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I was reading Fr. Florovsky's "Ways of Russian Theology" and found the section on St. Petro Mohyla to be quite interesting (Fr. Georges obviously did not regard him as a saint!)

What is the Catholic, and in particular Eastern Catholic view of St. Petro? Can anyone recommend other sources for reading about his life and legacy?

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Dear AMM,

Alas, I only know of Ukrainian language sources on St Peter II of Kyiv!

He was glorified a local Saint of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and has yet to be recognized a Saint by a number of other Orthodox Churches - he was not yet canonized in the time of Fr. Florovsky.

St Peter was a leader of the Kyivan Baroque era in Orthodoxy and so is sometimes disparaged for the introduction of certain Latin scholastic traditions and devotions into the Kyivan Orthodox Metropolia.

He tried to counter the tremendous influence of the Jesuit scholastic tradition by having his Orthodox students study in Catholic countries, notably Paris. These students brought a number of Latin traditions home with them (including the devotion to the Immaculate Theotokos where they took the 'bloody vow' to defend to the death the Immaculate Conception, wore a medal similar to today's Miraculous Medal and prayed this prayer - "All-Immaculate Theotokos, save us!").

His "Orthodox Catholic Catechism" included the teaching on Purgatory which Mohyla refused to remove in his own Metropolia after the Orthodox Patriarchs censured it and ordered its removal.

His Catechism reflects the scholastic tradition quite heavily but there are those who feel this was what was needed for Orthodoxy to "keep its head above water" in those times.

Mohyla came from an aristocratic family of great wealth and could have been prince or king. He chose the monastic caves of Kyiv instead and advanced to become both Archimandrite of the Kyivan Caves Lavra and the Metropolitan of Kyiv, Halych and all Rus'.

As Metropolitan, he glorified all the Kyivan Caves Saints and ordered the famous Canon and Moleben to be sung in their honour and in honour of All Saints of Rus'.

(He was recommended to the post of Metropolitan by the Ukrainian Kozaks themselves - quite a feat when one considers that Mohyla was a Moldo-Wallachian!).

Mohyla used his own considerable financial resources to renovate and restore the Churches of the Lavra, St Sophia of Kyiv and promote Orthodox Christian education in the Mohyla Institute etc.

He faced the challenges of his day with courage, determination and leadership. He was a defender of his beloved Orthodox Church of Kyiv and dedicated every sinew of his being to it.

Alex


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Thanks Alex. This is one of the sections I found most interesting

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While striving to keep the Orthodox Church in Poland independent, Mogila and his confreres of the new orientation kept to their plans for a "universal union." As early as 1636, a joint conference was sought between Uniates and Orthodox to consider a proposal for an autonomous West Russian patriarchate. Rome was even assured that the scheme would attract many Orthodox, including perhaps the metropolitan. But for some reason the conference never materialized. Yet another project was advanced in 1643, this time in a special memorandum submitted by Peter Mogila. It is known to us only in the paraphrase of Ingoli, secretary to the Office of Propaganda. 174 Mogila's memorandum apparently consisted of a lengthy discussion of the divergences between the two churches, the conditions he believed necessary for reunion, and an outline of the means to achieve them. Mogila did not see any insurmountable differences of doctrine. Filioque and per filium varied only in the phrasing. What divergence there was on purgatory was even less consequential, since the Orthodox did in some form acknowledge it. In ritual, too, agreement on all points was readily possible. The only serious difficulty was papal supremacy. Even if this were to be accepted by the Orthodox, Mogila stipulated, the eastern churches must still be allowed the principle of autocephalous patriarchates. It appears Mogila was willing to limit the "reunion" to Poland: he did not mention Muscovy, or the Greeks bound in Turkish captivity. Nor did he seek a merger: l'unione e non l'unite. For even under the supremacy of the pope the Orthodox were to retain their constitution. The metropolitan was still to be elected by the bishops, and although it would be expected that he take an oath of allegiance to the pope, his election would not require papal confirmation. In the event that the ecumenical patriarchate should unite with Rome, its jurisdiction in Poland was to be restored. The last section of Mogila's memorandum set out the means by which the new plan of union should be examined and deliberated. First it should be submitted to local and provincial diets for their discussion. Next, a conference ought to be arranged between the Uniates and the Orthodox, without, however, any reference to a perspective union. The findings obtained at these preliminary meetings should then be submitted to the general Diet of the realm. However elaborate, as with the project of 1636, nothing came of Mogila's reunion memorandum of 1643. And a few years later he died (1647).

