Kopynsky, Isaia

Kopynsky, Isaia [Копинський, Ісайя; Kopyns’kyj, Isaija], b ? in Galicia, d 5 October 1640. Orthodox church figure and Kyivan metropolitan. He studied at the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood School and entered a monastery as a youth. Eventually he became the hegumen of the Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood Monastery and the Mezhyhiria Transfiguration Monastery and one of the founders of the Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood School. In 1620, when the Orthodox hierarchy was renewed by Patriarch Theophanes III of Jerusalem, Kopynsky was consecrated bishop of Peremyshl and Sambir; however, he was not permitted to assume his post by the Polish king, and he was instead named bishop of Chernihiv and Smolensk. He was well known as an organizer of monasteries; through his efforts the Mhar Transfiguration Monastery, the Hustynia Trinity Monastery, and other monasteries were founded. In 1631 he succeeded Metropolitan Yov Boretsky as Kyivan metropolitan.

Kopynsky was a conservative and a decided foe of Catholicism and the Uniate church. He was also pro-Muscovite and favored conciliation with the tsar and the Moscow metropolitan. After the legalization of the Orthodox hierarchy by Poland in 1632 and the election of Petro Mohyla as metropolitan of Kyiv, Kopynsky was forced by the latter to relinquish his post. He became the supervisor of the Kyiv Saint Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery in 1633, and lobbied unsuccessfully to regain his title from Mohyla, supported by many monasteries and Cossacks. In 1635 he moved to Polisia, and in 1638 back to Kyiv, where he probably died.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

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