Nestor the Chronicler

Image - An engraving of Nestor the Chronicler in the Kyivan Cave Patericon (1661). Image - Leontii Tarasevych: Nestor the Chronicler; Kyivan Cave Patericon  (1702).

Nestor the Chronicler (Nestor litopysets), b ca 1056, d ca 27 October 1114 in Kyiv. Famous medieval hagiographer (see Hagiography) and chronicler (see Chronicles); saint (see Saints) in the Ukrainian church (see History of the Ukrainian church). The date of his canonization is uncertain. He entered the Kyivan Cave Monastery at 17 and was a hierodeacon under Hegumen Stefan of Kyiv (1074–8). He participated in the ceremonial disinterment of the relics of Saint Theodosius of the Caves in 1091. The earliest biography of Nestor appeared in the Kyivan Cave Patericon (pub 1661). He was one of the most educated men in late 11th- and early 12th-century Kyivan Rus’, renowned for his knowledge of theology, history, literature, and Greek. Nestor wrote the lives of Saints Borys and Hlib and Saint Theodosius of the Caves in the 1080s, and he supplemented and continued the text of the Rus’ Primary Chronicle (written in 1093), and completed its redaction, known as Povist’ vremennykh lit (The Tale of Bygone Years), ca 1111–13. The original has not been preserved. Most scholars (eg, Dmytro Abramovych, Mykhailo Braichevsky, Dmytro Chyzhevsky, Mykhailo Hrushevsky, D. Likhachev, M. Priselkov, Omeljan Pritsak, Aleksei Shakhmatov, Mykhailo Vozniak) consider Nestor the Hagiographer and Nestor the Chronicler to be one person. Some (eg, Evgenii Golubinsky, P. Kazansky, Aleksei Sobolevsky), however, believe they are different persons. Some Western scholars of the Povist’ (eg, Louis-Paul-Marie Léger, L. Müller) have referred to it as the Nestor Chronicle.

Abramovich, D. ‘Nestor Letopisets,’ in Izsledovanie o Kievo-Pecherskom paterike, kak istoriko-literaturnom pamiatnike (Saint Petersburg 1902)
Shakhmatov, A. ‘Letopisets Nestor,’ ZNTSh, 117–18 (1914)
Priselkov, M. Nestor-letopisets: Opyt istoriko-literaturnoi kharakteristiki (Petrograd 1923)
Scheffler, L. Textkritischer Apparat zur Nestorchronik (Munich 1977)

A. Zhukovsky

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