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Zosimus of Moscow

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Zosimus, also Zosimus the Bearded, (Зосима Брадатый in Russian), was Metropolitan of Moscow and all Russia from 1490 to 1494. He was confronted with the Judaizer heresy almost immediately after being installed as metropolitan.

The date of Zosimus’ birth and his life before he was an archimandrite of the Simonovsky Monastery in Moscow are not known. Six months after the death of the Metropolitan of Moscow Gerontius, in early 1490, he was selected by Grand Prince Ivan III as Gerontius’ successor. Zosimus was elected metropolitan by decision of the council of the Russian bishops following Ivan III direction. This was the first time since Hilarion of Kiev that the ruling bishop in Russia was elected locally.

Zosimus’ time as metropolitan was over shadowed by the Judaizer heresy that Abp. Gennady of Novgorod had uncovered in Novgorod and that had moved to Moscow. In 1490, Gennady wrote to Zosimus and other bishops of the Russian church demanding that a council be convened to deal with the heresy. The council was convened less than a month after Zosimus had been elevated to metropolitan. The heresy was condemned, and Gennady who had admired how the King of Spain dealt with the heretics under the Spanish Inquisition, demanded that the heretics be punished by hanging or burning, not just imprisonment. However, Metr. Zosimus and Grand Prince Ivan III opposed these harsh measures.

The shadow of heresy continued to follow Zosimus. Later, he was accused of being a secret heretic and was deposed as metropolitan on charges of heresy and sodomy on May 17, 1494. He died shortly after, before any trial was held.

Zosimus is noted to have compiled a list of banned books and to have written an epistle against heretics.

Preceded by:
Gerontius
Metropolitan of Moscow
1490-1494
Succeeded by:
Symeon

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