|HETMAN BOHDAN KHMELNYSTKY’S
PRIORITIES OF FOREIGN POLICY AND THE UKRAINIAN CHURCH IN THE FIRST HALF OF 17TH CENTURY
The article expounds the main foreign policy priorities of hetman B. Khmelnytksy and outlines the situation of Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Metropolitanate) during his hetmanate. It’s proved that conclusion of the political union with Moscow tsarism (Treaty of Pereyaslav, 1654) affect adversely on the further state-building processes of Ukraine and was the first real step on the way to the incorporation of Kyiv Metropolitanate into the Moscow patriarchate that was completed in 1686 during Ivan Samoylovych’s hetmanate.
Keywords: Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Kyiv Metropolitanate, The Moscow Patriarchy, incorporation, polonizing, russification.
ГЕТМАНА БОГДАНА ХМЕЛЬНИЦКОГО И УКРАИНСКАЯ ЦЕРКОВЬ В ПЕРВОЙ ПОЛОВИНЕ XVII ВЕКА
У статье истолковано основные направления и приоритеты внешней политики гетмана Б. Хмельницкого, проанализировано состояние Украинской православной Церкви (Киевской митрополии) в период его гетманства. Доказано, что провозглашение политического союза с московским царатом (Переяславское соглашение 1654гр.) оказало негативное влияние на последующие государственно созидательные процессы Украины, ознаменовав первый деятельный шаг на пути к инкорпорации Киевской митрополии в состав Московского патриархата 1686 г. за гетманства Ивана Самойловича.
Ключевые слова: Украинская православная церковь, Киевская митрополия, Московская патриархия, инкорпорация.
Actualization of the events of “formidable XVII century” is determined by numerous factors, the key position among them belongs to the idea of Ukraine’s sovereignty. The idea of sovereignty and conciliarism of a state requires not only a theoretical grounding but also the search of historical and titular models of its realization. Complex and controversial processes of XVII century, political relapses of which for more than three centuries made their clear imprint on formation and development of Ukrainian state church. There is no need to mention that they worry the life out even till now.
We see that the foreign political centre’s permanent influence potentiates an atmosphere of ideological and political divergences between Ukrainian people as well as the foreign spiritual centre’s ideological and ecclesiastic dictatorship provokes dogmatic and canonic contradictions in the environment of Ukrainian Orthodox believers. Stereotypes of agnostic thinking, politic and ideological bias of those, who are called to conduct the state policy in different spheres of social life of Ukraine, especially in religious also worry the life out.
It’s obvious that all these divergences, opposition, divisions and impossibility to accept vectorially-oriented ideologies originated in XVII century when under different slogans an irreconcilable struggle for national and religious self-determination of Ukrainian nation was held. It started with a fight against religious prevalence of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and ended up with a military and political conflict with an assistance of many countries and eventually a colonization of Ukraine for more than three hundred years, starting from the Treaty of Pereyaslav, signed in 1654.
Undoubtedly this period was tragic for Ukraine. The loss of independence, total offensive over Ukrainian culture, education, science, economy – and it’s still an incomplete list of sad consequences of “Ukraine-Russia union of 1654”. It’s fair to admit that Moscow long before the Treaty of Pereyaslav tried to spread its political influence in Europe for account of annexation of Ukrainian and Byelorussian lands and hoped to achieve a success by means of Kyiv Metropolitanate’s submission. For this reason Moscow objected to the union between Ukrainian Church and Rome, and later desperately flayed it together with Roman Catholic bishops who rapidly disappointed in the union as it didn’t become “the means of polonizing and conversion into Catholic faith” for what the government of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth hoped.
