Kysil, Adam

Image - Portrait of Adam Kysil. Image - The tomb of Adam Kysil (at Nyzkynychi, Volhynia).

Kysil, Adam [Кисіль, Адам; Kysil’], b 1600, d 3 May 1653 in Brest, Belarus. Ukrainian statesman and diplomat in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Kysil was born into a prominent Orthodox noble family in Volhynia. He was educated at the Zamostia Academy, where he befriended the famous Polish statesman Tomasz Zamoyski, who later helped him in his political and diplomatic career. From 1617 he served in the military, gaining prominence for his successes in the Polish wars with the Ottoman Empire, Muscovy, and Sweden. He also gained a reputation at the court as an effective negotiator. He was sent as the envoy of King Sigismund III Vasa to the Kyiv Church Synod of 1629, which had been convened to reconcile the Orthodox and Uniate churches. In local dietines and in the Diet, he defended the interests and rights of the Orthodox church, although he was always able to maintain close contacts with Uniate and Roman Catholic leaders, despite the atmosphere of distrust that existed at the time. In 1637 he was sent to negotiate an end to the Cossack rebellion led by Pavlo Pavliuk, but Poland later reneged on the agreements and ruthlessly repressed the Cossacks. From 1649, he was one of the central figures in the negotiations to end the uprising led by Bohdan Khmelnytsky. He helped conclude the agreements reached in Pereiaslav (February 1649), Zboriv (August 1649; see Treaty of Zboriv), and Bila Tserkva (September 1651), and tried to find a compromise between the Poles and the Cossacks. Following the signing of the Treaty of Bila Tserkva, he was appointed voivode of Kyiv to supervise the implementation of the terms of the agreement. During his career, Kysil received many honors and was appointed to a variety of administrative posts: castellan of Chernihiv (1639), senator (1641), castellan of Kyiv voivodeship and Bratslav voivodeship (1646), and Kyivan voivode. He was able to use his positions to amass a great fortune and became one of the richest men in Ukraine with large estates in Volhynia voivodeship, Kyiv voivodeship, and Chernihiv voivodeship. He was buried in his family's church in Nyskynychi, Volhynia. A supporter of the political and social system of the Polish Commonwealth, Kysil strove unsuccessfully to find a compromise between the Orthodox and the Uniates, and between the Polish government and the Zaporozhian Host.

Sysyn, F. Between Poland and the Ukraine: The Dilemma of Adam Kysil, 1600–1653 (Cambridge, Mass 1985)

Arkadii Zhukovsky

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

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