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Renaissance Influences in Ukrainian Culture

1. Cultural processes in Europe in the XIV–XVI centuries.

2. Cultural life of Ukrainian lands under Polish-Lithuanian governing.

3. Cultural phenomenon of brotherhood in the light of European tendencies.

4. Educational activity in Ukrainian lands.

1. The key phenomenon of cultural process of Europe in the XIV–XVI centuries was Renaissance (from Fr. – rebirth). It started in Italy in the XIV century as an intellectual movement for resurgence of learning based on classical sources of Antiquity, revival of classical ideals of beauty and methods of arts. Humanism was the fundamental principle of Renaissance and defined the worldview that focused on human values as well as on refined education based on five Humanities: poetry, grammar, history, ethics and oratory.

The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Florence in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historic era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not uniform across Europe, this is a general use of the term. As a cultural movement, it encompassed a resurgence of learning based on classical sources, the development of linear perspective in painting, and gradual but widespread educational reform. Traditionally, this intellectual transformation has resulted in the Renaissance being viewed as a bridge between the Middle Ages and the Modern era. Although the Renaissance saw revolutions in many intellectual pursuits, as well as social and political upheaval, it is perhaps best known for its artistic developments and the contributions of such polymaths as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who inspired the term "Renaissance man".

Most historians agree that the ideas that characterized the Renaissance had their origin in late 13th century Florence, in particular with the writings of Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) and Francesco Petrarca (1304–1374), as well as the painting of Giotto di Bondone (1267–1337). There is a general, but not unchallenged, consensus that the Renaissance began in Florence, Tuscany in the 14th century. Various theories have been proposed to account for its origins and characteristics, focusing on a variety of factors including the social and civic peculiarities of Florence at the time; its political structure; the patronage of its dominant family, the Medici; and the migration of Greek scholars and texts to Italy following the Fall of Constantinople at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.

The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life in the early modern period. Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence affected literature, philosophy, art, politics, science, religion, and other aspects of intellectual inquiry. Renaissance scholars employed the humanist method in study.

In some ways Humanism was not a philosophy per se, but rather a method of learning. In contrast to the medieval scholastic mode, which focused on resolving contradictions between authors, humanists would study ancient texts in the original, and appraise them through a combination of reasoning and empirical evidence. Humanist education was based on the programme of 'Studia Humanitatis', that being the study of five humanities: poetry, grammar, history, moral philosophy and rhetoric. Humanists asserted "the genius of man. the unique and extraordinary ability of the human mind. As a program to revive the cultural—and particularly the literary—legacy and moral philosophy of classical antiquity, Humanism was a pervasive cultural mode.



The period from the fourteenth century to the seventeenth worked in favor of the general emancipation of the individual. The city-states of northern Italy had come into contact with the diverse customs of the East, and gradually permitted expression in matters of taste and dress. The writings of Dante, and particularly the doctrines of Petrarch and humanists like Machiavelli, emphasized the virtues of intellectual freedom and individual expression.

Renaissance humanists did not reject Christianity; quite the contrary, many of the Renaissance's greatest works were devoted to it, and the Church patronized many works of Renaissance art. However, a subtle shift took place in the way that intellectuals approached religion that was reflected in many other areas of cultural life. In addition, many Greek Christian works, including the Greek New Testament, were brought back from Byzantium to Western Europe and engaged Western scholars for the first time since late antiquity. This new engagement with Greek Christian works, and particularly the return to the original Greek of the New Testament promoted by humanists Lorenzo Valla and Erasmus, would help pave the way for the Protestant Reformation.

With the adoption of large-scale printing after the end of the era of incunabula (or books printed prior to 1501), Italian Humanism spread northward to France, Germany, Holland and England, where it became associated with the Protestant Reformation.

Though humanists continued to use their scholarship in the service of the church into the middle of the sixteenth century and beyond, the sharply confrontational religious atmosphere following the Protestant reformation resulted in the Counter-Reformation that sought to silence challenges to Catholic theology, with similar efforts among the Protestant churches.

