"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, January 31, 2011


Borders are fascinating things. How are they determined and by whom? When do they change and why? A new book comes along to ask some of those questions in the context of the border between Polish Roman Catholicism to the West, and Russian Orthodoxy to the East--with Ukrainian Greco-Catholics stuck in the middle.

Andrzej Gil and Witold Bobryk, eds., On the Border of the Worlds: Essays about the Orthodox and Uniate Churches in Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages and the Modern Period (Siedlce-Lublin: Akademia Podlaska Instytut Europy Srodkowo-Wschodniej, 2010, 186pp.

This is a small book that has not yet received any attention in the West as far as I can tell. (Amazon and other sites carry no listings for it.) The publisher provides the following blurb:

Eastern Europe, compared to the whole continent, is a specific space, marked with a range of opposing features and phenomena. It was--and still is--a place of grand and small meetings but also of stormy conflicts. There are numerous borders there, separating religions, cultures and civilizations, but it is still filled with similar processes and common content.

Further events in Eastern Europe led to significant changes. As a result of a long-lasting process (1385-1569), two states were joined--Poland and Lithuania--covering a large part of the Ruthenian lands with Kyiv. Orthodoxy became an important religious factor in the Polish-Lithuanian state. In 1596 some hierarchs of the Metropolitanate of Kyiv accepted the Union with Rome, thus creating a new religious community--the Uniate Church. On the other hand, the rulers of the Grand Duchy of Moscow led to the establishment of the Metropolitan Diocese of Moscow in 1448, raised to the rank of Patriarchate (1589).

In this publication a few issues have been discussed considering the history of the Metropolitanate of Kyiv in the late Middle Ages and the Modern Period.
Those issues are discussed in seven chapters:
  • Andrzej Gil and Witold Bobryk, "On the Border or a Few Words About the Eastern European Religious Space on the Example of the Metropolitanate of Kyiv and its Heritage"
  • Ihor Skochylias, "From Sacred Space to Administrative Model of Church Governing: the Organization of the Territory of Halych (Lviv) Eparchy in the Medieval and Early Modern Period"
  • Mikhail Dmitriev, "Humanism and Traditional Orthodox Culture of Eastern Europe: the Problem of Compatibility (15-17th centuries)"
  • Tomasz Kempa, "Stauropegic Brotherhood of Vilno and Brotherhood Monastery as the Most Important Centre in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at the End of the 16th and in the 17th Centuries"
  • Leonid Tymoshenko, "Prince Konstanty Wasyl Ostrogski and the 'Single-Faith' Muscovy"
  • Andrzej Gil, "The First Images and the Beginning of the Cult of the Archbishop of Polock Josaphat Kuncewicz in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth till the mid-17th Century"
  • Witold Bobryk, "Rite Changes in the Uniate Diocese of Chelm in the 18th Century"
Look for this to be reviewed in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies later this year.

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