Yaroslav Valazakov

Yaroslav Valazakov, known in English as Jason of Constantinople, was a Muscovite emissary to the Byzantine Empire, and later an administrator in the imperial bureaucracy. He fled the conquest of the City in 1453, and accompanied Sophia Palaiologina, niece of the last Byzantine Emperor, Constantine XI, to the court of Ivan III of Russia. There he helped bring Byzantine imperial traditions to the nascent Muscovite empire.
Valazak is first mentioned as an envoy on behalf of the Grand Prince Basil I of Moscow in a record of foreign dignitaries to the imperial court in Constantinople in 1412. It is not known for what reason Valazak was sent to Constantinople, but it is perhaps significant that Emperor John VIII Palaiologos married Basil’s daughter two years later. Valazak apparently decided to remain in the city, for he is mentioned again in 1424 as an administrator of agricultural taxation, under the moniker "Jason Valazak of Moskva" (Moscow), where Jason was used in place of Yaroslav in the Greek-speaking empire. His record in the fighting is not known. At some point during the sack of the city, Valazak fled with other refugees to Italy. Under unknown circumstances, he became attached to the household of Sophia Palaiologina, who was under the care of Pope Paul II after 1460.
Return to Moscow
It is possible that the Pope was looking for just such an individual as Valazak, with ties both to the now extinguished Byzantine Empire and to the rising power of Moscow. In order to bring the Eastern Orthodox Church closer to the Latin Church, the Pope offered Sophia, who was the niece of the last Byzantine Emperor, Constantine XI, in marriage to Ivan III, who had by then become the Grand Prince of Moscow. Valazak was an ideal individual for Paul as he had both served Basil I (Vasiliy I), Ivan’s Grandfather, and Constantine. Regardless of the motives, in 1472 Valazak, who was by now a very aged man, returned to his home country. However, Yaroslav's death is not officially recorded in any court documents, and his final resting place is still questioned.<ref name="WorldCiv"/>
< Prev   Next >