Saints. After the Christianization of Ukraine, the Ukrainian church initially venerated the saints of the Byzantine church. It soon began to recognize some saints of the Roman church, particularly those in the calendar of Western Slavic churches (eg, Viacheslav). The early Ukrainian church also venerated Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius, the original missionaries to the Slavs, who were not recognized by Byzantium. All saints were commemorated on the appropriate day, as recorded in the church calendar (misiatseslov or menaion). The Ukrainian church also encouraged the development of cults of its own saints.
The first native Rus’ saints were Saints Borys and Hlib, the martyred sons of Volodymyr the Great, who were canonized in the 11th century. Princess Olha and Volodymyr were canonized by Metropolitan Ilarion ca 1037–50, although they were not assigned a feast day until later (Volodymyr's was set only in 1254 or 1263). Saint Theodosius of the Caves (d 1074) was canonized in 1108, and Saint Anthony of the Caves in the early 13th century. The early monks buried in the Kyivan Cave Monastery (approx 118 in all), many of whom are known only by their first names, were collectively canonized by Metropolitan Petro Mohyla in 1643, during services held on 28 August and 28 September. The earliest Ukrainian saints were often monks who devoted themselves to caring for the sick (eg, Ahapii, Damian of the Caves). Others were secular figures or churchmen involved in other work, eg, Saint Kuksha (a missionary); Nestor the Chronicler; Master Olimpii (an icon painter, d 1114); and Sviatoslav (Sviatosha), prince of Lutsk (d 1142). Iurodyvi or ‘fools for Christ,’ persons who were known for their remarkable piety but also their aberrant behaviour, were rarely beatified in medieval Ukraine, although they were often venerated in Muscovy. A large number of church hierarchs became saints, beginning with Stefan of Kyiv, bishop of Volodymyr-Volynskyi (d 1094); Bishop Yefrem of Pereiaslav (d 1098); Teoctistos, bishop of Chernihiv (d 1123); and Cyril of Turiv (d 1189). Early secular saints include Prince Mstyslav I Volodymyrovych (Fedir, d 1132), son of Volodymyr Monomakh; Princess Anna (d 1113), daughter of Vsevolod Yaroslavych; Prince Mstyslav (Yurii, d 1180), great-grandson of Volodymyr Monomakh; and Mykhail Vsevolodovych, prince of Chernihiv, who was martyred with the boyar Teodor by the Tatars in 1246.
Later saints include Metropolitan Petro of Kyiv (d ca 1326), who was born in Volhynia, and Ivan of Suceava, martyred in Akkerman (both from the 14th century); and Prince Fedir (Teodosii) of Ostrih, killed by Tatars in 1497, and Princess Yuliiana Olshanska (d 1540), whose remains are associated with a number of miracles (both from the 15th–16th centuries).
After the Church Union of Berestia the Catholic church recognized Yosafat Kuntsevych as a saint (d 1623, canonized 1867). Orthodox saints from this period include Afanasii, the hegumen of Brest, who was martyred by the Poles for his support of Bohdan Khmelnytsky; Yov Zalizo, the miracle worker of Pochaiv (d 1651); Makarii Tokarevsky, hegumen of Ovruch and Kaniv, who was killed by the Turks in 1678; Teodosii Uhlytsky, archbishop of Chernihiv (d 1696); Dymytrii Tuptalo, metropolitan of Rostov (d 1709); and Yoasaf Horlenko, bishop of Bilhorod (d 1754). Several Ukrainian Orthodox saints were missionaries in Siberia, among them Ioan Maksymovych, metropolitan of Tobolsk (d 1715); Inokentii Kulchytsky, bishop of Irkutsk (d 1731); and S. Krystalevsky, bishop of Irkutsk (d 1771).
Most saints canonized during the Princely era, and some from afterward (eg, the Vilnius martyrs Ivan, Antin, and Evstafii), were recognized by both the Orthodox and Uniate churches (with some exceptions in the 17th–19th centuries). After the Church Union of Berestia the Ukrainian Catholic church was bound by the process of canonization imposed by Pope Urban VIII. Under this system, when an individual is beatified his or her cult is initially celebrated locally, and only later can full canonization occur. The recognition of a saint to be revered by the entire Catholic world is the pope's prerogative. With the absorption of the Ukrainian Orthodox church by the Russian Orthodox church in the 18th century, the right of canonization was claimed to be the special right of the Russian Holy Synod. The Orthodox church in Ukraine commemorated only those saints canonized by the Holy Synod who were of Ukrainian origin.
Today both the Ukrainian Catholic church and Ukrainian Orthodox church recognize the same saints, with few exceptions. Feast days are observed for each saint, and special services are held in honor of particular saints, as well as pilgrimages to their burial places or to monasteries and churches named after them. With the imposition of Soviet rule in Ukraine, authorities forbade public celebration of saints' days, destroyed their icons and statues, and discouraged the custom of naming children after them. (See also Hagiography.)
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