Levytsky, Orest

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Levytsky, Orest [Левицький, Орест; Levyc’kyj] (pseuds O. or L. Orlenko, Orelsky, Levko Maiachynets, Levko Maiachenko, Levko Maiachsky), b 6 January 1849 in Maiachka, Kobeliaky county, Poltava gubernia, d 9 May 1922 in Drabiv, Zolotonosha county, Poltava gubernia. Historian, archeographer, and writer; full member of the Shevchenko Scientific Society from 1910 and the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences from 1918; great-grandson of Dmytro H. Levytsky. After completing a program at the Poltava Theological Seminary (1869) he studied at Kyiv University (1870–4) under his mentor Volodymyr Antonovych and then taught until 1909 in a Kyiv gymnasium. An active member of the Hromada of Kyiv, he researched and published archival materials and studies pertaining to 16th- to 18th-century Ukrainian history, folkways, marriage, social relations, customary law, and religious social movements. He was secretary (1874–1921) of the Kyiv Archeographic Commission and editor of its publications, a full member (from 1878) of the Historical Society of Nestor the Chronicler and its vice-president (from 1902), and a frequent contributor to Kievskaia starina. After retiring, in 1914–18, Levytsky was also a member of the editorial board of the journal Ukraïna (1914–30) and served as vice-president of the Ukrainian Scientific Society in Kyiv. He was elected acting president of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in December 1919 and president in March 1922, and he also headed the VUAN Legal Terminology Commission (from 1919), the entire Social-Economic Division (from May 1920), its Society of Ukrainian Jurists (from 1921), and it Commission for the Study of Ukraine's Customary Law.

Levytsky's works include studies of Ukraine in the second half of the 17th century (1875), the Samovydets Chronicle (1878), Socinianism in Poland and Right-Bank Ukraine (1882), the Ruthenian church in the late 16th-century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1884), Bohdan Khmelnytsky (1884), folkways in 16th-century Volhynia and the Poltava region (1888, 1891), social and political life in Kyiv and Right-Bank Ukraine in 1811–12 (1891), the first 50 years of the Kyiv Archival Commission (1893), life in Little Russia in the second half of the 17th century (1902), the peasantry in Right-Bank Ukraine in 1826–50 (1906), and family life in 16th- and 17th-century Right-Bank Ukraine (1909). His historical stories about life in 16th-century Volhynia and the Hetman state were published in Literaturno-naukovyi vistnyk and separately as Volyns’ki opovidannia (Volhynian Stories, 1914), Hanna Montovt (1926), Istorychni opovidannia (Historical Stories, 1930), and Po sudakh Het’manshchyny (At the Law Courts of the Hetmanate, 1940). A bibliography of his works was published in Zapysky Sotsiial’no-ekonomichnoho viddilu VUAN, vol 1 (1923).

Vasylenko M. ‘Akademyk Orest Ivanovych Levyts’kyi,’ Zapysky Sotsiial’no-ekonomichnoho viddilu VUAN, 1 (1923)
Moskvych L.; Storchak A. ‘Vydatnyi istoryk, arkheohraf-arkhivist (Do 120-richchia vid narodzhennia O.I. Levyts’koho),’ UIZh, 1968, no. 12
Moskvych, L. ‘Tvorchyi shliakh O.I. Levyts’koho,’ Istoriohrafichni doslidzhennia v Ukraïns’kii RSR, 4 (Kyiv 1971)

Arkadii Zhukovsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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