However Moscow was still unable to incorporate the Ukrainian Church. At that time Moscow patriarchy didn’t have neither political value, nor power to oppose itself openly to Constantinople patriarchy. According to A. Mohylnytsky, patriarchy “was consoling its independence and faithful serving the interests of a country that as a result of expansionist wars “was enlarged” by Novgorod and Ryazan, kingdoms of Astrahan and Kazan, Urals and Siberia and was enriched due to subdued nations”[11, 52]. Moreover it’s worth reminding that hierarchy of the Kyiv Orthodox Metropolitanate was headed by great reformers, devotees of faith and piety – Petro Mohyla, and his successor – Silvester Kosov. They’ve cared not only for the rebirth of an internal life of the Kyiv Metropolitanate but also asserting pro-Ukrainian national standpoints, tried to return Kyiv its historical status of spiritual and cultural capital of Ukraine. It’s not widely discussed even among contemporary researchers. However Russian historians not without purpose accent on the fact that “as soon as metropolitan Petro Mohyla quit the scene (died in 1647), Bohdan Khmelnytsky immediately (in 1648) became a hetman and irrepressible movement concerning “Russian question” began”. In our opinion, this became the source where most of the politicallyHYPERLINK "http://multitran.ru/c/m.exe?t=5391372_1_2" HYPERLINK "http://multitran.ru/c/m.exe?t=5391372_1_2"committed researchers draw the ideological passion to affirm that Bohdan Khmelnytsky’s activity “had an extreme importance for the historical destiny of contemporary Ukrainian and Russian nations”. Hence, it’s not a surprise that majority of historians are inclined to characterize B. Khmelnytsky as a great founder and constructor of a new state, its protector [14, 312]. In historiography, especially the Soviet one, hetman is presented as a prominent commander, talented diplomat and first-class statesman [12, 87]. In diametrically opposite way the researchers of that period portrayed for example Petro Doroshenko – hetman of Right-bank Ukraine, and for the period of 1668 hetman of “both banks”. Apropos of this V. Karnacevych passed a quite neat judgment: “Soviet historiography presented Petro Doroshenko in a completely different light – he was described as adventurer, traitor of national interests of Ukraine” [5, 5]. In fact, hetman P. Doroshenko like his predecessor I. Vyhovsky, gave his life for national consolidation of Ukraine that turned out to be not enough to amend B. Khmelnytsky’s fatal political mistake – Ukraine’s transfer under the protectorship of Moscow in 1654.
There have already been written a lot of works devoted to the figure of B. Khmelnytsky and his Treaty of Pereyaslav in 1654. At the same time the majority of them is selected in such way so that they completely correspond to tsarist ideological context and almost don’t take into accent the perspectives of Ukrainian national process of state formation. And it’s at the time when the idea of state sovereignty always required profound reasoning based on historical past of each nation. Revaluation of a word and a position of those who were obtrusively posed as “prominent” in Soviet times, is necessary taking into consideration only a fact that contemporary pseudo-elite who in fact is too far from national and state interests doesn’t have time to evaluate historical figures and their actions critically and use those Soviet “concepts” (actually clichés) to propagandize their political course and party activity.
In this article we will try to find out whether in deed B. Khmelnytsky who proclaimed himself a hetman of the whole Ukraine did everything possible so that Moscow tsarist’s plans were fully realized as soon as possible, and also what place in hetman’s state policy was assigned to the issue of the Ukrainian Church’s independence. We aspire to analyze the essence of hetman’s church and religious policy and find out in what lies its major priorities not denying his services as a statesman who was politically broadminded person and a gifted commander. For this reason the following tasks are outlined:
- to provide a brief characteristic of hetman’s political course and to find out what was the attitude of spiritual leadership of Ukrainian Church towards his political diplomacy that ended up with the Treaty of Pereyaslav;
- to interpret the role and place of the Orthodox hierarchy in social and political processes during Khmelnytsky’s hetmanate;
- to analyze the consequences of hetman B. Khmelnystky’s political course to preserve Ukrainian national, church, spiritual and cultural originality.
The ranks of Cossacks Bohdan Khmelnytsky (1595 – 1657) joined approximately in 1620’s. There is an information that young Bohdan together with his father and Cossacks at that very time waged a war against Moldova. It’s most likely to be truth as sources certifies that after the defeat in the Battle of Cecora, they both were in Turkish captivity [12, 88].
