Lithuanian metropoly

Lithuanian metropoly [Литовська митрополія; Lytovska mytropoliia]. An Orthodox church province that existed in the 14th and 15th centuries within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It was founded following the occupation of much of western Ukraine by Lithuania. When Metropolitan Maximos of Kyiv transferred his see to Vladimir-on-the-Kliazma, the Lithuanian princes Gediminas and, later, Algirdas demanded a separate metropoly, free of Suzdal-Muscovite control. The Patriarch of Constantinople agreed and consecrated Roman ‘metropolitan of Lithuania and Volhynia’ in 1355, with his see in Navahrudak (Belarus) and jurisdiction over the Polatsk eparchy, Turiv eparchy, Volodymyr-Volynskyi eparchy, Lutsk eparchy, Kholm eparchy, Halych eparchy, and Peremyshl eparchy. In 1371 the western eparchies of the metropoly were transferred to the renewed Halych metropoly. After Metropolitan Roman's death in 1361, the Patriarch of Constantinople failed to appoint his successor, but in 1376 Grand Duke Vytautas the Great succeeded in having Cyprian consecrated as metropolitan, who in 1389 assumed control over all eparchies of the Halych metropoly and Kyiv metropoly. He resided in Moscow, and had the title ‘Metropolitan of all Rus’.’ Metropolitan Cyprian's successor, however, was not accepted in the Lithuanian-controlled territories of Ukraine, and a synod of the bishops of Polatsk, Smolensk, Lutsk, Chernihiv, Volodymyr-Volynskyi, Turiv, Peremyshl, and Kholm elected Gregory Tsamblak as metropolitan of Lithuania in 1415. After Tsamblak died in 1419, the Lithuanian eparchies once again came under the authority of Moscow. A final attempt to renew the Lithuanian metropoly under Bishop Herasym of Smolensk (1431–5) failed.

[This article was updated in 2014.]

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