Tykhorsky, Yepyfanii

Tykhorsky, Yepyfanii [Тихорський, Єпифаній; Tyxors'kyj, Jepyfanij], b ?, d 2 July 1731 in Nizhyn. Orthodox bishop, educator, founder of Kharkiv College. A graduate of the Kyivan Mohyla Academy, he went on to serve there as a teacher of grammar and was appointed steward in 1711, during Teofan Prokopovych’s tenure as rector. Prokopovych held in high esteem Tykhorsky’s efficiency in his post. Tykhorsky eventually became archimandrite of the Annunciation Monastery in Nizhyn and bishop of Belgorod and Oboian (from 9 June 1722). Initially, he founded an ecclesiastical school in Belgorod, affiliated with the local Saint Nicholas’s Monastery. In 1726 he transferred the school to Kharkiv, and from that time on it was known as Kharkiv College. The bishop put considerable effort into its development. In particular, he purchased from Colonel Lavrentii Shydlovsky a spacious, two-storey brick building and rebuilt it to suit the needs of an educational institution. He also bought several courtyards in its vicinity from local inhabitants. In 1729 Tykhorsky obtained from the Holy Synod permission to add the hermitages of Ozerianka, Chuhuiv, and Arkadiivka to the college’s endowment. In the same year and at his request, the neighboring Church of the Intercession of the Virgin was added to the school, whereupon the institution was named the Intercession of the Virgin Educational Monastery. It was run by an archimandrite who occupied the position of the school’s rector.

At Tykhorsky’s request, Empress Anna of Russia granted Kharkiv College a letters patent on 16 March 1731, which gave it the right to train children from all estates and the privilege to instruct them in poetics, rhetoric, philosophy, and theology, as well as to conduct legal proceedings against its teachers and students. In addition, Tykhorsky obtained from the Holy Synod special permission to invite teachers from Kyiv eparchy. He sent at his own cost two students to Germany to be trained there to perform teaching duties (one of them, Kyrylo Florynsky, would later become professor and superintendent of Kharkiv College). During Tykhorsky’s time in office, the superior classes of philosophy and theology were made part of the college’s curriculum. His efforts motivated the decision to hand over the late Metropolitan Stefan Yavorsky’s book collection to the college’s library. Tykhorsky also bequeathed unto Kharkiv College his own personal library and all of his savings. The theology classroom at Kharkiv College used to be adorned with Tykhorsky’s portrait. Several students’ orations and encomia were written in his honor (one of them describes ‘Ukraine’s joy’ on the occasion of the college’s establishment). For several decades, students occasionally referred to the college as ‘Academia Tychorsciana’ in their notes.

During his tenure as bishop, Tykhorsky obtained for the priests an exemption from the duty to house military units. He also introduced the practice of keeping count of the clergy’s male offspring to ensure their obligatory schooling, as well as of imposing fines for the concealment of children and for delays in sending them to the college. Tykhorsky had friendly relations and maintained correspondence with a number of prominent statesmen and churchmen (including Teofan Prokopovych).

Lebedev, Amfian. Belgorodskie arkhierei i sreda ikh arkhipastyrskoi deiatel'nosti (Kharkiv 1902)
Posokhova, Liudmyla. Kharkivs'kyi kolehiium (XVIII – persha polovyna XIX st.) (Kharkiv 1999)
Brogi Bercoff, Giovanna. ‘A Marginal Note on Marginal Notes. The Library of Stefan Javorskij’, Paleoslavica X/1 (2002)
Posokhova, Liudmyla. Na perekhresti kul'tur tradytsii, epokh: pravoslavni kolehiiumy Ukraïny naprykintsi XVII – na pochatku XIX st. (Kharkiv 2011)

Liudmyla Posokhova (translated by Serhii Vakulenko)

[This article was updated in 2022.]

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