Izhoi

Izhoi(from the Old Ukrainian hoity, ‘to comfort’ or ‘to live’). Category of déclassé people in Kyivan Rus’ who retained their free status. According to the church laws laid down by Prince Vsevolod Mstyslavych in the 12th century, the izhoi consisted of illiterate sons of priests, kholopy who had bought their freedom but had no means of subsistence, bankrupt merchants, and even princes who had lost their properties and inheritances. Many izhoi lived under the protection of the church, but most, especially the more numerous kholopy, settled on land that they did not own and became dependent on the landowners. Izhoi are mentioned in Ruskaia Pravda. By the 14th century izhoi had ceased to exist as a separate estate (see Estates) but the term was still used into the 15th century for the payment that kholopy made to purchase their release. In the Lithuanian-Ruthenian state the lezni liudy corresponded to the izhoi.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1989).]




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