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September 12, 2013 / Congau

Moscow – the Third Rome


Rome fell. Rome is the eternal city, so Rome cannot fall.


Another Rome arose. Constantinople inherited its greatness when barbarians and vandals invaded the west. For another thousand years the eastern empire would endure, and then Constantinople fell. Rome cannot fall.


A third Rome had to emerge and Moscow would continue its greatness. The first city was devoured by papist heresy, the second one was occupied by infidel Muslims, but the third would keep the true faith and shine forth to the world. Moscow was the third Rome. This third birth happened in the fifteenth century, and there would never be a forth, it was said. Thus Moscow is still the custodian of true doctrine.


But much has befallen Russia and its capital in the last five hundred year. The country has seen extreme transformations. Could there possibly be any constancy in this destructive chaos? True, orthodox Christianity had been the foundation of that conservative society through centuries, but then the revolution hit. Was 1917 the end of all that had been? Not at all. Moscow remained the third one.


The czarist empire had long been watching the European political theater from a comfortable distance. It was not so close that it risked getting hit by stray bullets and not so remote that it could not make well aimed interventions. Russia was always the third corner of the triangle and a communist revolution did not change that position.


“The earth will rise on new foundations,” sung the communists and forgot that they themselves had grown from the old ones. The Russian revolution had sprung from Russian soil and its Roman empire continued regardless of its Soviet name.


One used to talk about the world being divided into three worlds: The capitalist, the underdeveloped and communist one. That last alternative emanated from Moscow and lasted for seventy years, and whatever its shortcomings may have been, it was indeed an alternative.


The wall fell and Russia was left weak and perplexed in those confused ‘90s, but we may choose to regard that as a parenthesis in the Roman history of Moscow. For a while the country was seemingly stumbling behind the West without an idea on its own, but it was probably just slumbering. Gradually an alternative has reemerged, and today Moscow is something else again. The West is having an open conflict with a part of the world, and Moscow is the third power; the Third Rome.


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