Peter Mogila's attitude to the problems of the Roman Catholic Church was clear and simple. He did not see any real difference between Orthodoxy and Rome. He was convinced of the importance of canonical independence, but perceived no threat from inner "Latinization." Indeed, he welcomed it and promoted it in some respect for the very sake of securing the Church's external independence.

http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/ways_russian_theology_florovsky.htm#_Toc103210520

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Dear AMM,

Yes, in fact Mohyla was related by blood to a number of royal European families - when invited to attend ecumenical conferences, he went simply as a matter of courtesy for starters.

One indication of his attitude toward the Catholic West was when the Polish king ordered the future St Athanasius of Brest taken to Mohyla for "safe keeping" after his incident of public protest in the Polish parliament. He asked Mohyla to keep the troublesome monk quiet. And Mohyla simply told Athanasius Filipovich to "calm yourself down." And calm he was until 1648 when the Poles came to the monastery of Brest looking for Athanasius to make an "example" of him by martyring him.

Some Ukrainian Catholic theological commentary on Mohyla that I have in a book that is somewhere at home seemed to show that Mohyla did in fact agree that the Eastern "Through the Son" was equal to the West's "And from the Son" i.e. Filioque.

Mohyla was not alone in his attitude to the West. Prince Constantine Ostrozhky was actually a proponent of a form of union with the RC Church and was only against the Union of Brest simply because the organizers of that version of union did not invite the interested princes to take part in the talks.

Today, we tend to see what many of us call "Latinization" as subsisting in the realm of the church and theology only.

In the time of Mohyla, Latinization was part of being "European" and a member of European civilization, the descendant of the Greco-Roman religious/cultural achievement.

In the Mohyla Insitute, Latin was itself the "lingua franca" of the students and of the educated class. The Mohyla Institute, although Orthodox, insisted on keeping Latin as its language of instruction even long after other European universities introduced their national languages (there is a published PhD dissertation on this that I have as well).

Although Orthodox, Mohyla has always been widely popular among Ukrainian Catholics and it is fairly common to hear him quoted or referred to most positively in sermons and articles and books penned by UC priests, bishops and theologians.

Today, he is often the one person of the Baroque era that is the object of some scorn by the "ultra-Eastern" Orthodox and Eastern Catholics.

I think it is to Mohyla's great credit that, although Orthodox and not Slavic at all, that he was enthusiastically honoured as one of the greatest Metropolitans of Kyiv ever, by both Orthodox and EC's.

Truly a remarkable man who deserves to be honoured as a Saint by both Orthodox AND Catholic Churches - even with the status of "Doctor" or "Teacher" in both.

Alex

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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Dear AMM,

Truly a remarkable man who deserves to be honoured as a Saint by both Orthodox AND Catholic Churches - even with the status of "Doctor" or "Teacher" in both.

Alex

Dear Alex,

These are two very wonderfully written small essays on St. Petro and the context of his life.

This thread is a real little gem because of them.

I could stand to hear more if you have time and inspiration to write more.

Mary

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Dear Mary,

Christ is Risen!

Thank you for your exceeding kindness - I've always had a great veneration for St Peter who was honoured locally as a saint almost since his death in the 17th century.

They found his relics in the Kyivan Caves Church bombed by the Nazis and his glorification was almost assured after that.

Under his inspiration an entire school of Baroque Orthodox Saints came into being (and they are mentioned by name by the Catholic author Dom Aelred Graham on Catholicism):

St Dmitri (Tuptalenko) of Rostov

St Innocent (Kulchitsky) of Siberia

St Paul (Koniuskevich) of Tobilsk in Siberia

St Joasaph (Horlenko) of Bilhorod

St Arsenius (Matsievich) of Rostov (Hieromartyr)

St John (Maximovych) of Siberia

St Filotheus (Leschynsky) Apostle of Siberia

and others.