Speaking about northern Renaissance, it should be mentioned that it was associated with the Protestant Reformation (1517–1648) – religious movement directed on the reform of The Protestant Reformation, also called the Protestant Revolt or simply The Reformation, was the European Christian reform movement that established Protestantism as a constituent branch of contemporary Christianity. It was led by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other Protestants. The self-described "reformers" (who "protested") objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, and created new national Protestant churches. The Catholics responded with a Counter Reformation, led by the Jesuit order, which reclaimed large parts of Europe, such as Poland. In general, northern Europe turned Protestant, and southern Europe remained Catholic, while fierce battles that turned into warfare took place in the center. The largest of the new denominations were the Anglicans (based in England), the Lutherans (based in Germany and Scandinavia), and the Reformed churches (based in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Scotland). There were many smaller bodies as well. The most common dating begins in 1517 when Luther published The Ninety-Five Theses, and concludes in 1648 with the Treaty of Westphalia that ended years of European religious wars.[

The Protestant Reformation began as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church, carried out by Western European Catholics who opposed what they perceived as false doctrines and ecclesiastic malpractice — especially the teaching and the sale of indulgences or the abuses thereof, and simony, the selling and buying of clerical offices — that the reformers saw as evidence of the systemic corruption of the Church's Roman hierarchy, which included the Pope. Both issues were dealt with in an altogether different manner by the Roman Catholic Church during the Counter-Reformation.

Counter-Reformation (1545–1648) was an attempt of Catholic Church to reform itself and to strengthen its influence in most staying Catholic countries. For such purposes the Jesuit order was founded in 1534.

Among countries under the influence of Counter-Reformation processes was Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a political unity of states in 1569–1795 that accomplished dynastic alliances of Polish and Lithuanian rulers of the XIV and early XV centuries.

2. Till the XIV century Ukrainian lands gradually had come under foreign rule. Frontier lands were under permanent raids of Tatar-Mongols. Most territories were subordinated to Grand Duchy of Lithuania, where Ukrainians had much autonomy. Principality of Halicia and Volynia was subjugated by Poland.

Political linkage of Poland and Lithuania for a long time was marked by high level of ethnic diversity with cultural variety and religious tolerance. For some period cultures of Catholicism and of Eastern Orthodoxy coexisted and penetrated each other. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania adopted the administrative practices and the legal system of Rus and a state language that was Old Slavonic, heavily imbued with vernacular Ukrainian and Belorussian. However, Lithuania—united with Poland by a dynastic linkage in 1386—gradually adopted Roman Catholicism and Polish language and customs.

It was an important European centre for the development of social and political ideas. Ruthenian thinkers, while writing in Latin or Polish, took an active part in European discussions on issues of education, freedom, democracy. S. Orzechowski-Roksolan, S. Pecalid, I. Dombrovski were among them.

Architecture of that period was mostly subordinated to defense tasks after Tatar-Mongol invasion. But Renaissance influences were evident in the Romanesque castle of Khotyn as well in the castles of Kamyanets-Podilskiy and Ostroh, and fortified monasteries of the XV century. Many Ukrainian cities had got Magdeburg rights, i.e. a set of economical and political regulations for municipal self-governing. That provoked active urban planning, especially at the territories with minimal Tatar-Mongol damages. The Renaissance architectural ensemble of Lviv Market Square was formed by the XVI century; the Kornyakta Tower and the Ensemble of Ruska Street were also influenced by Renaissance. The development of fresco painting was halted by the spread of wooden churches and the use of simpler painting techniques in decorating secular building. Among monuments of the XV century there are partly preserved frescoes of the Church of Lavrov St. Onuphrius’ Monastery, in which the Mother of God is the central figure. Easel painting of the period is represented by iconostases of the Church of St. Paraskeva, surnamed “Friday” and the Dormition Church in Lviv.

3. Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Union was established in 1569, and Ukrainian lands were annexed by Poland. Since that time the process of forced Polonization, i.e. acquisition of Polish language and culture by non-Polish population started. The 1596 Brest-Litovsk Union accompanied Polonization. The Brest-Litovsk Union intended to be a compromise between Catholicism and Orthodoxy in Ukrainian lands and to preserve traditional Eastern rites and customs under the rule of Catholicism in deep crisis circumstances of Eastern Orthodox Church after the fall of Constantinople (1453). But in practice it became a might tool of Polonization and intensification of Jesuits activity.

Church Union of Berestia proclaimed in 1596, between the Ruthenian (Ukrainian-Belarusian) Orthodox church in Poland and Lithuania and the Holy See. The recognition of the pope as the head of the church and the implications of this position for the faith, morals, practices, and church administration were accepted by the Orthodox clergy. For his part, the pope agreed to the retention of the Eastern rite and confirmed the administrative-disciplinary rights and autonomy of the Kyiv metropoly.

Various circumstances brought about a crisis in the Ukrainian Orthodox church in the second half of the 16th century: the Turkish conquest of the seat of the patriarch of Constantinople in 1453; difficulties in the Ukrainian-Belarusian Orthodox church, such as declining discipline; the creation of the Moscow patriarchate in 1589; Protestant influences; and the Polonization of the Ukrainian upper classes. The Orthodox bishops worked out a plan for establishing ties with Rome at their sobors in 1590–4. The initiators of the plan hoped to gain not only ecclesiastical benefits from the union, but also an end to the Polonization of the upper classes and equality for the Orthodox church and its clergy in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The union was supported by leading Polish circles because it was politically and religiously advantageous to them.

The union was announced by the papal bull on 23 December 1595. In January and February of 1596 the rights and privileges of the Uniate church were worked out and were guaranteed by the bull of 23 February 1596. After Ipatii Potii and Kyrylo Terletsky returned from Rome, a sobor was called in Berestia for 16–20 October 1596. The sobor split into two groups—for and against the union with Rome—and thus two councils went on concurrently. The Polish king Sigismund III Vasa issued a proclamation in support of the union. The Apostolic See was represented at the sobor by the Roman Catholic bishops of Lviv, Lutsk, and Kholm, and the Brotherhoods. Fraternities affiliated with individual churches in Ukraine and Belarus that performed a number of religious and secular functions.

The origins of brotherhoods can be traced back to the medieval bratchyny, which were organized at churches in the Princely era (first mentioned in the Hypatian Chronicle, 1159). Brotherhoods as such appeared in Ukraine in the mid-15th century, with the rise of the burgher class. They adopted their organizational structure from Western medieval brotherhoods (confraternitates) and trade guilds. Initially the brotherhoods engaged only in religious and charitable activities. They maintained churches and sometimes assumed financial responsibility for them, ensured that church services, in particular parish feasts, were celebrated in a ceremonious way, arranged ritual dinners for their members, collected money, helped the indigent and the sick, and organized hospitals. Since these religious and charitable activities of the brotherhoods left no visible traces, some historians, such as Kost Huslysty and Yaroslav Isaievych, do not consider the early period of the brotherhoods as being part of their history.

The brotherhoods began to play a historical role in the second half of the 16th and at the beginning of the 17th century. In this period they assumed the task of defending the Orthodox faith and Ukrainian nationality by counteracting Catholic and particularly Jesuit expansionism, Polonization, and later conversion to the Uniate church. Because they consisted predominantly of burghers, the brotherhoods acquired a secular character and often found themselves in opposition to the authoritarian practices of the clergy. Hence, they endeavored to reform the Orthodox church from within by condemning the corrupt practices of the hierarchy and of individual clergymen. Their interference in clerical affairs was one of the reasons for the favorable attitude towards the Church Union of Berestia among the Orthodox bishops. The brotherhoods brought about a revival in the life of the church by promoting cultural and educational activity. They founded brotherhood schools, printing presses, and libraries. The resulting cultural-religious movement found its literary expression in polemical literature. The brotherhoods also participated in civic and political life. They sent representatives to church councils and to the Sejm in Warsaw and maintained ties with the Cossacks.

