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.
12021-05-19T15:53:13-04:00Michael Andrecb47dc81430ec8a9df031d1883b5156df4684c67023plain2021-05-19T15:55:51-04:00Michael Andrecb47dc81430ec8a9df031d1883b5156df4684c670Often mis-translated in history writing as "Russia" and "Russian", these terms derive from the medieval term "Rus'" or "Rhos", which applied to the large state that was centered around Kyiv from the 9th to the 13th centuries. After the sacking of Kyiv by the Mongols in 1240, the western portion of that vast territory located in what is now Ukraine and Belarus would eventually come under Polish control. The people of that region, however, continued to refer to themselves as "Rus'", which was reflected in the official Polish and later Austro-Hungarian terminology. To avoid anachronism, we use the term "Ruthenian" or "Ruthenian/Ukrainian" to refer to this ethnic group in the context of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
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1media/baptism-of-rus-vasnetsov-crop.jpg2021-02-20T14:06:11-05:00Prologue: Before 163330plain2021-05-19T15:56:38-04:00Kyiv and Constantinople have been connected spiritually from the start. As early as the mid-9th century the people of Kyivan Rus', the medieval principality settled by East Slavs but generally ruled by Vikings, had a significant relationship with Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. In 858-860 a group of the Rus', then still pagans, sailed across the Black Sea to attack Constantinople, but ultimately were driven back.
Although Patriarch Photius of Constantinople reported sending a missionary bishop to the Rus' in the aftermath of this attack, the mass conversion of Rus' to Christianity would not come until 987-988, when Grand Prince Volodymyr of Kyiv agreed to be baptized and decreed that his lands should convert to Christianity. The Baptism of Rus' marked the founding of the Church province known as the Metropolia of Kyiv. Eparchies were created and bishops appointed to them as the jurisdiction grew in size and in territory.
Throughout the period of Kyivan Rus', bishops continued to be appointed from Constantinople to administer spiritual matters in its territory. As the Great Schism developed from the mid-11th through the 13th centuries, the Church of Kyiv remained under the formal jurisdiction of Constantinople, though with considerable local autonomy. In 1240, however, Kyiv fell to the Mongols, and a period of chaos ensued.
By the mid-14th century the last surviving remnant of an independent Rus', the Kingdom of Rus', had come under the rule of an expanding Poland, and eventually the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Latin Rite Catholic dioceses were created, political privileges were denied to the Ruthenian gentry and clergy, and efforts were made to convert the populace from Orthodoxy to Catholicism.
It was against this backdrop that the inheritors of the Kyiv Metropolia diverged into three streams. The ecclesiastical provinces to the northeast, in Muscovy (today's Russia), declared jurisdictional independence and established their own Patriarch of Moscow in 1448, which was ultimately recognized by Constantinople in 1589. Within today's Ukraine, however, opinion was split between those who felt that a revival of the Orthodox Church in union with Constantinople was paramount, while others sought accommodation with the Catholic Poles and the creation of an Eastern Rite Catholic Church. It was this third group, known at that time as the "Uniates," that was dominant at the dawn of the 16th century. Metropolitan Michael Rahoza of Kyiv and other hierarchs of the Church of Rus' agreed to a union with Rome, known as the "Union of Brest", in 1595–1596. This became what later would be called the Greek Catholic Church — a church under the authority of the Pope, Catholic in doctrine, but observing the liturgical practices and customs of the Eastern Rite, including married clergy. For several decades thereafter, Greek Catholics were in the ascendancy, and St. Sophia Cathedral became the seat of a Greek Catholic Metropolia of Kyiv.
There remained many in Ukraine who did not agree to the Church's acceptance of Catholic doctrine. These included the "brotherhoods", groups of lay well-to-do townspeople who sought to cultivate academic and theological learning. Among their leaders was the magnate Kostiantyn Ostrozhs'kyi, who founded an academy and who had previously supported the publication of the first printed Slavonic Bible in 1581 (one of which is in the permanent collection of the UHEC). This ultimately led to an "illegal" re-establishment of an Orthodox episcopal hierarchy in 1620.
The Polish king Władysław IV, responding to a variety of political pressures, legalized the Orthodox Church in 1632 by signing the "Measures for the Accommodation of Citizens of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania of the Ruthenian Nation and the Greek Faith", and in 1633 Petro Mohyla became the first Orthodox Metropolitan of Kyiv to be recognized by the Polish Crown.
The history (and historiography) of this time period is extremely complex and well beyond the scope of this exhibition. For a scholarly but still quite readable account of the formation of Russian and Ruthenian/Ukrainian national identities, in which religion and ecclesiastical structures played a major role, we recommend the book "The Origins of the Slavic Nations: Premodern Identities in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus" by the Harvard historian Serhii Plokhy.
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.