Many Western devotions became prominent in Orthodoxy under St Peter including devotion to St Joseph, to the Sorrowful Mother and her Holy Conception, to the Rosary and even the Little Office and the 15 prayers of St Bridget.

St Dmitri and others also took up the Western practice of praying a Hail Mary at the beginning of every hour of the day.

His devotion to the Sorrows of Mary still figures in Orthodox prayerbooks (Tale of the Five Prayers).

The devotional side of the Baroque era is truly fascinating!

Cheers,

Alex

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Today, he is often the one person of the Baroque era that is the object of some scorn by the "ultra-Eastern" Orthodox and Eastern Catholics.

Well, it's fairly obvious from Fr. Florovsky's treatment of him that he didn't view the legacy of St. Petro positively. The period in general is one I have found that Orthodox people often wish to distance themselves from. Whether it's what came from the Kyivan baroque period or just the church in the 17th century generally (such as with the Confession of Dositheus). I think the catechism of St. Philaret (although later) is also regarded as being "too Latinized".

The Confession of St. Petro Mohyla is available in English here - http://esoptron.umd.edu/ugc/ocfi.html

Certainly things might be expressed differently now, but I don't think that means such things need to be rejected or treated as some sort of embarrassing blemish on the church (unless I guess ones agenda is to maximize east/west differences).

One source I know on the period in English is "The Icon and the Axe" by James Billington. He covers the period briefly as does talk about the influence taken in to Muscovy by Ukrainian clergy. It's been a while since I read it.

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St Dmitri (Tuptalenko) of Rostov

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His devotion to the Sorrows of Mary still figures in Orthodox prayerbooks (Tale of the Five Prayers).

It's not printed in the back of the ROCOR prayer book anymore, but you can still get it.

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Dear AMM,

The really interesting thing about St Dmitri's version is that it represents an original Western devotion to the FIVE sorrows of the Theotokos rather than seven.

However, he includes a "Rejoice" refrain in honour of the 15 Joys and Sorrows of the Theotokos at the end.

He wrote so movingly about the "Wounded Side of Christ" that Fr. Ireney Nazarko OSBM (not known to go out of his way to be nice to the Orthodox!) once commented after making a direct quote from St Dmitri: "Truly that person must be a Saint of God who could write so well!"

Dom Aelred Graham actually refers to the above Orthodox saints I mention by name in one work and comments on how "Catholic" they are. Of course, RC theologians have always referred to St Nicholas Cabasilas' work on the Divine Liturgy (AND to to his Devotion to the Sacred Head and Heart of Christ - sic) as being "solid" etc.

The Greek St Nicodemos Hagioritis actually criticized Western Catholic theologians for their views of the role of the heart - he says that the heart is not just a symbol of love but it is the seat of the mind where love truly exists etc.

It is no wonder that the Orthodox Saints of the Baroque era are also the ones who developed fully the Hesychastic Jesus Prayer movement - at the same time as devotion to the Name of Jesus flourished in the West.

Will wonders never cease? smile

Alex

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Information on Saint Peter (Mohyla) is not abundant in English, unfortunately. Father Georges Florovsky was biased, and the writers since then who based themselves on his diatribe are even more biased - none of them bothered to verify their opnions by checking the authentic sources.

The Romanian Orthodox Church was, i think, the first Local Church to "receive" the canonization formally - and, God bless them, they have always kept Saint Peter's catechism in print.

Your humble servant wrote an article a few years ago, offering a theological vindication of Saint Peter (Mohuyla), perhaps that would be of some interest.

Fr. Serge

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Fr. Serge, do you know which version of Petro Mohyla's catechism the Romanian Orthodox Church kept in print?
The original in Latin or the version corrected at the Synod of Jassy?
Who and when was it translated into Romanian?
I don't remember modern Romanian Orthodox theologians such as Staniloae mentioning it.

