The Background of the Union of Brest
Analecta OSBM, Section II, Volume XV (XXI) 1-4, 1996,
Potij and Terlec'kyj in Rome
Potij and Terlec'kyj set out for Rome from Cracow on 26 September 1595; king Sigismund III provided them with funds for their outfitting, and nuncio Malaspina gave them money for traveling expenses.61 In Italy bishops of towns along their route and governors in the Papal States already in August had been requested in the name of Pope Clement VIII to receive the Ruthenian legates with every mark of hospitality. The two bishops arrived in Rome on 15 November and were lodged at papal expense near St. Peter's. On the day itself of their arrival they were received by the pope in a brief audience.62
The Articles of Union drawn up by the Ruthenian hierarchy had been forwarded by the nuncio to Rome yet in August, where they were submitted to the Holy Office for examination. The Holy Office asked for the opinion of several theologians, among them the Dominican Juan Saragoza de Heredia. Additional congregations to discuss the articles were held after the bishops' arrival in Rome.63
The Roman theologians, Saragoza in particular, misunderstood the purpose of the Articles, and many later writers, both those favorable and those unfavorable to the union, fail to grasp the essential in a document which the hierarchy intended as a basis for the union.
The Articles do not appear in any observable order; doctrinal and liturgical issues jostle with questions of the civil standing of Ruthenian bishops and clergy, and of intrusions of Greeks in Ruthenian church life. The participants of the Brest meeting appear to have listed them as they came to mind. Some articles deal with fundamental principles, others descend to specifics, illustrating those principles. What is common to all the articles is a sense of pastoral realism; all the articles touch on matters of immediate concern. The bishops do not indulge in inventing improbable schemes; they are concerned with the practical effects of the union.
Fundamentally, the articles raise two points: preservation of the eastern tradition of their Church and an improvement of the position of their Church in the Polish-Lithuanian state. The bishops required assurance that the union with Rome indeed would save their church from oppression and internal disintegration. They required guarantees concerning their eastern practices from Rome; while the status of their Church in the Polish-Lithuanian state depended on the king and the diet.64
Only two of the articles are concerned with dogma. In article 1 the bishops affirm their belief in the procession of the Holy Spirit, which is based on the agreement between Latins and Greeks reached in Florence: "the Holy Spirit proceeds not from two beginnings nor in two processions, but from one beginning as source, from the Father through the Son". In article 5 the bishops state they do not wish to argue about purgatory, but will accept what the Church teaches. This was not a major issue between the Latin and Greek Churches, since both admit the efficacy of prayers for the dead.
The other articles for which the bishops wanted Roman guarantees concerned matters of church organization and worship. Upon his election the metropolitan was to seek confirmation from Rome; Roman confirmation was not to be required for a bishop's election (article II). In this article the hierarchy transferred to the Roman Pontiff the right to confirm the election of the metropolitan of Kiev, which previously had belonged to the patriarchs of Constantinople and had never been abrogated, though in practice the patriarch's approval had been sought less and less frequently since the early fifteenth century.
Article 2 asks in a general sense for the conservation of all traditional liturgical practices. Particular practices are mentioned in further articles either because the Ruthenian hierarchy was aware that they were just then contested in disputes with Protestants or because they were an occasion of Ruthenian-Polish conflicts in their lands. Communion sub utraque in the Eastern Church (article 3) had never been questioned by the Latins, but since Rome steadily refused the demand by western reformers for the chalice of the laity, the bishops probably wanted an explicit assurance that it would not be questioned in the Ruthenian Church. Married clergy was another issue raised by the Protestant reformers, and again the bishops wanted to be sure the practice of their Church would be respected (article 9).
A number of articles seek guarantees for specific ritual practices: baptism (article 4 — the formula is different in the East than in the West); participation in Corpus Christi processions not to be required (article 7); Easter vigil ceremonies, different from those in the Roman Church (article 8); bell ringing (article 2); public carrying of communion to the sick (23); processions (24). Bell ringing as required by eastern services, the solemn carrying through city streets of communion to the sick, and processions had all aroused objections by the Roman Catholics, even physical attacks, especially in Lviv. The hierarchy wanted equal respect shown to all liturgical practices in their Church as in the Roman.
Connected with respect for their religious rites was the broader problem of relations between the two Churches in the Commonwealth. The bishops viewed their union with Rome as removing whatever obstacles may have existed to parity between the two Rites. They therefore raise the question of inter-ritual marriage (article 16) and the sore point of their faithful passing to the Latin Church (article 15). In mixed marriages the Ruthenian party was not to be required to assume the Latin rite. Further, voluntary passages to the Latin Church should no longer be permitted, since the two Rites now form one Church, within which passage to another Rite shows a contempt of one's own faith and ceremonies.
