The idea of the New Jerusalem comes from the Book of Revelations in the Bible. It is the recreation of Jerusalem as a home of the saints.
The concept had a special meaning in relation to Moscow. After the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in the fifteenth century, Orthodox Christians were looking for a new centre for their faith. Soon Moscow began to be known as the Third Rome. In 1510 the Russian monk Philoteus of Pskov wrote: "Two Romes have fallen. The third stands. And there will be no fourth." As this quote shows, Russia being the Third Rome had apocalyptic rather than imperial overtones. The Orthodox Church at this time felt that its faith - the true faith - was under great threat, both from the Ottoman Empire and from the 'heretical' Catholics. Moscow was therefore seen as the last stronghold of the true religion. This embattled feeling was obviously revived by Napoleon's invasion.