On returning from Istanbul at the age of thirty, he married Hanna Somko and even tried to manage a household: “started building a new home with a surrounding wall”. In fact at the time when most Ukrainians were suffering from social oppression, serfdom and religious humiliation, Khmelnytsky was solacing himself with his estate in Subotiv near Chyhyryn that was given to him as a present [14, 314].
Thorough analysis of the sources suggests that B. Khmelnytsky belonged to that Cossack sergeant major that considered an agreement between Zaporozhian Cossacks and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to be quite possible. However, in 1638 Polish government adopted a decision to cancel the autonomy of Zaporozhian Cossacks and resolved to subject them to government’s own military power in Ukraine. As a result Bohdan Khmelnytsky lost his position of military scribe (institution of Zaporozhian Cossacks’ general scribe was canceled) and for this reason swelled the ranks of sotniks of Chyhyryn regiment. It could not but affect neither future hetman’s nor Zaporozhian Cossaks’ change of political attitude towards the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. “From Ukrainian history” we find out that “Khmelnytsky appeared on the historical ground because he also was a victim of Polish landlord’s arbitrariness … Deputy elder of Chyhyryn, Mr. Chaplynsky liked Subotiv and he in the absence of Khmelnytsky seized an estate by force; at the same time he killed Khmelnytsky’s little son and took his wife. Then Khmelnytsky having lost his possessions, wife and younger son began to seek protection from Senate and king. But instead of justified solution he received only derision and mockery and after all he was imprisoned and sentenced to death” [14, 314]. Thus, if Polish government met his complaint, who knows against whom and on whose side a renowned hetman would fight.
In December, 1647 B. Khmelnytsky escapes from a prison in Bachynsk and reaches Zaporizhia. “I brought to you my heart and soul – please hide me, your old companion ” – the future hetman was begging [14, 414]. In reply Cossacks convened the Great Rada where B. Khmelnytsky made a passionate speech about “Jesuits’ desecration on the Orthodox church and clergymen”, about the Poles’ outrage upon Cossack liberty and extortion by “damned Jewish people”. Being touched by Khmelytsky’s rhetoric delegate of each kuren addressed to him saying : “Glory and honor to you, Bohdan! The Lord himself has sent you to us so that you led us against the landlords, and everyone standing here is ready to lay his head for our sacred duty” [12, 90-91]. Consequently, Bohdan Khmelnytsky was proclaimed the hetman of Zaporozhian Cossacks and received hetman ensigns.
At Christmas, 1648 Bohdan Khmelnytsky as “prominent ruler and prince of Rus” accompanied by patriarch of Jerusalem Paisius and several priests and monks and also Kyiv intelligentsia solemnly rode in Kyiv. This triumph was considered as a rise of a new Cossack and hetman country, Khmelnytsky’s country. But in fact, it was a beginning of a sad end in the history of the Ukrainian country and Church. First of all B. Khmelnytsy in this case secured foreign patriarch-emissary’s aid, instead of Ukrainian metropolitan Silvester Kosov’s benediction (1647 – 1657), and secondly someone had to protect and build up a new country however as we know not all Cossack sergeant major supported Khmelnytsky’s political plans (suffice it to mention only the name of influential Cossack colonel Ivan Bohun). All this not only complicated but also openly slowed down recognition of a country and providing a worthy place on the Europe political map of that time. Formation of an new independent country contradicted first of all the plans of Northern neighbor – Moscow. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Turks and Tatars also didn’t intend to cede Ukraine.
To protect his own country B. Khmelnytsky tried to organize several futile coalitions with Turks and Muscovites. To ask for Moscow’s aid Khmelnytsky began immediately after Tatars’ treason in the Battle of Zhvanec (1653). After defeat Khmelnytsky was forced to retreat. Having disposed his regiments far from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s borders, he meanwhile sends “ambassador after ambassador” to receive an answer – “whether His Serene Highness tsar of Moscow will take Ukraine under his protection” [7, 54].
