Two principal facts dominate the history of Moscow in the second half of the fifteenth century: the winning of independence, and religious emancipation. On the one hand, Moscow shook off the secular yoke of the Tartars and became a State; on the other hand, the Russian Church withdrew from the guardianship of the mother Byzantine Church. Religious aspirations and the awakening of a national consciousness were then intimately bound together and strengthened each other by the interplay of their mutual influences. But, while the Moscow principality was consolidating itself and realizing its desire for political autonomy, the religious situation remained indecisive for a much longer time. The Russian soul felt itself abandoned and ill at ease with the ecclesiastical independence that came to it with the fall of Byzantium. Opposing currents divided popular opinion, and diverse influences sometimes had the most unexpected consequences. We have tried to unravel some of these currents and some of these influences in the pages that follow.