fit well with the concept of the 'superordinate' centre as formulated by Mary Helms. The blend of ritual, numinous authority and allusion to recent events, the martyrdom of the Lithuanians, focused the Muscovite elite's attention on Constantinople as a 'charged point' 'out-there', offering access to 'up-there'.71 An institution so graphically presenting claims to be the site of cultural origins could override fluxes in surrounding regimes, actually drawing vitality from their kaleidoscopic shifts.
That many among the political and clerical elite in the late medieval eastern Christian world were amenable to such notions, even if interpreted on their own terms, is likely enough. It may be no accident of survival that Rus travellers' descriptions of Constantinople as a Christian city abounding in holy relics and marvels date mainly from the fourteenth century. This was an era when travel across the Black Sea was relatively commonplace. Large parties of Rus churchmen were not infrequently in town to press their respective candidate's claim to become metropolitan of all Rus; considerable sums of money made their way into patriarchal and other purses in Constantinople in the process. Arriving in 1389 with Metropolitan Pimen was Ignatios of Smolensk, who recorded what he saw during his stay. He was mainly interested in the City's shrines, relics and wonder-working icons. But Ignatios also gives a detailed description of the coronation of Manuel II in 1392 in St Sophia. He was left awe-struck by the sheer beauty of the ceremony.72 His description may well have been carefully noted for use in inauguration-ritual back in Rus.73 If the aim ofthe Muscovite court was to adapt such ritual to the greater glory of their own political order, the arrival in Rus of senior churchmen from Constantinople bearing finely crafted artefacts, including Photios's sakkos,74 served as periodic reminders of Byzantine credentials as a 'superordinate' centre.
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