Athonite monk Maksim Grek arrived in Moscow in 1518 to translate the Psalter and commentaries from Greek, and was detained there (probably against his will), continuing to translate and correct essential spiritual works. Maksim's life in Muscovy became sadly tangled in the politics of the day - his arrest in 1525 was in part a result of his vocal objections to Vasilii III's uncanonical divorce and remarriage in that year.42 Imprisoned in Volokolamsk monastery, Maksim was retried six years later by Metropolitan Daniil for sins including 'Hellenic and heretical sorcery' and blasphemous translations, and imprisoned again in a Tver monastery. He was finally released to live freely in the Trinity-St Sergii monastery in 1551, five years before his death.43 His translations of the Psalter, Gospels and Triodion were among the first books printed in the 1560s, and the church recognised his contribution to Russian Orthodoxy by canonising him in 1988. The 1551 Church Council, in addition to freeing Maksim, acknowledged the pressing need for systematic correction of church texts and for improved clerical education, but little was achieved before the country slid into the turmoil of the Oprichnina and, later, the 'Time of Troubles' (1598-1613), Ivan IV's legacy of political chaos.
The blossoming of icon painting during this period is explored below,44 but while the work of Rublev and Dionisii is understandably celebrated as the pinnacle of medieval Russia's cultural achievement, the devotional art of women has often been overlooked. Workshops headed by royal women such as Solomoniia Saburova, the first wife of Vasilii III (d.1542), Irina Godunova (d.1603) and Evfrosiniia Staritskaia (d.1569) embroidered shrouds, altar cloths and liturgical vestments of complex symbolism and beauty, a form of icon painting in thread, or prayers in textile. These works were created within convents or presented to monasteries by wealthy women, in memory ofdeceased relatives, in thanksgiving or in supplication. One of the most poignant testimonies of Solomoniia's sorrow is a tapestry donated to the Trinity-St Sergii monastery in 1525, shortly before she was divorced and tonsured for failing to produce an heir. It records her hopes with illustrations of the miraculous fecundity of Anna, the aging mother of Mary; Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist; and the Mother of God herself.45 The memoirs of a
42 J. Martin, Medieval Russia 980-1584 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 292.
43 J. V Haney, From Italy to Muscovy: the life and works of Maxim the Greek (Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1973).
45 I. Thyret, Between God and Tsar: religious symbolism and the royal women of Muscovite Russia (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2001), 25-7; D. B. Miller, 'Motives for donations to the Trinity-Sergius monastery, 1392-1605: gender matters', Essays in Medieval Studies 14 (1997), 91-106.
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