XIV, 2018, 1

Miron Barnovsky Movilă, the Moscow Court and the Relics of Saint James the Persian | p. 265–284

Miron Barnovsky, Moldavia, Muscovy, Persia, relics


In the struggle against his main military rival, the Ottoman Empire, Shah Abbas I the Great searched for allies. Persian ambassadors arrived in Moscow in 1629, the very same year the Moldavian prince Miron Barnovsky-Movilă sent envoys to present the relics of Saint James Intercisus, known as James the Persian, to the Tsar and to request the authorization to venerate Christ’s Robe. This last relic, part of the Georgian war’s booty, had been sent to Moscow by Shah Abbas a few years earlier. The relic’s authenticity was questioned by the Georgians, but neither by prince Barnovschi or his relative, the archimandrite of the Kiev Cave Monastery, Peter Movilă. This sudden interest in the “Persian relics” probably was a facet of a complex, and ultimately unsuccessful, diplomatic maneuver aiming at building an anti-Ottoman alliance.