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I just remembered I attended a Ukrainian Orthodox conference on Petro Mohyla in Toronto in the mid-1990's when I was a grad student. I think some of the proceedings were later published in Winnipeg.
There was a discussion about Florovsky's views on Mohyla. There are Ukrainian Orthodox scholars who praise Mohyla for his church organizational efforts in a time of problems for Orthodoxy in Ukraine, but at the same time see some truth in Florovsky's writings about Mohyla's introduction of scholasticism into Orthodox education. There was a discussion about the limited options that Mohyla had at the time. Mohyla afterall was a man of his times and his own education and contacts with western views. I thought at the time, it was a very balanced view of Mohyla.
The Harvard Journal of Ukrainian Studies also produced one issue devoted to Mohyla which some of the scholars at this conference thought was too nationalistic and uncritical of the man or his times.
Since I see Florovsky being quoted by all and sundry, I think it is time for a serious study of Mohyla and the theology, and liturgial changes he introduced. I remember one scholar saying, it is even hard to prove that Mohyla's Trebnyk was even followed or adhered to throughout Ukraine.

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Originally Posted by Serge Keleher
Your humble servant wrote an article a few years ago, offering a theological vindication of Saint Peter (Mohuyla), perhaps that would be of some interest.

Most definitely, is it online?

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Dear Orest,

The version of St Peter's Catechism that the Roumanian Orthodox have in print is the corrected version (i.e. sans purgatory etc.)

Met. Ilarion Ohienko in his various works touched on the subject of the literary heritage inaugurated by the Kyivan Baroque of the time of St Peter Mohyla.

For example, he shows how the work of St Dmitri Tuptalo of Rostov reflects a familiarity with the language of the people and how his sermons and devotions were therefore widely accepted by many, even among the peasant class (and especially his "Cheti Menai").

The introduction of Scholasticism and Western traditions into the Kyivan Orthodox Metropolia via St Peter demonstrated his far-reaching vision. At this time, many Orthodox were leaving Orthodoxy altogether for Roman Catholicism (not even Eastern Catholicism). This was not the result of slow Latinization via the Unia - as one hears from some church historians today. This was the result of the simple fact that RCism and its Jesuit schools were seen as the "place to be" and the "modern with-it" crowd. Orthodoxy and ECism were often seen as being anti-intellectual and behind the times.

St Peter Mohyla changed all that and showed that one can be Orthodox and yet a citizen of European civilization of the time and at the same time.

He agreed with the then European assessment of the Orthodoxy of "barbaric Muscovy" - an assessment also shared by Tsar Peter I et alia.

The idea of "nationalism" in perspectives on St Peter - now that I find interesting.

Whenever theologians venture into social science, they seem to fall flat on their faces. Yet they never hesitate to use such broad, sweeping terms as "nationalism" without really ever knowing what they are talking about.

Father Sergius Keleher is quite the exception to the rule as he has a wide background in both theology and the social sciences - in addition, he has the kind of pastoral experience and breadth of vision most of our bishops have no idea about!

So I too would love to read his article and if I could buy a copy, I would be pleased to pay his price (and, Father, please remember that your Irish economy is doing a heck of a lot better these days than ours over here! :)).

But, in any event, I take it that a "nationalistic" understanding of St Peter is understood to be a positive and even uncritical one.

That is another achievement by the man - he was not an ethnic Ukrainian or East Slav of any kind and yet he has become an icon of a great hierarch dedicated to the Church of Kyiv and extolled by Orthodox, EC's and RC's alike.

If that's "nationalism," then give me a flag to carry! wink

Alex

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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
They found his relics in the Kyivan Caves Church bombed by the Nazis and his glorification was almost assured after that.

I'm curious to know why you say that it was the Nazis who bombed the Cathedral of the Dormition. Has the matter been definitively settled?

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Originally Posted by Roman
Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
They found his relics in the Kyivan Caves Church bombed by the Nazis and his glorification was almost assured after that.

I'm curious to know why you say that it was the Nazis who bombed the Cathedral of the Dormition. Has the matter been definitively settled?
There have been some articles posted recently on the Ukrainian version of the RISU [risu.org.ua] web site addressing this issue. None gives a definitive answer.

I would hope that English translation appear in due course.

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