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La «Moscovia» di Antonio Possevino SJ. Il resoconto di una missione impossibile

Giovanni Maniscalco Basile


The mission of the papal legate Antonio Possevino SJ in Muscovy in 1582 aimed at bringing back the Russia of Ivan IV «The Terrible» into the Roman Catholic Church and at winning it over to an alliance of Christian princes willing to make war on the Sublime Door. The mission failed on both counts and Possevino gave a detailed account of it in his work «Muscovy.» This article tries to reconstruct the reasons for that failure by starting from Possevino’s report in which it is evident that he had not fully understood the reasons that made his mission impossible to achieve. Possevino’s mission was doomed from the start and not just for matters of faith. It was, above all, for the political effects that the issue of faith would entail: the risk to the Prince of being abandoned by his people, of losing his people’s support – something always linked to the «symbolic» purity of the Orthodox faith, a consensus which could have been shattered after a union with Rome.


Christian Princes, Jesuits, Orthodox faith, Religious education, Roman Church, Chiesa romana, Educazione religiosa, Fede ortodossa, Gesuiti, Principi Cristiani

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Copyright (c) 2014 Journal of Educational, Cultural and Psychological Studies (ECPS Journal) – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie


Journal of Educational, Cultural and Psychological Studies (ECPS)
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (19/05/2010 n. 278)
Online ISSN 2037-7924 - Print ISSN 2037-7932

Research Laboratory on Didactics and Evaluation - Department of Education - "Roma Tre" University

Executive Editor: Gaetano Domenici - Managing  Editor: Valeria Biasci
Editorial Board: Giuditta Alessandrini - Eleftheria Argyropoulou - Massimo Baldacci - Joao Barroso - Richard Bates - Christofer Bezzina - Paolo Bonaiuto - Lucia Boncori - Pietro Boscolo - Sara Bubb  - Carlo Felice Casula - Jean-Émile Charlier - Lucia Chiappetta Cajola - Carmela Covato - Jean-Louis Derouet - Peter Early - Franco Frabboni - Constance Katz - James Levin - Pietro Lucisano  - Roberto Maragliano - Romuald Normand - Michael Osborne - Donatella Palomba - Michele Pellerey - Clotilde Pontecorvo - Vitaly V. Rubtzov - Jaap Scheerens - Noah W. Sobe - Francesco Susi - Giuseppe Spadafora - Pat Thomson
Editorial Staff: Fabio Alivernini - Guido Benvenuto - Anna Maria Ciraci - Massimiliano Fiorucci - Luca Mallia - Massimo Margottini - Giovanni Moretti - Carla Roverselli 
Editorial Secretary:
Nazarena Patrizi