The evolution of the ideas about the state by Ukrainian Orthodox intellectuals in the second half of the XVII century




Orthodox Church, Cossacks, Ukrainian nation, the Kyiv Metropolis


The article describes evolutionary process of the ideas about the state, which were formed by Ukrainian Orthodox intellectuals in the end of the XVI - the first half of the XVII century. Established, that on the development of these ideas had considerable influenced political circumstances of Ukrainian Cossack state in the second half of the XVII century. Varied Nation orientations available in Ukrainian political elite caused at that time the political split of Ukrainian society which reflected on the church life. Some part of Church leaders tended to association with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the convergence with the Greek Catholic Church, the rest were supporters of political union with Moscow and rapprochement with Moscow Orthodoxy. However, both groups of Ukrainian Orthodox intellectuals defended the independence of the Kyiv Metropolis.

Accordingly, representatives of both political orientations in church circles had their own opinion on the nature of the state, the governor responsibilities, composition of nation and its political rights, the relationship between the secular and ecclesiastical authority in the ideal state. Two outstanding representatives of these viewpoints were Sofonovych F. and I. Gisel. There are many ways where their views are identical, so: both agreed about the priority of ecclesiastical authority over secular, Kyiv's role as a center of Orthodox state, about the existence of a sovereign Ukrainian nation as an ethnic and religious communities. However, they also had fundamental differences: in F. Sofonovych's "Chronicle" sense of the state's existence and first responsibility of the governor was to ensure the public good, the conception of political nation extends to the whole society, the governor is the monarch in the European sense, who should be accountable to his lieges. Instead of that in I. Gisela's "Synopsis" meaning of the state was described in citizens' association in a single church, the governor is autocrat that answers only to the face of God, as the political nation was described only a minor group of nobility and its features were limited.

In that way, we can assume that the concept of state, represented in work by Sofonovych F. indicates the beginning of the transition from early modern to modern Ukrainian nation and the continuation of the idea of Ukrainian sovereignty. Theory by Gisela I., whereas, the initial point of departure of Enlightenment concept of absolutism, which later was developed by Prokopovich F., and embodies the idea of an Orthodox empire which in the political sense coincides with the Russian Empire and in the spiritual one - is a continuation of Kievan Rus, where Kiev clergy plays a significant role. Both concepts were actively developing in future and had some mutual influence; also they greatly influenced the political life.

Author Biography

Nataliia Shalashna, Donbass State Pedagogical University

Candidate of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor


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How to Cite

Shalashna, N. (2015). The evolution of the ideas about the state by Ukrainian Orthodox intellectuals in the second half of the XVII century. Skhid, (3(135).