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The Trinity monastery founded by Sergius of Radonezh became the setting for the flourishing of spiritual art, exemplified by the work of Andrey Rublev, among others.
The followers of Sergius founded four hundred monasteries, thus greatly extending the geographical extent of the Grand Duchy of Moscow.
New sects sprang up, some of which showed a tendency to revert to Mosaic law: for instance, the archpriest Aleksei converted to Judaism after meeting a certain Zechariah the Jew.
In the 1540s, Metropolitan Macarius codified Russian hagiography and convened a number of church synods, which culminated in the Hundred Chapter Council of 1551.
There is evidence that the first Christian bishop was sent to Novgorod from Constantinople either by Patriarch Photius or Patriarch Ignatios, c. By the mid-10th century, there was already a Christian community among Kievan nobility, under the leadership of Byzantine Greek priests, although paganism remained the dominant religion.
The official Christianization of Kievan Rus' widely seen as the birth of the ROC is believed to have occurred in 988 through the baptism of the Kievan prince Vladimir and his people by the clergy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate whose constituent part the ROC remained for the next six centuries, while the Kievan see remained in the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate until 1686.
The Kievan church was a junior metropolitanate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Ecumenical patriarch appointed the metropolitan, who usually was a Greek, who governed the Church of Rus'.
The Metropolitan's residence was originally located in Kiev itself, the capital of the medieval Rus' state.
Subsequently, there developed a theory in Moscow that saw Moscow as the Third Rome, the legitimate successor to Constantinople, and the Primate of the Moscow Church as head of all the Russian Church.
Meanwhile, the newly established in 1458 Russian Orthodox (initially Uniate) metropolitanate in Kiev (then in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and subsequently in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth) continued under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical See until 1686, when it was transferred to the jurisdiction of Moscow.