Polotsky, Simeon

Polotsky, Simeon [Полоцький, Симон; Polockij] (secular name: Самуїл Петровський-Ситиніянович; Samuil Petrovsky-Sitnianovich), b December 1629 in Polatsk, Belarus, d 4 September 1680 in Moscow. Churchman and writer; originator of Russian syllabic verse and a pioneering educational and cultural westernizer in Russia. He graduated from the Kyivan Mohyla College (1651–2) and also studied at the Vilnius Jesuit college. After taking monastic vows at the Polatsk Epiphany Monastery in 1656, he became a teacher at the brotherhood school there. Having moved to Moscow in 1663, he taught Latin at the Zaikonospasskii Monastery school from 1665. As a teacher, court poet, and homilist in Moscow he was an erudite representative of Belarusian and Ukrainian culture and of Kyivan scholarship. Applying what he had read and studied in Kyiv, he wrote many works; they include the scholastic polemical tract Zhezl" pravleniia ... (Scepter of Rule ..., 1667), the compendium of knowledge Venets very kafolicheskoi (The Crown of the Catholic Faith, 1670), the encyclopedic primer in verse Vertograd̋ mnogotsvetnyi (The Multiflorous Orchard, 1678), the large panegyrical poetry collection Rifmologion (1680), a versified translation of the Psalms of David (1680), two volumes of homilies (1681, 1683), and two of the first Russian school dramas. His collected works were published in Moscow in 1953.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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