Yavorsky, Stefan

Image - A portrait of Stefan Yavorsky. Image - A book of sermons by Stefan Yavorsky (Moscow 1804).

Yavorsky, Stefan [Яворський, Стефан; Javors’kyj] (secular name: Семен; Semen), b 1658 in Yavoriv, Galicia, d 27 November 1722 in Moscow. Orthodox hierarch, theologian, poet, and philosopher. A graduate of the Kyivan Mohyla College (ca 1684), he completed his education in Polish Jesuit colleges: he studied philosophy in Lviv and Lublin and theology in Poznań and Vilnius. After returning to Kyiv in 1687, he renounced Catholicism, became an Orthodox monk (1689), and taught rhetoric (1690), philosophy (1691–3), and theology (1693–8) at the Kyivan Mohyla Academy. He was hegumen of Saint Nicholas's Monastery in Kyiv from 1697; in 1700 he was appointed metropolitan of Riazan and Murom in Russia, and on 1 December 1701, exarch in Moscow of the Russian Orthodox church, by Emperor Peter I. Yavorsky helped Peter to reform the church and education. Eventually his defense of church autonomy, criticism of Peter, opposition to Teofan Prokopovych, and intolerance of Protestantism cost him the tsar's favor. In 1712 he was forbidden to preach, and in 1718 he was forced to live in Saint Petersburg and subjected to constant harassment and political inquiry. In 1721 Peter appointed him president of the Holy Synod, an institution Yavorsky abhorred. Yavorsky wrote religious verses and panegyrics (eg, to Hetman Ivan Mazepa and Peter I), polemical treatises, and baroque sermons. His major work is the anti-Protestant dogmatic treatise Kamen’ very ... (The Faith's Rock ..., written 1718, published 1728, and reprinted 1729, 1730, 1749, and 1841–2). In his philosophical lectures in Kyiv he presented the scholastic systems of logic, physics, and metaphysics; he often sided with J. Duns Scotus and William of Ockham against the Thomists.

Ternovskii, F. ‘Mitropolit Stefan Iavorskii (Kratkii biograficheskii ocherk),’ TKDA, 1864, nos 1, 3, 6
Iavorskii, S. Ritoricheskaia ruka, trans from Latin by F. Polikarpov (Saint Petersburg 1878)
Samarin, Iu. Sochineniia, vol 5, Stefan Iavorskii i Feofan Prokopovich (Moscow 1880)
Zakhara, I. Bor’ba idei v filosofskoi mysli na Ukraine na rubezhe XVII–XVIII vv. (Stefan Iavorskii) (Kyiv 1982)
Iavors’kyi, S. Filosofs’ki tvory, 3 vols, ed I. Zakhara (Kyiv 1992–3)

Taras Zakydalsky

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

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