peasantry to the soil, a measure directed against the ever increasing migration of the down-trodden serfs to the steppes, where they became freebooters instead of tax-payers. The taxation of the tsar's military tenants was a first step towards the proportional taxation of the hitherto privileged classes.

Philaret's zeal for the purity of orthodoxy sometimes led him into excesses but he encouraged the publication of theological works, formed the nucleus of the subsequently famous Patriarchal Library, and commanded that every archbishop should establish a seminary for the clergy, himself setting the example. Another great service rendered by Philaret to his country was the reorganization of the Muscovite army with the help of foreign officers. His death in October 1633 put an end to the Russo-Polish War (1632-33), withdrawing the strongest prop from a tsar feeble enough even when supported by all the weight of his authority.

By his marriage he had:

Notes

References

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