Curious facts about Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra

“Petition referendum”

Did you know that a so called “petition referendum” was held in the Russian Empire in 1767?

It was organized to give the opportunity to various straty of society to express their wishes of how to improve their social position and take them into account in the new “law”. To collect and process petitions there appeared a special commission set up in Moscow.

Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra brethren, headed by Archimandrite Zosima (Valkevych), also filed a petition for the monks ‘benefits”. They refered to the tradition, hetman’s universals and tsarist decrees.

In that petition Lavra expressed a wish that the new legislation enshrined the original right of monastery’s fraternity to freely elect an archimandrite. They added that stauropegion status of Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra and ancient monastery’s tradition gave the right to the Lavra’s brethren to freely elect the most worthful and decent candidate for the position of archimandrite (in case of change or death of the latter).

The tsarist government responded with the decree of the Holy Synod of April 10, 1786. According to that document the right of Lavra’s fraternity to freely choose the archimandrite was abolished. Metropolitan Samuel (Myslavsky) of Kyiv and Halych was appointed to that position and became the Holy Archimandrite of Lavra.

It’s true, endeed: ask and it will not be given to you ...


Caption to the illustration:

1. Fragment of the portrait of Samuel (Myslavsky) painted by Father Superior Arseniy, 1798 (from the Fund collection of the National Art Museum of Ukraine)

Natalia Lytvyn

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