In the late 16th and early 17th century new brotherhoods were founded and existing ones were reorganized in the towns of Galicia, the Kholm region, Podlachia, Volhynia, and the Dnieper region. Each brotherhood had its own statute (articles, regulations, procedures), modeled on the statute of the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood of 1586. Membership was open to all estates, but usually only married men were admitted (unmarried men belonged to the ‘junior’ brotherhoods). At his initiation a member had to take an oath. Officers—usually four elders, including the head (a senior member)—were elected at the annual meeting.

Although brotherhood members were usually merchants and skilled tradesmen residing in the towns, some Orthodox clerics and nobles, such as Lavrentii Drevynsky and A. Puzyna, and some magnates, such as Kostiantyn Vasyl Ostrozky, A. Vyshnevetsky, participated in the affairs of certain brotherhoods.

The Lviv Dormition Brotherhood was one of the oldest and most successful brotherhoods. In 1586 it received the right of direct subordination to a patriarch instead of a local bishop and founded the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood School and Lviv Dormition Brotherhood Press.

The Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood began to play an important cultural-educational and religious role in 1615. It founded the Kyiv Epiphany Brotherhood School that in 1632 became a college and then in 1701 the Kyivan Mohyla Academy.

Under the Hetman state, the Orthodox church increased in influence. The reforms of Petro Mohyla and the general improvement in clerical education enabled the Orthodox to compete with the previously superior educational system of the Jesuits, and the threat of denationalization in Ukraine diminished. Although the number of brotherhoods increased in this period, they confined their activities to the religious and charitable sphere and dropped their broader national and civic pursuits.

In Left-Bank Ukraine new brotherhoods, with a narrower focus, appeared at the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century in Poltava, Novi Sanzhary, Starodub, Sribne (where the brotherhood supported a hospital), Lebedyn, and Kharkiv. After the Ukrainian church became subordinated to the Moscow patriarchate in 1686 and then to the Holy Synod, the Russian imperial government did not approve of the activities of the brotherhoods. Only much later, on 8 May 1864, did the Russian authorities issue a law permitting brotherhoods to be formed throughout the Russian Empire; these newly created brotherhoods, however, differed in their aims and work from the traditional Ukrainian brotherhoods.

In Right-Bank Ukraine in 1679 the Polish Sejm prohibited the brotherhoods from maintaining ties with the Eastern patriarchs. By the beginning of the 18th century the Uniate church had established itself firmly in Western Ukraine. The Lviv Dormition Brotherhood had accepted the union in 1709 and had received from the Pope a guarantee of its right of stauropegion. Under the Austrian regime, however, the Galician brotherhoods were dissolved by the government decree of 1788.

Organizing and support of printing presses was a significant cultural contribution of brotherhoods. Printing technologies came to Ukrainian lands with Ivan Fedorov, who established the Lviv press (1573) and then the Ostroh press (1577). In 1574 he published “The Apostolos” and in 1581 – “The Ostroh Bible”.

The invention of movable type and printing presses in Germany around 1450 had a tremendous and lasting influence on the cultural, social, religious, and scientific development of Europe. As the printing technologies spread throughout the continent and allowed for a quicker and wider dissemination of knowledge, they became a major catalyst for both the Reformation and the later scientific revolution. Printed books represented the key factor in the spread of education and literacy. In Ukraine, the first printing press was founded by Ivan Fedorovych (Fedorov) in Lviv in 1573. Its equipment and assets were used to found the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood Press (1591-1788), which played a key role in the history of early Ukrainian printing. Printing in Volhynia began after Fedorovych entered the service of Prince Kostiantyn Vasyl Ostrozky and founded what became the important Ostrih Press (1577-1612). Founded in the early 17th century the Kyivan Cave Monastery Press became the most important center of printing and engraving in Ukraine until the mid 19th century; it played a crucial role in raising the level of education and culture and in aiding the Orthodox Ukrainians to defend themselves against the inroads of Polonization and Catholicism.