The articles that required the approval of state authorities were also concerned with parity between the two Churches. The most important request of the hierarchy — the one that alone would have demonstrated that indeed the two Rites were considered of equal worth — was for seats in the Senate for the metropolitan and bishops (article 12). The other articles presented to the king sought the support of civil authorities for the necessary measures to effect an internal reform. The hierarchy requested the king not to nominate to church offices unworthy candidates, but to allow canonical elections, subject to royal confirmation (article 9). Ruthenian Church properties should be returned by those who held them unlawfully and should not be usurped in the future (10); at the death of a bishop the property of his diocese should be administered by krylosy (chapters), not seized by royal officials or the hierarch's relatives (11). The hierarchy sought exemptions for clergy and monks on a par with Latins (21) and asked for measures against the seizure of churches and monasteries for Latin use (22). The bishops, mentioning brotherhoods (26), schools (27), and the clergy (28), sought to assure their free development and to obtain civil support in exercising full authority over them, as against any stauropegial rights.
The desiderata of the bishops reflect the ills besetting their Church and show a real and practical concern for the needs of the times. None of the points raised are extravagant or petty. The bishops, moreover, were concerned with the consequences of their action and showed remarkable farsightedness. They realized that opponents of the union, especially prince Ostroz'kyj, with his connections with the Eastern patriarchs, would press for the excommunication of the bishops who acceded to the union, a measure that would impress the mass of the people to the hierarchy's detriment. They therefore asked the king to hinder the entry into the Commonwealth of anyone bearing such letters of excommunication (article 14, 32).65 Article 14 asked also to prohibit Greek bishops, monks, and clergy to celebrate or to exercise any other functions in Ruthenian lands.
Although the bishops were primarily concerned about the hostility to the Union disseminated by these wandering Greeks, they also had in mind the often dubious credentials and the self-appointed interference of these Greeks, whose chief aim was to collect alms. Patriarch Jeremias himself, when he was in Ruthenian territory, had issued letters to all Orthodox peoples under his jurisdiction not to permit such wandering clergy to exercise any functions in their territories.66
King Sigismund III responded to the requests of the bishops in a privilege issued on 2 August 1595. Except for the senatorial seats, which were passed over in silence, since they were not in the king's power to grant, all that the hierarchy asked was granted.67
The articles that petitioned for an equitable status for the Ruthenian church in the Polish-Lithuanian state brought up problems which were the outcome of a long process of ethnic and religious discrimination and which could hardly be corrected by royal fiat, especially in the Republic where the king's authority was jealously confined by the nobility. Accepting the demands of the Ruthenian hierarchy required of the Latin nobility and hierarchy a revolutionary change of attitude. With Polish culture gaining dominance in the entire Polish-Lithuanian state after the union of Lublin (1569), and with the Catholic restoration proving triumphant, Latin ecclesiastics and nobles were not prepared to see in the culturally backward Ruthenian church an equal of their own and to treat it accordingly. Therefore the articles falling within the competence of state authorities remained largely unfulfilled.
Two final articles deserve particular mention. Article 13 reads as if the bishops foresaw the accusations that would be brought against them for centuries to come and wished to reply in advance:
If God in time grants that also the rest of the people in the Greek Church join this holy union, it should not be held against us that we preceded them into this union, because we were obliged to do this for certain and just reasons, for peace in the Christian republic, and to avoid further disorder and discord.
And their final word is not for a state of things as described in the Articles, but looks forward to a universal agreement:
If, God willing, the time comes that also the rest of our brothers of the Eastern church of the Greek rite come to holy union with the Western Church. and then by a common unity and consensus of the universal Church some improvements are brought about in the Rites and discipline of the Greek Church, we should be participants in that, since we belong to the same religion, (Article 31 ).
When the Articles had been submitted by the bishops to the nuncio after the June synod, he found them entirely reasonable and acceptable.68 Concerning those that depended on the pope for confirmation, the doctrinal articles were in agreement with what the council of Florence had established, therefore their approval by the pope was assured. As for the others, though the nuncio could not know the pope's mind, he believed Clement VIII would approve all, as there was nothing objectionable in them. With regard to the articles which were petitioned from the king, the nuncio promised to do all in his power to have them granted.
