Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood

Image - Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood Monastery (mid 19th century).

Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood (Київське Богоявленське братство; Kyivske Bohoiavlenske bratstvo). 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.

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

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