LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 32, No. 2 - Summer 1986
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas
Copyright © 1986 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
The Kiev Mohyla Academy
(Harvard Ukrainian Studies, vol. VIII, no. 1/2),
Edited by Omeljan Pritsak and Ihor Sevcenko,
Published by the Ukrainian Research Institute of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts,
Copyright 1985. 252 pages plus facsimile. Paperback. $28.00.
This special issue of the Harvard Ukrainian Studies series, which was compiled to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the founding of the Kiev Mohyla Academy (henceforth referred to as the Kiev Collegium, since it was not technically an academy at the time of its founding) is to date the most comprehensive study of this school and its founder available to western readers. It contains nine articles on the history and intellectual impact of Peter Mohyla and the Kiev Collegium.
Born in Moldavia, educated in Poland, and raised to the rank of metropolitan in Kiev, Peter Mohyla was indeed a man of "many worlds," as the title of Ihor Ševčenko's article implies ("The Many Worlds of Peter Mohyla"). In the articles devoted to Mohyla's life, he emerges as an exceptional leader and organizer, astute in political matters. He successfuly solicited the support of both the king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and of the Cossack hetman for his Kiev Collegium, which was modeled after the Jesuit Academy in Vilnius, but designed to defend Orthodoxy from western influence. He also received recognition from the churchmen of Constantinople for his "Orthodox Confession," which was translated into Greek. Given the complex balance of power which faced Peter Mohyla, combined with the contemporary issues which confront historians, it is doubly difficult to produce an objective account of this man and his work. The scholars who contributed to this volume have obviously taken this as their collective goal and have taken great pains to achieve it. Frank E. Sysyn's article, "Peter Mohyla and the Kiev Academy in Recent Western Works," essentially five book reviews gathered together, presents several case studies of failure to provide an unbiased history of the Kiev Collegium and its founder (due to the intrusion of pro-Ukrainian, pro-Russian, and pro-Polish viewpoints). In his foreword Omeljan Pritsak admits to having previously condemned Peter Mohyla for failing to forge a Ukrainian literary language or to inspire an earlier Ukrainian national revival, and recognizes that his "overall evaluation of the academy's role in Ukrainian history was certainly wrong, because (he) looked at its development from too narrow a perspective" (p. 6).
National bias has generally been avoided and the book as a whole paints a rich and lively portrait of Peter Mohyla and his school. The articles are masterfully written, with great attention to historical detail. Two articles concentrate on Mohyla's biography ("The Many Worlds of Peter Mohyla" by Ihor Ševčenko and "Pierre Mohyla /Petru Movila/ et la Roumanie" by Matei Cazacu), the second of which deals mostly with Mohyla's early years and is supplemented by the Mohyla family tree and a bibliography of Romanian sources. Another two articles deal specifically with the Kiev Collegium ("Theology at the Kiev Academy during its Golden Age" by James Cracraft and "The Kiev Mohyla Academy and the Hetmanate" by George Gajecky). Yet another pair of articles analyzes texts written for school performances at the Kiev Collegium ("Eucharisterion. Albo, Vdjačnost" by Natalia Pylypiuk and "Drama and Theater at Ukrainian Schools in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries" by Paulina Lewin). These six articles provide the core of information presented on Mohyla and his school, but are unfortunately scattered about the book in seemingly random order.
The last two articles mentioned above require special comment. Natalia Pylypiuk gives an analysis of a panegyric written in praise of Peter Mohyla, a facsimile of which appears in the back of the book. Natalia Pylypiuk gives an enlightening reading of the text and compares it with the Renaissance panegyrics of western Europe and with a poem recited at the opening of a theological school in the Netherlands in 1575. She of course includes many and often lengthy quotations of the panegyric in her article, but translates only some of these quotations, leaving others untranslated for no apparent reason. I found this practice rather frustrating, especially since it seemed at times that obtuse passages were left to stand alone whereas those that were more transparent were accompanied by translations. I am myself a Slavic linguist (although not a Ukrainian specialist) and must admit that I struggled through verse after verse only with difficulty. The author herself consulted other specialists to clarify "some aspects of the Eucharisterion's text" (fn., p. 45), yet does not seem to give us the benefit of her findings. In addition to providing translations of quotations in the text of her article, it would have been desirable to include, parallel to the facsimile, a typed Cyrillic transcript or Latinized transliteration of the entire text (since, although the copy is quite good, the facsimile is hard to read in places, perhaps because it was slightly reduced in this, its first, printing), as well as a translation into English (or at least a reprint of the translation into modern Ukrainian mentioned by Ševčenko in the footnote on p. 27). Certainly Natalia Pylypiuk had to do most of the preparatory work necessary to accomplish this in order to write her article, and the inclusion of this information would have made both the text and her article more accessible to the reader. Paulina Lewin, in her discussion of baroque elements and biblical inspiration in Ukrainian school plays, makes similar use of quotations with and without translation. Since she makes reference to a number of plays, a list or table would have been helpful, in addition to the missing translations. Paulina Lewin's article provides many vivid insights into the structure and staging of plays in this period, although toward the end of her article she yields to extensive speculation on possible stage directions which she assumes to be missing from the texts (resulting in a distracting proliferation of phrases like "we can imagine," "might have," "probably," see pp. 111-117).
The three remaining articles touch on issues which are more tangential to the subject matter of the book, but no less interesting. In the first one, "The Kiev Mohyla Academy in Relation to Polish Culture," Ryszard Lužny describes the channeling of western influence into the Ukraine via Poland and the Kiev Collegium. "In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Baroque came to much of the area in a modified Polish form, made more 'familiar' by being Slavic. . . The Kiev Mohyla Academy was destined to have a highly visible role in this process which in some areas was decisive" (p. 124). -Luzny demonstrates that the instructors of the Kiev Collegium regarded Polish literature as "a common 'Slavic' property" (p. 128), and Jan Kochanowski as "a model poet" (p. 131), and that they themselves executed many of their best works in Polish (see pp. 132134). In "The Kiev Mohyla Collegium and Seventeenth-Century Polish-English Literary Contacts" Roman Koropecky attempts to unravel the mystery behind a Polish translation of an English protestant devotional book. Its relevance to the rest of the volume lies in the fact that this translation was done at the Kiev Collegium, suggesting that a protestant refugee of the Counter-Reformation exiled to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth found his way to Kiev and Mohyla's school. This is indicative of the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the Kiev Collegium. The third article is Frank E. Sysyn's review of western sources on Mohyla and the Kiev Collegium, already mentioned above.
The articles and facsimile are complemented by a series of bibliographies: a) a bibliography of sixty-eight Romanian titles, appended to Cazacu's article, b) a select bibliography of twenty-five works by Polish scholars (twelve of which are authored by the compiler, Paulina Lewin), and c) a select bibliography of 108 recent Soviet publications (condensed from a longer list yet to be published) with an index of historical figures and modern authors. Both the Polish and the Soviet bibliographies have brief descriptions in English of every entry.
This is indeed a landmark publication in the area of Ukrainian Studies, one worthy of its subject, and one that will be surpassed only when "the constraints and outright denial of access imposed on scholars working (with primary sources) in the Soviet Union (which we from the West perhaps too often tolerate in silence)" (p. 72) is lifted.
LAURA A. JANDA
University of Rochester