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THEODORE (Rus. Fedor, or Feodor), the name of three tsars of Russia.

Theodore I. (1557–1598), tsar of Russia, the son of Ivan the Terrible and Anastasia Romanova, nominally succeeded his father in 1584, but being of weak intellect was governed throughout his reign by the boyar, Boris Godunov, whose sister Irene he married in IS8O. On his death-bed he is said to have left the throne to his consort, with the Patriarch Job, Boris Godunov, and Theodore Romanov, afterwards the Patriarch Philaret, as her chief counsellors. Irene, however, retired into a monastery and her brother Boris stepped into her place.

See S. M. Solovev, History of Russia (Rus.), vol. viii. (Petersburg, 1895, &c.).

Theodore II. (1589–1605), tsar of Russia, was the son of Tsar Boris Godunov and one of the daughters of Malyuta-Skuratov, the infamous favourite of Ivan the Terrible. Passionately beloved by his father, he received the best available education for those days, and from childhood was initiated into all the minutiae of government, besides sitting regularly in the council and receiving the foreign envoys. He seems also to have been remarkably and precociously intelligent, and the first map of Russia by a native, still preserved, is by his hand. On the sudden death of Boris he was proclaimed tsar (13th of April 1605). Though his father had taken the precaution to surround him with powerful friends, he lived from the first moment of his reign in an atmosphere of treachery. On the 1st of July the envoys of Pseudo-Demetrius I. arrived at Moscow to demand his removal, and the letters which they read publicly in the Red Square decided his fate. On the 10th of July he was most foully murdered in his apartments in the Kreml.

See D. I. Ilovaisky, The Anarchical Period in the Realm of Moscovy (Rus) (Moscow, 1894).

Theodore III. (1661–1682), tsar of Russia, was the eldest surviving son of Tsar Alexius and Maria Miloslavskaya. In 1676 he succeeded his father on the throne. He was endowed with a fine intellect and a noble disposition; he had received an excellent education at the hands of Simeon Polotsky, the most learned Slavonic monk of the day, knew Polish, and even possessed the unusual accomplishment of Latin; but, horribly disfigured and half paralyzed by a mysterious disease, supposed to be scurvy, he had been a hopeless invalid from the day of his birth. In 1679 he married his first cousin Agatha and assumed the sceptre. His native energy, though crippled, was not crushed by his terrible disabilities; and he soon showed that he was as thorough and devoted a reformer as a man incompetent to lead armies and obliged to issue his orders from his litter, or his bed-chamber, could possibly be. The atmosphere of the court ceased to be oppressive; the light of a new liberalism shone in the highest places; and the severity of the penal laws was considerably mitigated. He founded the academy of sciences in the Zaikonospassy monastery, where everything not expressly forbidden by the orthodox church, including Slavonic, Greek, Latin and Polish, was to be taught by competent professors. The chief difference between the Theodorean and the later Petrine reforms was that while the former were primarily, though not exclusively, for the benefit of the church, the latter were primarily for the benefit of the state. The most notable reform of Theodore III., however, was the abolition, at the suggestion of Vasily Golitsuin, of Myestiieclzestvo, or “place priority,” which had paralyzed the whole civil and military administration of Muscovy for generations (see Golisuin). Henceforth all appointments to the civil and military services were to be determined by merit and the will of the sovereign. Theodore's consort, Agatha, shared his-progressive views. She was the first to advocate beard shearing. On her death (4th of July 1681) Theodore married Martha Apraksina. He died on the 27th of April 1682, without issue.

See M. P. Pogodin, The First Seventeen Years of the Life of Peter the Great (Rus.) (Moscow, 1875).