Vonatovych, Varlaam

Vonatovych, Varlaam [Вонатович, Варлаам; Vonatovyč; or Ванатович; Vanatovych, secular name: Василь; Vasyl], b ca 1675 in Jarosław, Galicia, d 17 January 1751 in the Tikhvin Monastery, near Novgorod, Russia. Orthodox church leader. After completing his theology training in Moscow he entered the service of the Russian Orthodox church and became archimandrite of the Tikhvin Monastery in 1719. Along with several other Ukrainian churchmen he participated in drawing up the reforms of the Russian church that culminated in the adoption of the Dukhovnyi reglament and the creation of the Holy Synod. In 1722 Vonatovych was named archbishop of Kyiv and Halych. This appointment was a great blow to the Ukrainian Orthodox church because it meant that the eparch of Kyiv no longer had the dignity of metropolitan (see Kyiv eparchy), and that his jurisdiction was limited to Right-Bank Ukraine and did not include the Ukrainian eparchies in the Hetman state. Vonatovych continued to press for the return of the metropolitan’s title and authority over the rest of the Ukrainian church province. He also attempted to maintain control over the Kyivan Mohyla Academy and to prevent the secularization of Ukrainian monasteries. In 1730 he was arrested on trumped-up charges of treason by local Kyivan authorities supported by Teofan Prokopovych, and was defrocked and imprisoned in Saint Cyril’s Monastery in Belozersk. After he was pardoned and released in 1740, he retired to the Tikhvin Monastery. A comprehensive biography of Vonatovych was published by A. Rybolovsky in Trudy Kievskoi dukhovnoi akademii (1908, nos 2–3).

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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