Meletius Smotrytsky


Meletius Smotrytsky : biography

– 1633

Conversion to Catholicism

Catholic and Orthodox authors have long debated Smotrytsky’s reasons for abandoning Orthodoxy and converting to the Uniate Church. Uniate Catholics have argued that the conversion was a miracle based on the intercession of Martyr Saint Josaphat Kuntsevych. This explanation, first advanced by Josyf Veliamyn Rutsky, in 1867 was accepted in the papal Bull Pope Pius IXcanonizing Kuncewicz [37]. Smotrytysky also compared himself with Paul of Tarsus suddenly relapsed after the stoning of Saint Stephen. Orthodox Christians, in turn, attributed his conversion to worldly reasons: allegedly he was tempted by the money and prestige of an imminent appointment as Abbot of a Uniate monastery in Dermaniu. The former archbishop of Polotsk was portrayed as a traitor to the true faith, and was compared with Judas or Martin Luther. Against Meletius Smotrytsky was a whole group of Orthodox pamphlets. He rarely refer in their letters to the reasons to change his religion, readily contrasted with each other while the "old" and "new" Smotrytsky. He suggested that before the conversion was not sure what I really believe, while the adoption of Catholicism regained confidence in this regard. Also gave different date for the final decision to accept the union, from 1623 years (before leaving for Constantinople) up to 1628 years. He said that since 1615 years waged an internal battle that it has augmented its own texts, in which he defended, with less inner conviction, the Orthodox dogma, suggesting that even before chirotonią bishop did not agree with the spirit of brotherhood following the publication anti-Uniate from Vilnius. A number of scholars claim that the Archbishop Meletius decided to convert the union under the influence of disenchantment which earned him a trip to Constantinople. This decision was the result of a deep spiritual crisis and the ultimate belief that only strictly bound by Russia of Polish-Lithuanian state, through the union of the church, will help in the revival of Russian people and culture. Mironowicz claims that Smotrytsky disappointing experience with a trip to two of the ancient patriarchates meant that he decided to devote all his strength on the union "of Rus" in one Uniate Church. On July 6, 1627 Meletius Smotrytsky sent a letter to Pope Urban VIII, asking for forgiveness of sins and acceptance of the Catholic Church. The second letter addressed to Cardinal Ottavio Bandini, which argued that from now on will not go away "even the hair" of the Catholic faith. On July 10, 1627 Uniate Archbishop Josyf Veliamyn Rutsky informed by letter of the Pope to convert Meletius Smotrytsky. The fact that a profession of faith by a former Orthodox archbishop and polemicist, was even then being a secret. The agreement to use for a while Orthodox titles and duties apparent asked the Pope in a separate letter sent at the same time as the letter of request for admission to the Catholic Church.


Θρηνος to iest Lament iedyney S. powszechney apostolskiey Wschodniey Cerkwie … – Wilno, 1610.

Ґrammatіki Slavenskiya correctament Svntaґma … Eve, 1619. Reprint: Kiev: Naukova Dumka, 1979. online version (scanned). Apologia. – Lions, 1628.

Αντιγραφη (Antigrafi) / / Monuments of polemical literature. – St. Petersburg., 1903. – Pr. 3 (Russian east. Library, Vol 19). Verificatia niewinności / / AYUZR. – Part 1. – T. 7.

Lyament in squalid svіta on zhalostnoє prestavlenіє svyatolyubivogo and oboї dobrodіtelі Bhagat husband Bozі velebnogo Mr. ottsya Leontіya Karpovich arhіmandrita obschіa obitelі at tserkvі Soshestvіya Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit Orthodox Church Vіlenskogo grecheskogo / / Pam’yatki bratskih shkіl on Ukraїnі. – K., 1988.

Collected works of Meletij Smortyc’kyj / Harvard Library of Early Ukrainian Literature: Texts: Volume I. Cambridge (Massachusetts): Harvard University, 1987. ISBN 0-916458-20-2 .

The Jevanhelije učytelnoje of Meletij Smotryc’kyj / Harvard Library of Early Ukrainian Literature: Texts: Volume II. Cambridge (Massachusetts): Harvard University, 1987. ISBN 0-916458-21-0 .