Grandson of Aleksandr Nevsky, Grand Prince of Kyiv and Vladimir, son of the Prince Daniil Aleksandrovich of Moscow. In 1296–1297 – the deputy of his father in Novgorod. In 1304 in the absence of his elder brother Yuri Danilovich, Ivan left for Pereslavl to defend it from Tver Princes. In 1319, Yuri Danilovich got a khan’s yarlyk (charter) of a Grand Prince and left for Novgorod; Ivan remained to govern Moscow.
In 1320, Ivan Danilovich left for the Horde to Khan Özbeg to be approved as the heir of the Moscow Principality.
When in 1325 Yuri Danilovich visited Saray Berke for the second time and again tried to get the yarlyk of the Grand Prince, enraged Prince Dmitry of Tver (the Terrible Eyes) at their personal meeting slashed him to death with a saber. Dmitry was captured and executed by the Khan’s order and the right for the title of the Grand Prince passed to Dmitry’s brother Aleksandr Mikhailovich. Ivan I became the Prince of Muscovy as a successor to his brother Yuri approved by the Khan in 1320.
In the first year of his reign (1325) Ivan secured the transference of the seat of the Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Rus Peter from
Ivan I was a cruel and cunning ruler. He played an important role in strengthening the economic and political alliance of Muscovy and the Golden Horde, for which he collected taxes from all Rus lands.
Together with the Prince of Suzdal, Kalita went to the Tver Principality, where the Tatars burnt down towns and villages and took people into captivity and, as the chronicle states “laid all Rus land devastated.” The Riazan princes with their armies also took part in Kalita’s campaigns, along with the Tatars.
Having got the title of the Prince of Novgorod in 1328, Ivan Kalita began to strengthen his power there as well. In 1331, he came with his army to Novgorodian lands, to the town of Torzhok. There the Prince met the Archbishop Vasily (Kalika), who returned to Novgorod from the Metropolitan Feognost.
With the help of the Metropolitan Ivan made a separate peace with Gediminas, strengthening it with a marriage of his son Simeon Ivanovich with Gediminas’s daughter Augusta.
In 1336, through the mediation of Feognost, Ivan made peace with Novgorod and visited the city. Novgorod declared him its prince and paid money, as it should be, to the Prince of Novgorod.
Ivan I strengthened the
In 1339 Ivan I Kalita put in force an agricultural statute based on Byzantine law.
Under Ivan I, first stone structures appeared in Moscow, in particular the Dormition Cathedral, and the Moscow Kremlin was enclosed with an oaken paling.
Before his death he took monastic vows under the name of Anany and schema.
Buried in the Archangel Michael’s Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin.