Starting in the late 16th century, the Orthodox lay brotherhoods, affiliated with individual church parishes in Ukraine, began to play a historical role in the development of Ukrainian culture and education. Such Orthodox brotherhoods came into existence only in Ukraine and Belarus and, to a large extent, their influence shaped the unique place Ukrainian culture and society have occupied between Eastern and Western Christianity. Although structurally similar to their western European counterparts, the Eastern-rite brotherhoods developed their unique features and their activities coincided with a period of crucial social and cultural change in early modern Ukraine. The Ukrainian brotherhoods assumed the task of defending the Orthodox faith and Ukrainian nationality by counteracting Catholic and particularly Jesuit expansionism, Polonization, and later conversion to the Uniate church. Because they consisted predominantly of burghers, the brotherhoods acquired a secular character and often found themselves in opposition to the authoritarian practices of the clergy. Hence, they endeavored to reform the Orthodox church from within by condemning the corrupt practices of the hierarchy and of individual clergymen. The brotherhoods brought about a revival in the life of the church by promoting cultural and educational activity. They founded brotherhood schools, printing presses, and libraries. The resulting cultural-religious movement found its literary expression in polemical literature. The brotherhoods also participated in civic and political life and maintained ties with the Cossacks. The schools attached to the Orthodox brotherhoods in several larger cities disseminated European humanist ideas and introduced generally accessible post-humanist education, while the brotherhood presses promoted the development of scholarship and literature... Learn more about the brotherhoods and their crucial influence on education and culture in early modern Ukraine by visiting the following entries:


BROTHERHOODS. Fraternities affiliated with individual churches in Ukraine and Belarus that performed a number of religious and secular functions. The origins of brotherhoods can be traced back to the medieval bratchyny, which were organized at churches in the Princely era. Brotherhoods as such appeared in Ukraine in the mid-15th century, with the rise of the burgher class. They adopted their organizational structure from Western medieval brotherhoods (confraternitates) and trade guilds. Initially the brotherhoods engaged only in religious and charitable activities. They maintained churches and sometimes assumed financial responsibility for them. However, in the second half of the 16th and at the beginning of the 17th century, the brotherhoods began to play a historical role. The Lviv Dormition Brotherhood was one of the oldest and most successful brotherhoods. In the late 16th and early 17th century new brotherhoods were founded and existing ones were reorganized in the towns of Galicia, the Kholm region, Podlachia, Volhynia, and the Dnipro region. Each brotherhood had its own statute (articles, regulations, procedures), modeled on the statute of the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood of 1586. Although brotherhood members were usually merchants and skilled tradesmen residing in the towns, some Orthodox clerics, nobles and magnates, such as Prince Kostiantyn Vasyl Ostrozky, participated in the affairs of certain brotherhoods. In 1620, Hetman Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny, 'with the entire Zaporozhian Host,' joined the Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood...



BROTHERHOOD SCHOOLS. Schools founded by religious brotherhoods for the purposes of counteracting the denationalizing influence of Catholic (Jesuit) and Protestant schools and of preserving the Orthodox faith began to appear in the 1580s. The first school was established in 1586 by the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood. The school served as a model for other brotherhood schools in various towns of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, most of them in Ukraine and Belarus. In the first half of the 17th century even some villages had brotherhood schools. The most prominent schools were the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood School and Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood School. At first the brotherhood schools had a Greek-Church Slavonic curriculum: lectures were in Church Slavonic, and Greek was taught as a second language. Then the schools began to adopt the structure and curriculum of the Jesuit schools, using Latin as the primary language, particularly those schools that modeled themselves on the Kyivan Mohyla Academy. Ukrainian was used only for examination purposes and, from 1645, for teaching the catechism. Brotherhood schools were open to various social strata. Students were judged not by lineage, but by achievement (in contrast to Jesuit schools). Brotherhood schools made a significant contribution to the growth of religious and national consciousness and the development of Ukrainian culture...

Brotherhood schools


LVIV DORMITION BROTHERHOOD. An Orthodox religious association founded in the 15th century by Lviv merchants and tradesmen at the Dormition Church in Lviv. It is the oldest and one of the leading Ukrainian brotherhoods, and it served as an example to other brotherhoods. There are historical references to it dating back to 1463. According to its charter, which was confirmed by Patriarch Joachim V of Antioch in 1586 and Patriarch Jeremiah II of Constantinople in 1589, the brotherhood was independent of the local bishops (right of stauropegion) and subject directly to the Patriarch of Constantinople. It had the right to oversee the activities not only of secular members of the church but also of the clergy and even the bishops. Its membership was open to all estates and to Orthodox believers from other cities and countries. Membership dues, profits from book sales, donations, and gifts were used to support the Dormition Church and Saint Onuphrius's Church and Monastery, which were owned by the brotherhood, and to operate a printing press, school, orphanages, hospitals, and homes for elderly members. As the leading cultural and religious institution for Western Ukraine, the Lviv brotherhood played a key role in resisting Polish national and religious oppression and in fighting for equality with the Catholics and the Polish burghers...

