Stauropegion (stavropihiia). Initially a Greek term referring to the placement of a cross by a bishop, symbolizing his approval of the construction of a church or monastery on the site. Later the term designated an autonomous Orthodox church body (church, monastery, brotherhood) that did not come under the jurisdiction of local hierarchs but was responsible directly to the patriarch (or the Holy Synod in the Russian Empire after 1721). The institution enjoyed special privileges, such as control over the local clergy and, in some cases, even over the local bishop.

In Ukraine stauropegion was conferred by the patriarchs of Constantinople (to 1686) and Moscow (to 1721) and then by the Holy Synod. It benefited many Orthodox brotherhoods, which, during the religious struggles of the early 17th century, defended Orthodoxy and struggled against the corruption of local bishops and priests. The church hierarchy was generally opposed to the granting of stauropegion, and Archbishop Meletii Smotrytsky convinced the patriarch of Constantinople to issue a decree in 1626 canceling stauropegion status throughout Kyiv metropoly. This decree, however, was later contradicted by new grants of stauropegion. In Ukraine institutions that were granted the right of stauropegion included the Kyivan Cave Monastery and the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood (1586), the Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood and the Maniava Hermitage (1620), the Lutsk Brotherhood of the Elevation of the Cross (1623), and the Mezhyhiria Transfiguration Monastery (1687). In the late 17th century, stauropegion status lost its significance. The Lviv Dormition Brotherhood benefited from it longest, in that it remained Orthodox even after the conversion of the entire area to the Uniate church. It became the basis for the brotherhood finally accepted the union in 1709 it was renamed the Stauropegion Institute.

Arkadii Zhukovsky

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