Saint Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia († 1326) was a spiritual ascetic, icon painter and monk. He played key roles in the liberation of the Slavs from Mongol occupation and in the foundation of Moscow as the religious and political capital of Russia. Since the tenth century the centre of the Russian Orthodox Church had been in Kiev, the ancient capital of Rus. Later it was briefly in Vladimir. When Peter became Metropolitan Russia was a chaotic mix of warring principalities and Mongol oppression. He formed an alliance with Prince Ivan Kalita of Moscow whom he believed capable of liberating and uniting Russia. Ivan - we can call him Tsar Ivan I - began to turn the hitherto obscure principality of Moscow into a religious centre by building the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael and, the Cathedral of the Assumption, today principle attractions for visitors to the Kremlin. Through Peter flowed both the violence and politics that gave birth to the Russian state and the influences of Byzantine mysticism and theology.
An icon of similar type and form (with an older silver covering) of Saint Ioann, Metropolitan of Moscow, is exhibited in the Novgorod Museum, identified as ‘From the vestry of Saint Sophia Cathedral’ (Fig. 1).