However Moscow didn’t hurry to come to the rescue of neither hetman nor Zaporozhian Cossacks, nor Ukrainian people of one religion. Moscow was waiting and watching with pleasure the fall of Ukrainian nation, destruction of its economy, cultural heritage etc. Famous Russian researcher V. Klyuchevsky equitably pointed out: “Throughout six years Moscow with a firm curiosity was looking closely at the decline of Khmelnytsky’s politics and after all when Ukraine was completely devastated, take it under their protection” [8, 150]. Analyzing historiography from this side of a problem, G. Mohylnytska notices that Russian researcher speaks of Moscow quite tactfully [11, 53]. However M. Hrushevsky more adequately gives a response to this situation. Historian in particular was writing: “Moscow politicians gave Zaporozhian Cossacks and Poland an opportunity to reach mutual collapse for the purpose of appearing lossless before two bloodless adversaries and take Ukraine not as an equal ally but as a subworker that could be reduced to a role of a subjected “villein” [3, 760]. At the same time taking into account the words of both scholars we can clearly see real “fraternal” aid of Moscow tsarism to Ukraine.
Finally on December, 1st 1653 in Moscow tsar Oleksiy Mykhailovych convened Zemsky sobor of all Moscow ranks where the resolution about taking “hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky and all Zaporozhian Cossacks with their towns and lands” under political trusteeship [12, 96]. After sobor tsar sent a legation to Ukraine – boyard Butulin, okolnychy Alferyev and duma deacon Lopuhin who had to consolidate Ukraine’s transfer “under the sovereign’s strong hand”.
Ambassadors reached Pereyaslav on December 31st, 1653 where they were met by Pereyaslav colonel Pavlo Teterya. Hetman himself arrived to Chyhyryn in the evening on January 6th, 1654. In the morning of January 8th, he hold a secret council with Cossack sergeant major and colonels where he persuaded present Cossacks to pass tsar’s project [3, 734]. B. Khmelnytsky delivered a harangue and told the members of council how enemies “persecute God’s Church and excite the malice of all the Christian believers of our Eastern Orthodoxy” [16, 573], how he together with his Zaporozhian Cossacks have already been living for 6 years “without sovereign in constant battles and bloodshed with our oppressors and enemies who want to exterminate God’s Church…” . Finishing his harangue, hetman made an accent on the fact that “… Orthodox Christian sovereign, tsar of East is of our piety, Greek law, confession; we are of one church body with Russian Orthodoxy, with our Lord – Jesus Christ above us. This great sovereign, Christian tsar… who had his merciful head on us, and by His Serene Highness’ favor ordered to send to us the high-ranking officials of his; … if we love him with all our hearts then we won’t find more comfortable shelter than his hands; if someone disagrees with us, he is free to go wherever he wants” [16, 574-575]. It should be mentioned that a harangue was interpreted vaguely. Not all the Cossack colonels supported hetman, not to mention the spiritual leaders of the Ukrainian Church. Kyiv metropolitan Silvester Kosov’s reply to V. Buturlin serves as evidence. Buturlin insisted that Protohierarch with his clergy of a parish also swore allegiance to Moscow tsar. Ukrainian archbishop firmly declared: “I’m not aware of correspondence between hetman and sovereign”. N. Polonska writes that it’s enough to understand “what status had the Church in Cossack Hetmanate” [13, 149].
It’s obvious that B. Khmelnytsky’s speech had rhetoric character. Everything has already been decided: tsar is to become a military ally and even a protector considering the critical situation of that time. Hetman’s telling speech was aimed at satisfying the ambassadors and through them tsar’s vanity and proud self-esteem though the speech concealed a deeper task. To our convictions, B. Khmelnytsky first of all aspired to remove hesitation of the majority of Cossacks present on the square and to convince of inexpediency of other motions suggested by diplomat who were not initiated in secrets. However, the odds were in his favor: on the whole sergeant major with whom a conversation was conducted beforehand were standing alongside hetman. No one, except citizens of Pereyaslav, needed to be convinced of the necessity of hetman’s political choice [12, 96].
