Meletius Smotrytsky


Meletius Smotrytsky : biography

– 1633

In 1620, Meletius Smotrytsky became the Archbishop of Polotsk (Metropolitan of Kiev), bishop of Vitebsk and Mstyslaw. Around that time he published several anti-Union (see Union of Brest) works for which he was persecuted by the Polish authorities. During 1624 Smotrytsky traveled to Constantinople, Egypt, Palestine, after which in 1625 he returned back to Kiev.

Eventually by 1627 he sided with followers of the Union and became the Archimandrite of Derman Monastery. Pope Urban VIII granted Smotrytsky the title of Archbishop of Hierpolski. Smotrytsky is buried at the Derman Monastery.

Archbishop of Hierapolis

Although Smotrytsky assured that going to Catholicism will be ready to be transferred to the secular state, in fact, depend on his behavior, even titular, the dignity of the church. But he could not remain archbishop of Polotsk, as the cathedral is the Uniate Church was already planted. Josyf Velamyn Rutsky even suggested in 1627 that Smotrytsky was auxiliary bishop of the Eparchy of a Uniate, suggesting granting him the title of Bishop of Halicz. This issue was discussed in Rome, however, only in 1630, when already stopped any doubt of Smotrytsky’s conversion to Catholicism. However, the suggestion was rejected by Rutsky and were considered only two possibilities: the title of archbishop of Christopolis (located at the top of Athos), or Hierapolis (under Persian rule). Finally, on June 5, 1631, Pope Urban VIII gave him the title of Archbishop of Hierapolis. Thus, the former Orthodox archbishop of Polotsk had dignity in the Catholic Church, which did not give any real powers. The reason for such a decision, the pope could have a negative assessment of Smotrytsky’s attitudes at council in Kiev, where he pleaded not guilty to his conversion. Still in 1631 Smotrytsky wrote to Rome that would like to be bishop of the Diocese of actually running, it is best to Ruthenia. At the same time refused to travel as a missionary on Athos, where, he said, his work would not have prospects of success. In his opinion, only business unit trade in Russia could lead to effectively promote Catholicism among the Orthodoxes. Uniate clergy in his letters to Rome has consistently asserted that Smotrytsky eagerly engaged in the life of the Church. A multitude of these letters suggest, however, that some doubt on his person did not stop ever, and that the rest of his life he remained under close supervision of the Uniate hierarchy. Smotrycki not severed all relations with the Orthodox. I still receive letters from the brotherhood of Vilnius and from some Orthodox monks. In his letters, he appealed to the Orthodox accepted the union, as long as they were still society composed not only of peasants. In this way, they retain certain rights and privileges. Otherwise, he said, as far as leaving the Orthodox Church for another noble families remaining followers will be forced to accept Catholicism unconditionally . At the same time, despite assurances treatment units, supposedly created new polemical texts defending the union, in the last four years of his life made no theological work and never took the public to vote on matters connected with the Church. On February 16, 1630 Smotrytsky addressed to Pope Urban VIII, another letter in which he presented a new plan for the evolution of the Commonwealth, in which he suggested the use of force to spread the union by uniting the efforts of the Church, the State and the Catholic magnates. Increasing over time Smotrytsky’s intolerance resulted from his conviction that only Russians to adopt the union will become a political nation, respected on a par with the Poles and Lithuanians, preserving its autonomy. Russians saw themselves as a nation forming part of a larger community of Orthodox Slavs, which, in accordance with the terms of his era, the nation ranked only nobles. He was also convinced that attached to the Ruthenian Catholic Church could make a moral renewal of the Orthodox Church, as the local Church, which enjoyed the greatest freedom and had the best educated clergy. Meletius Smotrytsky died on December 27, 1633. His last confessor, Jesuit Wojciech Kortycki, dedicated to his memory eulogy he delivered then print [38] . Metropolitan Joseph Welamin Rutski claimed Smotrycki was poisoned by the Orthodox deacon, which hired a scribe [60] . He was buried in the monastery in Dermaniu, which remained his residence from 1627.