Coping with the flux beyond the steppes

Matters stood rather differently in the wider world of the steppes and the northern forest zones. Emperor and patriarch had readily provided for the new power-centres that emerged there after the Tatars' onslaught; early in the fourteenth century, metropolitan sees were created for the Rus principality of Galich (Galicia) and, around 1315, for the polity of the Lithuanian grand dukes. The latter were still practising pagans, but they had drastically extended their dominions to the south and south-east, incorporating large populations of Orthodox Rus. The Orthodox Church seems to have flourished under the pagan regime, and even gained adherents among the ruling family. Sons of Grand Duke Olgerd were Orthodox believers by c. 1347. When three Christians were put to death for refusing the grand duke's orders to eat meat during a fast, the sons reportedly saw to the burial of one of the martyrs. It may well have been the mounting appeal of Orthodoxy to members of Olgerd's court that precipitated persecution.

However, the expansion of Orthodoxy among the Lithuanian elite coincided with further annexations by the grand dukes and confrontation with the princes of Moscow, whose rise to prominence owed much to their acknowledgement of Tatar dominion. Reward for their services as chief tribute-collectors for the Tatar khans came in the form of patents of overlordship (iarlyki) over the north-east lands of Rus. A feature of these iarlyki was the guarantee they provided of the church's landholdings and jurisdiction in Rus, which bound church and prince still more tightly. From the early 1320s the metropolitan of 'all Rhosia' Peter (1308-26) fixed his residence in Moscow, which was to become the permanent abode of his successors. This signalled Byzantine recognition of Moscow's ascendancy, but it also brought the Byzantines face to face with the Lithuanians and their ambition to extend their hegemony over all Rus. By 1352 Grand Duke Olgerd was seeking a metropolitan not, as before, 'of the Lithuanians' but 'of Rhosia' in general. What had initially been an expedient means of accommodating a new power within the

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