Reaction of close to sergeant major’s surroundings was prepared in advance: they scanned the slogan about subjection to Orthodox tsar. S. Solovyov puts a particular stress on this moment, asserting as if “all the people cried out: “We want East Orthodox star’s subjection!” [16, 574]. Whatever it was, ambassadors desired to hear it and they’ve heard, having noted in a report: “Cossacks and commoners bowed to tsar’s hand”. V. Buturlin handed over hetman (at the inn) royal charter and made a speech about tsar’s generosity, his compassion for and promise to protect it from all the enemies. Hence, on receiving assertive exclamation in Moscow favor from all the present on the square, V. Buturlin demanded so that Ukrainian peasants swore allegiance to Moscow tsar. For this purpose delegates from both parties went to Holy Dormition cathedral for a solemn proclamation of an oath according to tsar’s instructions and directions. Reporting in Moscow about his political achievements in Ukraine, V. Buturlin was depicting idyllic scenes of a council in Pereyaslav. He was asserting that “great number of people of different ranks” – emphasizing – gave an oath in Dormition cathedral, crying, exulting and praising God and tsar at the same time [10, 20-21].
It’s worth noticing that this overgalvanized description of the events in Pereyaslav was considered as the only authentic scientific and objective fact and for a long time it was crammed down the throat of those people who belonged to “homo sovieticus”. Famous theoretician of the state school of Ukrainian historians V. Lypynsky made a neat remark that it was way how “Pereyaslav legend” [10, 24] appeared. First the ideological inspirers of it were tsar’s ambassadors and later Ukrainian political pseudo-elite that owing to the legend received all rights and privileges of Russian leaders because they pretended as if supported tsar without any coercion. Even nowadays many Ukrainian politicians swallowed this “bait” and from time to time receive certain economic and political dividends from the Kremlin.
In reality none of the written agreement was signed in Pereyaslav. V. Ulyanovky proves: “Sources didn’t save any slightest indication that could be identified as “treaty” [10, 21]. Such judgment is not new. M. Hrushevsky stated not without grounds: “There was not written treaty was concluded in Pereyaslav” [3, 744]. General conclusion that is being cultivated by historians served as a reason for argumentation of a thesis that “in Pereyaslav 1654 instead of conclusion of a treaty between two countries, unconditional oath of Lesser Rus nation and Cossacks to Moscow tsar, their new sovereign was taken” [17, 41]. It really happened in that way. And that’s why any attempt to exculpate hetman B. Khmelnytsky who had no intention to pass over Ukrainian Church (Kyiv Metropolitanate) to Moscow patriarchy; and the fact that the process of incorporation of Kyiv Metropolitanate into Moscow patriarchy synchronized with time of his son Yuriy Khmelnytsky’s thoughtless politics who in 1659 signed forged articles is useless. The majority of historians tries to prove that “the major paragraph, forged by Moscow was one concerning the Church” [13, 150]. The point is the 8th paragraph according to which “the Kyiv metropolitan and other Ruthenia ecclesiastics go over blessing of the saint patriarch of Moscow, all Great and Small and White Russia and he won’t interfere with church rights”. As a matter of fact for further historical destiny of Ukrainian statehood as well as church and religious originality either the fact that hetman B. Khmelnytsky threw Ukrainian nations into Moscow’s “fraternal arms” unhesitatingly, or the point that his son’s imprudence who signed “forged” articles, submitted as “hetman articles of Bohdan Khmelnytsky”. The most tragic part is that neither father nor son paid attention to “”voices in the wilderness” of Kyiv metropolitans Silvester Kosov and Dionisius Balaban (1657 – 1633). The latter, on seeing the first results of Y. Khmelnitsky’s hetmanate, moved to the capital of hetman’s Right-bank Ukraine – Chyhyryn and never returned to Kyiv. It also highly facilitated the realization of Moscow expansionist ecclesiastic and religious policy on the territory of the Right-bank Ukraine, and therefore assisted in the systematic submission of Kyiv Metropolitanate.