Lviv Dormition Brotherhood


KYIV EPIPHANY BROTHERHOOD. A church brotherhood established ca 1615 at the Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood Monastery in the Podil district of Kyiv by wealthy burghers, nobles, clergymen, and Cossacks to defend the Orthodox faith from the onslaught of Polish rule and Catholicism. Hetman Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny gave it a great deal of support and joined it 'with the entire Zaporozhian Host' in 1620. That same year the Orthodox Kyiv metropoly was restored and the brotherhood acquired stauropegion status and the right to establish a 'brotherhood for young men' from the visiting patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophanes III. The Polish king Sigismund III Vasa granted the brotherhood a royal charter in 1629. The brotherhood became a cultural and educational center in Kyiv. Many of Ukraine's leading figures were affiliated with it. To promote education, it founded the Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood School in 1615. Granted a charter by Theophanes in 1620 to teach 'Helleno-Slavonic and Latin-Polish letters,' in 1631 the school was merged with the Kyivan Cave Monastery School to form the Kyivan Mohyla College, which later became the Kyivan Mohyla Academy. Clerical involvement in the brotherhood forced its lay members--the burghers--into a secondary role. The brotherhood's 'elder brother,' Metropolitan Petro Mohyla, subordinated the brotherhood to the clergy in 1633, and the Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood Monastery gradually took over its functions...

Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood


LUTSK BROTHERHOOD OF THE ELEVATION OF THE CROSS. A renowned Orthodox brotherhood founded in 1617 in Lutsk by Herasym Mykulych, the hegumen of the Chernchytsi Monastery located near the city. The Lutsk Brotherhood included monks, priests, bishops, nobles, aristocrats, and members of the middle class from Lutsk and Volhynia. It received a charter from the Polish king Sigismund III Vasa in 1619 and was granted the status of stauropegion by the Patriarch of Constantinople in 1623. It ran the Lutsk Brotherhood of the Elevation of the Cross School and operated a printing press in the monastery. After Bohdan Khmelnytsky's era the brotherhood entered a period of steady decline. It was revived in 1896 by the Russian government with the intention that its activities 'strengthen the Russian people.' From 1920 the brotherhood functioned without a charter. In 1931 it was liquidated by the Polish government, only to be granted a new charter in 1935 which recognized the brotherhood's 17th-century roots but not the right to its holdings (they were left under government jurisdiction). The activities of the brotherhood ceased with the Soviet occupation of Lutsk...

Lutsk Brotherhood of the Elevation of the Cross


KYIV EPIPHANY BROTHERHOOD SCHOOL. One of the most important Orthodox brotherhood schools in Ukraine. It was founded in 1615-16 by the Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood, shortly after the brotherhood itself was organized. Modeled on the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood School, its purpose was to diminish the enrollment of Orthodox children in Catholic schools. The school was open to boys from all estates. Its liberal arts program emphasized Church Slavonic and Greek. Its instructors came from Western Ukraine; they were graduates of the Ostrih Academy, the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood School, and various Polish and German institutions of higher learning. The school's rectors were prominent Orthodox churchmen and scholars: Yov Boretsky (1615-18), Meletii Smotrytsky (1618-20), Kasiian Sakovych (1620-4), and Toma Yevlevych (1628-32). Among its graduates were a number of prominent scholars and cultural figures of the 17th century. The school greatly benefited from Hetman Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny's protection and the financial support of the Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood. Patriarch Theophanes III of Jerusalem, who visited Kyiv in 1620, granted stauropegion to the Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood and praised its educational work. In 1632 the school was merged with the school of the Kyivan Cave Monastery, which had been founded shortly before then by Archimandrite Petro Mohyla, to form the Kyivan Mohyla College (later the Kyivan Mohyla Academy), the most important educational institution in the Orthodox world of its time...

Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood School

The preparation, editing, and display of the IEU entries dedicated to the brotherhoods and their influence on Ukrainian education and culture were made possible by the financial support of the SENIOR CITIZENS HOME OF TARAS H. SHEVCHENKO (WINDSOR) INC. FUND.

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