Who Was Patriarch Joasaphus (1634–40) in His Worldly Life?

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doi 10.28995/2073-0101-2023-3-651-662

Usachev, Andrej S.

Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russian Federation

Who Was Patriarch Joasaphus (1634–40) in His Worldly Life?


The article is devoted to the patriarch Joasaphus I’s (1634–40) origin and status in worldly life. Earlier he was the abbot of the Pskov-Caves Monastery (1621–27) and the Pskov archbishop (1627–34). Joasaphus became the metropolitan after the death of Philaret (Romanov) (1619–33). The researchers noted that they had a close relationship. The only earlier known historical source informing of Joasaphus’s origin is the Chronograph of the Astrakhan archbishop Pachomius (mid-17th century). It reports that Joasaphus was a descendant of servitors of Boyar scions (deti boyarskie). His parents’ names in religion (Julia and Bogolep) are known to researchers from the Synodic of the Cornelius Komelski monastery. The author of the article has managed to find new data. Synodic of the Yaroslavl Transfiguration of the Savior Monastery notes Joasaphus’s secular name: Ivan Borisov, son of Tonky (the Thin). The author has also established that, prior to taking his monastic vows (1609), Ivan made a donation (a 16th century manuscript) to the Siya Monastery of St. Antonius to commemorate his parents. In 1601–05 Philaret lived in this monastery in exile. Ivan’s father, Boris (Bogolep), might have lived in this monastery with him. The record of donation mentions Ivan’s status: he was a Boyar scion of the Rostov metropolitan Philaret. Considering absence of the names of Ivan and his father in the list of servitors of the Rostov metropolitan’s house (1591/92), the author supposes that Ivan had been connected with Philaret before the latter became the Rostov metropolitan. Probably he was a servitor of the Romanovs (aristocrats like Fedor Nikitich Romanov had a lot of them). Ivan might have taken the monastic vows in the Solovetsky monastery (ca. 1611-12) after his overlord Philaret had been captured by the Poles. After his returning in Moscow thanks to his relationship with Philaret, Joasaphus made a successful church career. Ivan/Joasaphus’s interest in books might have been instrumental in this. His donation to the monastery was not typical for a representative of service class people. As a rule, they donated the Gospel, Psalter, Menaion to churches and monasteries. Ivan possibly inherited his interest in books from his father. The Gift book of the Siya Monastery of St. Antonius informs that monk Bogolep (probably, the father of the future patriarch) gave no less than 6 books to the monastery in late 16th century. The research is based on the colophons, Synodics, Commemoration books of the Russian monasteries.


Russian history, church history, 17th century, church hierarchy, clergy, episcopate, church council, patriarch Joasaphus I (1634–40), patriarch Philaret (1619–33), Siya Monastery of St. Antonius, Solovetsky Monastery, historical sources.

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About the authors

Usachev Andrei Sergeevich, professor of the Russian Academy of Sciences, PhD in History, associate professor, Russian State University for the Humanities, department of history and theory of historical science, professor, Moscow, Russian Federation, +7 917-540-4379, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Grant information

The research has been prepared with the financial support of the Russian Science Foundation (project no. 20-18-00218), https://rscf.ru/project/20-18-00218/

Submitted 30.05.2023, published (for citation):

USACHEV, A. S. Kem byl v miru patriarkh Ioasaf I (1634–1640 gg.)? [Who Was Patriarch Joasaphus (1634–40) in His Worldly Life? In Russ.]. IN: Vestnik arhivista / Herald of an Archivist, 2023, no. 3, pp. 651-662. doi 10.28995/2073-0101-2023-3-651-662

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