In this context J. F. Paillet’s general conclusions are noteworthy. J. F. Paillet (Yaroslav Lebedynky) says when instead of national myths we take a look at historical facts, two things will become obvious: first – it’s that union with Moscow that was considered in 1620s already, was neither fatal nor inevitable for Ukrainian Cossacks. Cossack sergeant major and B. Khmelnytsky himself that got used to political boundaries of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth wanted to ensure themselves a worthy place in the country rather than destroy it. The only sympathy towards Moscow lied in religious question and it is worth emphasizing once again that religious conflicts (though the situation was strained yes since 1632) by no means were of great importance in the beginning of the war, and secondly, of course, was the fact that a treaty of 1654 is one of the whole chain of treaties, signed by B. Khmelnysky and his political partners. To cut the long story short hetman wanted Ukraine’s autonomy under the supremacy of Zaporozhian Cossacks and protectorship of some powerful country. At first B. Khmelnysky tried to make an arrangement about such perspective with Poland, later with Ottoman Emoire, since 1654 – with Moscow, and next summer hetman was developing combinations with a former partners and Sweden. Such diplomatic opportunism by no means let us affirm that B. Khmelnytsky was attaching importance to his Treaty of Pereyaslav with Moscow [9, 107-108].
However, we are less interested in discussion about the way hetman’s treaty with Moscow was concluded; more important for us are the consequences and the questions how the Treaty of Pereyaslav affected the further destiny of the Ukrainian Church and how the spiritual leaders of the Kyiv Metropolitanate and its ordinary clergy responded to hetman’s political intrigue. Sources certify that from the very beginning the “Ukrainian question” was considered by tsar’s government as the only possible version: voluntary annexation of Little to the Big Rus, affiliation with Moscow and therefore with all other institutions including ecclesiastic and religious ones under the rule of sovereign. It was presented as great honor which B. Khmelnystky was trying to attain and which was expected by the Ukrainian people for so long. Thus, tsar’s diplomacy was conducted prospectively and Cossacks due to their hetman helped to lay the foundation of tsar’s chauvinism at the cost of Ukrainian subordination. “Khmelnytsky was looking for allies – G. Hotkevych writes – and found a sovereign who apprehended subjection as it is… Moscow was taking advantage of each possible sign and was showing it off. From the very beginning the Ukrainians felt a heavy hand of Moscow. They were forced to meet order, word-view and relations completely opposite to what they got used to being under Polish subjection” [7, 55].
For the Ukrainian clergy the Treaty of Pereyaslav of 1654 was an act they didn’t want to recall. As a proof serves the fact that the former president of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and later – holy archimandrite of Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Innokentiy Gizel (1656 – 1683) in his work “Synopsis” didn’t mention a word about either prominent hetman B. Khmelnytsky or his “great political achievements” in the process of “Ukrainian national state formation”. At the same time it’s useless to blame hetman and Cossack sergeant major for the Treaty of Pereyaslav, there were enough intrigues also among clergy, monks and members of Academy, who left the Ukrainian Church in the condition of stagnation and went to enlighten tsar’s Russia. However the fact that the treaty was concluded against Kyiv metropolitan Silvester’s will remains indisputable.