The first printing press on Ukrainian ethnic territory was founded by Ivan Fedorovych (Fedorov) in Lviv (1573–4). Its equipment and assets were used to found the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood Press (1591–1788), which played a key role in the history of early Ukrainian printing. Thereafter Lviv remained a major printing center. In Right-Bank Ukraine the Polish Protestant Panivtsi Press (1608–11) functioned briefly in Podilia. In Kyiv, printing began with the founding of the Kyivan Cave Monastery Press (1615–1918). It remained the largest printing press in Ukraine until the mid-19th century.

The resulting cultural-religious movement found its literary expression in polemic literature – published and literary writings on religious and church issues. Some of them were anonymous, like “Warning” (1605/6) and “Protestation” (1621). Metropolitan Ipatiy Potiy defended Uniats and the plea for Orthodoxy by M. Smotritskiy. The most prominent polemicist was I. Vyshenskiy, the Orthodox monk, who lived at Mount Athos and sent his epistles and treatises to Ukraine against Uniats.

Vyshensky, Ivan b ca 1550 in Sudova Vyshnia, Galicia, d after 1620 in Mount Athos, Greece. Orthodox monk and polemicist. Biographical information on him is sparse. He passed some of his youth in Lutsk and was connected with the Ostrih Academy scholars. Ca 1576–80 he entered a monastery at Mount Athos. There are 15 known works by Vyshensky: seven epistles, six treatises, a dialogue, and a story. His most important works were directed against the Church Union of Berestia and were written in the late 1590s. In 1600–1 he prepared a collection of the 10 works he had written by then and sent it to the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood, probably in the hope of having it printed. Titled ‘Knyzhka’ (Book), it did not appear in print at that time, but its transcriptions circulated widely in Ukraine. In 1604–6 he visited Ukraine and quarreled with the leaders of the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood.

Vyshensky's writings stand out among Ukrainian polemical works of the 16th and 17th centuries by virtue of both their literary merit and their ideological content. He did not simply reject the Uniate church and Catholicism. Grounded in Byzantine asceticism, he sharply criticized temporal life and the entire church hierarchy and secular hierarchy and urged a return to the simplicity of old Christian brotherhood in order to bring about God's Kingdom on earth. He rejected as pagan both secular education and learning on the one hand and old, pre-Christian folk traditions on the other. Stylistically, Vyshensky drew upon the traditional forms of the epistle dialogue and polemical treatise and often mixed these genres. In strong, colorful language he depicted the moral decadence of the upper classes, particularly of the clergy, and contrasted them with poor peasants and simple monks. Exalted feelings alternate with harsh satire and sarcasm. An abundance of epithets and similes, the dramatic use of rhetorical questions and exhortations, ironic portrayals of everyday detail, a rich vocabulary, and the use of the vernacular make his writings lively and persuasive.

Related to polemical writing and equally developed was the art of sermonizing. Some of the most noted practitioners were Meletii Smotrytsky, Petro Mohyla, Lazar Baranovych, Kyrylo Stavrovetsky-Tranquillon, Antin Radyvylovsky, Saint Dymytrii Tuptalo, and Stefan Yavorsky. Copious use of allegory and allusion and the inclusion of various tales, translations, anecdotes, and apocryphal writings were the norm, and special emphasis was placed on the form and style of the sermon.

The popularity of the sermonizer's use of the unusual and the fantastic as illustration, and of tales accepted as ‘knowledge,’ was reflected in the publication of collections dealing with miracles and the lives of saints. Notable in that respect were the republications of the Kyivan Cave Patericon; the collections of short stories dealing with the miracles of the Mother of God; and Tuptalo's famous menaion of daily readings.


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 1134


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