Autonomy Lost and Regained: The Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolia of Kyiv, 1633-2019Main MenuIntroductionOverviewExarch of the Apostolic Throne(before 1685)Autonomy Lost(1685 to 1905)The Struggle for Autocephaly(1905 to 2019)the Ukrainian History and Education Centerb536a53657e04c4edda7414158720b005f01afa8This exhibition was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
12021-05-03T14:55:59-04:00Michael Andrecb47dc81430ec8a9df031d1883b5156df4684c67025plain2021-05-14T16:26:54-04:00Michael Andrecb47dc81430ec8a9df031d1883b5156df4684c670The word "Cossack" (in Ukrainian, "Kozak") has referred to a wide variety of people and groups over the centuries, and is laden with far more historical baggage than we can possibly deal with here. In the context of this exhibition, "Cossack" refers to Ruthenians/Ukrainians who settled in the borderland regions in what is now central and southern Ukraine in the 15th and 16th centuries in order to escape taxation and serfdom in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. They developed a military sub-culture and later, as "registered Cossacks", fought for the Polish Crown. Many of them saw themselves as "defenders of the Orthodox faith" from incursions by Catholicism.
For a gentle introduction to this very complex topic, we recommend chapter 8 of The Gates of Europe by the historian Serhii Plokhy.
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1media/balaban-small.jpg2021-02-20T14:36:31-05:00Autonomy under threat50plain2021-05-19T16:15:38-04:00Petro Mohyla's successors Sylvester Kosov (or Kosiv, c.1600–1657, Metropolitan 1647–1657) and Dionisii Balaban (Metropolitan 1657–1663) attempted to maintain the stature of the Kyiv Metropolia in a rapidly changing geopolitical landscape.
Kosov was born into the Ruthenian nobility of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the town of Zhyrovitsy in what is today western Belarus. He became Mohyla's student and colleague, and was a co-founder of the Kyiv-Mohyla Collegium, of which he was prefect from 1631. Kosov's tenure as Metropolitan of Kyiv coincided almost exactly with Khmel'nyts'kyi Rebellion, which began in 1648 as a Cossack uprising within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth led by Hetman Bohdan Khmel'nyts'kyi allied with the Crimean Tatar Khanate. It led to the creation of an independent Cossack Hetmanate in Ukraine. It also resulted in the expulsion or killing of almost all Polish nobles, officials, and Roman Catholic clergy in the lands of present-day Ukraine, as well as widespread massacres of Ukraine's Jewish population.
But perhaps the most pivotal event of this period for Ukraine's modern political history as well as the history of the Kyiv Metropopolia was the Pereiaslav Council of 1654. Since it was in the geopolitical interest of the Crimean Tatars to maintain a state of conflict with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, they withdrew their support at several key moments, preventing Khmel'nyts'kyi from achieving a decisive victory. Looking for alternative military support, he made diplomatic overtures to both the Ottoman Empire as well as to Moscovy. The latter agreed to provide assistance in exchange for the Cossack's allegiance to tsar Alexei I.
In the negotiations that led to the "Pereiaslav Agreement" (or the "Pereiaslav disagreement", as Serhii Plokhy has aptly referred to it), neither party fully comprehended what the other thought that it was agreeing to. Rather than being the "reunification of Ukraine with Russia" portrayed in standard Russian and Soviet history writing, the two sides had very different ideas of the relationship between the two polities: Khmel'nyts'kyi thought he was agreeing to a protectorate, while the tsar assumed he was simply gaining new subjects. The cultural and linguistic gulf between the two sides was so deep that they needed interpreters even for basic communication.
The end product, however, seemed to grant many of the Cossak's demands, including the preservation of the Kyiv Metropolia within the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. However, realpolitik soon took over and set in motion a major reconfiguration of power in Central and Eastern Europe. The resulting Russo-Polish War (1654–1667) led to the Truce of Andrusovo, which formally placed the territory east of the Dnipro River under the control of the tsar. Eventually, this would lead to increasing restrictions on the Hetmanate and the incorporation of Ukraine into the Russian Empire under de facto colonial status, and would even contribute to the demise of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth itself.
Both Kosov and Balaban strongly resisted attempts to subordinate their Metropolia to Moscow and continued to show loyalty to king John Casimir, as can be seen on their antimensia (above).
Balaban was a strong supporter of the 1658 Treaty of Hadiach, a last-ditch effort to maintain the Hetmanate within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Proposed by Hetman Ivan Vyhovs'kyi and written by Yurii Nemyrych (a Western-educated Nontrinitarian Protestant who converted to Orthodoxy) with the assistance of Balaban, the treaty would have, among other things, created a co-equal Grand Duchy of Ruthenia, given the Orthodox Metropolitan of Kyiv and other Orthodox bishops seats in the Commonwealth Senate, and granted the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy the status of a university alongside the Jagiellonian University of Cracow. The treaty was approved in an extremely watered-down form, and it only succeeded in inflaming rank-and-file Cossacks against the nobility and made them even more agreeable to closer ties with Russia.
1media/mohyla-academy-small.jpgmedia/mohyla-academy-bottom.jpg2021-05-05T17:46:40-04:00Mohyla, Ruthenian Educator12plain2021-05-19T16:10:06-04:00 One of Mohyla's greatest impacts is in higher education in the lands of today's Ukraine through the school that would later become the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.
Prior to this school, aristocratic youth would need to attend one of the Polish Jesuit academies, or travel west, where they would often need to convert to Roman Catholicism in order to be allowed to matriculate. Mohyla, who in 1628 had become archimandrite of the Kyiv Monastery of the Caves, received the blessing of the Patriarch of Constantinople in 1631 to found a monastery school.
In a radical move, the school, while Orthodox, would be oriented towards Latin and Polish, not Greek and Slavonic. This put it in the cross-hairs of both the Cossacks and the Jesuits. The latter were furious at this challenge to their educational monopoly — doubly insulting since it came from what they would have considered to be a bunch of unsophisticated Ruthenians. The Cossacks, though, deeply distrusted the teaching of Latin and Polish, and suspected the teachers of Uniate tendencies. While Mohyla was powerless with respect to the Jesuits, he used skillful maneuvering to defuse the potentially explosive situation with respect to his Orthodox coreligionists. He did this by proposing a merger between his Caves school and the school of the Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood, which had been in existence since 1615. This merger, which formed the Collegium Kijoviense, was successfully finalized in 1632 with the full support of the Cossacks. The Collegium's emphasis on Latin and Polish was fundamental to its success. As Mohyla argued in his 1644 work Lithos or Stone, although Greek and Slavonic were needed for religious reasons, as citizens of the Polish Crown, Ruthenians needed to know the languages of sophisticated society, namely Polish and Latin. After all, it would not be right for an aristocrat to address a fellow Senate or Diet member in Greek or Slavonic, or to have to always bring along an interpreter.
Mohyla's Collegium allowed local elites to get a good education close to home and in an Orthodox milieu, thereby preventing their complete Polonization. Amazingly, this Latin and Polish emphasis persisted well into the 18th century after the school had been placed under control of Moscow, and so to some degree it also delayed the effects of Russification.
Perhaps even more importantly, the Collegium raised the level of intellectual life in Kyiv, and helped to dispel any cultural inferiority that the local elite may have felt with respect to the broader Polish society.