Decision of Zemsky Sobor of 1653 and the Treaty of Pereyaslav of 1654 that marked the political union between Ukraine and Moscow were the first steps on the way of church union of 1686 which entailed further elimination of Ukrainian statehood and ecclesiastic originality. Despite clergy’s opposition, Moscow tsarism leaning upon temporal power right after the Treaty of Pereyaslav was signed headed for submission of Ukrainian Orthodox congregation. We should point out that it was difficult to realize Moscow patriarchy’s religious and expansionist plans. Tsar’s ambassadors faced unexpected and quite appreciable resistance of Ukrainian clergy. Kyiv metropolitan Silvester Kosiv rose in opposition against political union before the Treaty of Pereyaslav was concluded. The Ukrainian archbishop seemed to realize that the loss of state independence will inevitably result in the loss of church autonomy and may way for Moscow to russify and assimilate Ukrainian congregation. G. Hotkevych writes quite neat about it: “The most clearly union with Moscow realized Ukrainian clergy. Even such a humble and entirely allegianceant person as Silvester Kosiv, the metropolitan of Kyiv, at once started to show his unfriendliness toward Moscow; didn’t recognize Moscow voyevoda in Kyiv, didn’t want to permit his people to make fealty to Moscow tsar, didn’t let Muscovites to build on the land appertained by the church. It meant that even though the ministry didn’t know the goals of Khmelnytsky’s game they could clearly see its consequences” [7, 55]. The chain of other facts proves that clergy didn’t share the hetman B. Khmelnytsky’s intrigues. For instance, on January 16th 1654, when Moscow envoy, boyar Andriy Buturlin was to arrive to Kyiv, metropolitan Silvester, in (for) spite to Moscow government and hetman Khmelnitsky’s plan, organized and personally carried out a solemn rogation in St. Sophia’s Cathedral. When the divine service was over, tsar's emissary asked the metropolitan reproachfully: “Why at the time hetman Bohdan Khmelnystky and all Zaporozhian Cossacks bowed before the great sovereign many times asking to take them in his ward, you never did this, didn’t write and searched for tsar’s favor?” [2, 216]. The reply was too brave and unequivocal: “It’s better to die than give ourselves up to strangers” – said the head of Ukrainian church. The metropolitan opposed the political plans of hetman B. Khmelnytsky and Moscow tsarism and flatly refused to put on oath to outlandish sovereign his ecclesiastics – clergymen, deacons, monks, nobility, servants and other nobility. Silvester Kosiv affirmed that “they are free people and that’s why he won’t make anybody to swear to tsar” [2, 216]. There were also other forms of protest, for example, when voyevoda Kurakin began building fortification to protect “from arrival of Polish and Lithuanian people” at the upland near Saint Sophia Monastery, archbishop Silvester declared that the land belongs to him and he won’t let Muscovites to build a stockade. “Though Hetman and Zaporozhian Cossacks succumbed to tsar, he, the metropolitan together with a whole Cathedral is not going to bow low to sovereign. And he lives with clergymen per se and not under anyone’s rule”.
Nevertheless, the history will show that he lacked strength and support to resist Khmelnutsky’s inviolate pressure. The metropolitan was forced to cede and soon he died (April 1657). His death actually fastened the process of incorporation of the Kyiv Metropolitanate into the Moscow patriarchy.
On ascertaining himself in the insidiousness and perfidy of Moscow, the old hetman in 1656 – 1657 resorted to creation of the third and perhaps the last anti-Polish coalition. For this purpose he concluded a union with Sweden, Transylvania and other counties (Brandenburg, Walachia and Moldova). Relying on the support of these countries, hetman hoped to create an independent Rus state (Great Rus principality) within the whole ethnographic territory of Ukraine and Byelorus under the rule of hetman and Zaporozhian Cossacks. Moreover, B. Khmelnytsky attempted to eliminate the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as a country (“destroy the whole Commonwealth as if it never existed before”). Famous scholar of the Diaspora I. Vlasovsky write that to destroy the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth – “to slaughter” – Khmelnytsky was blessed by patriarch Paisius with who hetman spent “long night secret talks” [18, 82]. In Holy Write the following is written about affairs plotted at night: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of the darkness” (Ephesians 5, 11). And therefore we hope that you know about the results of that blessing.
Many historians consider that B. Khmelnytsky conformed to the incorporation of Kyiv Metropolitanate starting from the first negotiations with Moscow. The proof is B. Khmelnytsky’s letters to Moscow patriarch Nykon where hetman, before the Pereyaslav pact was signed, calls him “a supremer archpastor”. It’s difficult to disagree with it, as hetman negotiated with Moscow without benediction and even behind the back of Kyiv metropolitan. And that treaty clauses signed in spring 1654 don’t contain any statement concerning incorporation (or any possible incorporation in prospective) of Ukrainian Church into the Moscow patriarchate serves as a proof since we’ve already proved earlier that hetman didn’t care for any terms except one – to win over Moscow to participate in the war against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. For hetman Khmelnytsky’s pro-Ukrainian church politics doesn’t vouch the fact that he independently appointed Chernihiv bishop Lazarus Baranovych as a locum tenens and announced the date of council convocation to elect new metropolitan (bishop Lazarus Baranovych belonged to that hierarchs of the Ukrainian Church who openly sympathized with Moscow). Hetman resorted to such step only when realized that Moscow has no intention to support Zaporozhian Cossacks in the struggle against the Poles. Council was to be held on August 15th, 1657. However hetman didn’t make to see its decisions.
