Sheptytsky, Lev

Image - Portrait of Metropolitan Lev Sheptytsky.

Sheptytsky, Lev [Шептицький, Лев; Šeptyc’kyj] (Людовик; Ludwig), b 23 August 1717 in Peremyshl, d 25 May 1779 in Radomyshl, in Right-Bank Ukraine. Uniate metropolitan. He studied at the Theatine papal college in Lviv, received a doctorate in civil law and canon law from the Ecclesiastical Academy in Rome, graduated from the diplomatic academy there, and then entered the Basilian monastic order. In 1743 he was elected archimandrite of Saint Nicholas's Monastery in Myltsi, near Kovel, Volhynia. In 1749 he succeeded his late uncle, Atanasii Sheptytsky, as bishop of Lviv, Halych, and Kamianets-Podilskyi (see Lviv eparchy). During his 30-year episcopate he created the cathedral chapters in those cities and oversaw the completion of the new Saint George's Cathedral (its construction was initiated and funded by his uncle) and episcopal residence in Lviv, and the compilation of a descriptive register of all Uniate parishes, buildings, and landholdings. In 1762 Sheptytsky was named coadjutor to Fylyp Volodkovych, the ailing metropolitan of Kyiv and all Rus’, and thereafter he supervised the day-to-day affairs of the Kyiv metropoly. After the 1772 partition of Poland, Uniate faithful under both Russian and Austrian rule were under his jurisdiction. He used his influence at the papal and Viennese courts to defend his faithful from Polish oppression and from attempts to convert them to Roman Catholicism and to Polonize them. In 1778 he succeeded Volodkovych as metropolitan. He died 15 months later. Sheptytsky convinced Empress Maria Theresa to found the Barbareum Greek Catholic seminary in Vienna and laid the groundwork for the creation of the Greek Catholic Theological Seminary in Lviv.

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

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