The Kyiv Orthodox Metropolia in the Eighteenth Century: Identity of the Ecclesiastic Elite and Their Donations


Oksana Prokopyuk (National Preserve “Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra”, Kyiv)




18:15 Central European Summer Time


Campus Westend and Zoom Meeting

The eighteenth century saw the withdrawal of the Kyiv Orthodox Metropolia from the obedience of Constantinople and its integration into the Imperial Synodal Church. While much of the focus of scholarship was on the legislative sphere, research into the inner life of the church and parish practices makes it incontestably clear that the absorption of the Ukrainian church into the Synodal Church was unsuccessful. The clergy defended ancient rights and traditional ways of life, often ignoring the Synod’s prescriptions. The Kyiv metropolia of the eighteenth century remained strongly committed to tradition, which raises important questions concerning the reaction of the Kyiv church elite to external reforms and imperial policy as well as concerning its self-image and identity. These emerge in books and libraries; in literary tastes; as well as in saintly cults and the veneration of shrines, among others. This talk will shed light on practices and strategies related to religious donations by clergymen as a vantage point to investigate this self-perception of the region’s spiritual elite. The archimandrite of Kiey-Pechersk Lavra, Zosima (Valkevych), figures as a unique example of how identities were shaped and of how standards were set in the process for investment practices on behalf of the elite of religious orders in the second half of the eighteenth century, raising questions and prospects for further research into the Kyiv Orthodox metropolia within a wider European context.

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