B. Khmelnystky died on July 27th. Hetman was buried in Subotiv in a church that is said to be built at his expense. Interesting fact is that neither Moscow, nor Swedish, nor any other ambassadors were present at funeral ceremony who praised Khmelnytsky’s “honest and sublime name” during his life. However to the ceremony arrived an ambassador of Polish king John Casimir and domestic secretary of the hetman Samiylo Zorka who made a speech in Polish over the body [14, 323].
Death of the Kyiv metropolitan Silvester, who stood for Ukraine though, sympathized with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth only fastened the process of incorporation of the Kyiv Metropolitanate into the Moscow patriarchy. Moscow on proclaiming itself “the Third Rome” couldn’t let the same mistakes in the centralization of ecclesiastical power happen that in due Byzantine made, having formed independent patriarchates. Moscow understood within its administrative territory the existence of any local church is impossible. In “the Third Rome” there has to be only one patriarch, as it is for centuries in “the First Rome” unless it wants to fall. This very concept determined the further destiny of the Ukrainian Church, to tell the truth not a whole one but only that part that was under control of Cossacks since P. Sahaidachy’s hetmanate. And it could not be done in other way as the structure of the Moscow Church couldn’t allow the existence of any church jurisdiction that was not subordinate to Moscow because it would contradict to tsar’s imperial plans [14, 323].
Analyzing leading tendencies of hetman B. Khmelnytsky’s foreign and home policy we can affirm that his diplomacy which was essentially improvident in every possible display: either with Turks, Tatars, Swedes, Muscovites or Poles. His politics was taken lightly by everyone. All the subjects of political life of that time only encouraged the ambitious hetman by their flimsy and treacherous promises to participate in protracted wars in order to exhaust Ukrainians spiritually, morally and physically so that it would be easier to subdue and colonize the whole nation.
It seems that Khmelnytsky being an outstanding commander at the same time was an improvident politician. His actions aimed at destroying the Poles can be compared to a famous proverb: “when two people fight, the third one benefits”. And that’s why it’s difficult to object to G. Hotkevych who affirms: “Khmelnytsky was looking for allies and found a sovereign who apprehended subjection as it is” [7, 55]. After B. Khmelnytsky’s death Moscow tsarism started active and systematic ecclesiastic and religious policy aimed at russification of Ukrainian spiritual and cultural life. The political treaty of 1654 inevitably lead to ecclesiastic union with Moscow of 1868 that in its turn lead to incorporation of the Ukrainian Church (Kyiv Metropolitanate) and complete annexation of its canonic territory by Moscow patriarchate. In fact Moscow church concerning ancient Kyiv Matropolitanate did like an impudent daughter who drove her own mother out of her historically specific home.
Nowadays we can either justify or blame B. Khmelnytsky’s politics. There are enough arguments to do both. And to justify will be more understandable and moral especially against a background of active propagandistic and ideological arbitrariness of the followers of Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich of Russia, communists and their satellites, nevertheless hetman fought against enslavers of the Ukrainian nation and not cooperated with them.
More easier will be to accuse Moscow of everything. Of course, Moscow that weakened Ottoman Empire at the expense of Ukrainian Cossacks’ bones and at the cost of thousands of “free Cossacks’ corpses” paved the way through Finnish swamp and built Northern Russian capital that destroyed the citadel of national liberty – Zaporizhian Sich treated Ukraine a long way from hetman Khmelnytsky’s expectations. At the same time we must admit that Ukrainians are to blame as well. Historical experience convincingly shows that Moscow always had at hands their own Bryhovetskys, Mnohohrishys, Samoylovychs, Svyatopolk-Chetvertynskys…There is a great number of them even nowadays!
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