In Rome the Articles were examined by a commission of cardinals, which held a series of sessions, at which experts in theology and canon law gave also their opinions. The experts were a great deal more punctilious than the nuncio in their examination of the articles and lacked understanding of the traditions and concrete circumstances of the Ruthenian Church. One of the experts gave a long disquisition on why the bishops should be obliged to accept the Latin formula for the procession of the Holy Spirit ("from the Father and the Son").69 Another example is the calendar issue: acceptance of the new Gregorian calendar was urged as proof of sincerity. Potij personally found nothing objectionable in the new calendar, but both he and Terlec'kyj realized that an attempt to introduce it would only serve their opponents in a demagogic appeal to the people against the hierarchy, lessening the chances that the union would be peacefully accepted.70 In 1582 patriarch Jeremias had written to prince Ostroz'kyj denouncing the Roman calendar reform, and Meletius Pigas was likewise hostile to it.71 The Ruthenian population had refused to follow the new calendar when it was adopted by the Polish-Lithuanian state. To break down the opposition the Latin archbishop of Lviv had unwisely intervened with force to close the Ruthenian churches in his town during the course of Easter celebrations in 1584. As could be expected, violent means served only to increase resistance to the Gregorian calendar.72
A fundamental objection to the Articles was raised by one of the theologians consulted, the Spanish Dominican Juan Saragoza de Heredia.73 The Ruthenian hierarchy, in submitting these Articles to Rome, appeared to be making their union conditional on their acceptance. Saragoza contended that since to be within the Catholic Church was necessary to salvation, no condition could be laid down by those petitioning to be received into it. Saragoza's view prevailed, hence eventually in his Constitution on the Union of the Ruthenians with the Church of Rome Clement VIII did not approve the Articles expressly. The Pope made use of a general formula: "we permit, concede, and approve" all sacred rites and ceremonies "which are not contrary to truth and to the teaching of the Catholic Faith and do not exclude communion with the Church of Rome".74
Solemn Audience of Union
The solemn consistory at which the Ruthenian Church was received into union with the See of Rome was delayed because of the Pope's poor health and was held only on 23 December 1595. Present in the Constantine Hall in the Vatican were all the cardinals, bishops, and Poles who were then in Rome.75 The letters of the Ruthenian hierarchy were read, first in the Ruthenian original, then in Latin. A short discourse was pronounced in the name of the pope by a prelate present, then a solemn profession of faith was read by the two bishops, by Potij in Latin and by Terlec'kyj, who knew no Latin, in Ruthenian; this was done in the name of the entire Ruthenian hierarchy and sworn to on the Gospels.
The profession of faith included the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed with the addition of the filioque.76 The reading of the profession was intended to demonstrate that the bishops indeed accepted the teachings of the Roman Church as orthodox, hence that the Roman formulation of doctrine was likewise orthodox and compatible with Greek formulations. The text of the profession of faith is therefore in accordance with Latin teachings. The text was binding as to its sense, not to its every formulation, therefore the bishops, and the Ruthenian Church as a whole, were not required to introduce the filioque into their habitual texts. The first of the hierarchy's articles, therefore, is not contradicted. Immediately after the creed, in fact, the profession of faith explicitly accepts the agreement of the Florentine council, that the Holy Spirit proceeds form one source, from the Father through the Son, as the Greeks declare, which the Latins profess likewise, though using a different formula, licitly added to the creed.
In the profession of faith, the usual text for Greeks coming to union with Rome after the council of Trent, the bishops were required to state explicitly their agreement with the Roman teaching on the primacy, on purgatory, and with the Roman use of azymes in the mass — all topics of Greek-Latin polemics. They likewise stated their acceptance of Catholic teachings contested by the Protestants, such as tradition as a basis of faith, the seven sacraments, the veneration of sacred images. They were not required to abjure any beliefs hitherto held, which means that both Rome and the Ruthenian hierarchy regarded the schism between the Greek and Latin Churches as proceeding from causes other than dogmatic.
Illogically, after the profession of faith the bishops were absolved from all "excommunications, suspensions, and interdicts, as well as from other ecclesiastical sanctions and penances, which they may have incurred because of schism, heresies, or errors of any kind". This absolution and the kissing of the Pope's feet at the beginning and at the end of the ceremony make a painful impression on modern sensibilities. These aspects of the ceremony, however, were in the spirit of the age; they did not arouse comment, and both sides found the entire ceremony profoundly moving.
The same day, 23 December 1595, pope Clement VIII issued the constitution Magnus Dominus on the union of the Ruthenians,77 The papal document, as the text states, was intended as a record of the union and briefly relates the steps taken by the Ruthenian hierarchy and the ceremony in the Hall of Constantine. It confirms all Greek liturgical usages. At the end the pope expresses the hope that this particular union might serve as an example for all Greeks to return to communion with Rome.
The Union in Its Setting
The formula of Magnus Dominus: "We permit, concede, and approve", characterizes the entire tenor of the papal constitution — a benign authority accepting the submission of a humble petitioner. The modern reader of the document who wonders that the two bishops did not find in it matter for taking offense overlooks that they indeed saw themselves as humble petitioners. Potij and Terlec'kyj appear to have accepted without demur expressions and acts that seem shocking to our more ecumenical sensibilities today. Instead, they were overwhelmed by a totally different aspect.
The two legates of the Ruthenian hierarchy, along their route and in Rome, were received and treated as bishops on a par with the Latin — a new experience for eastern hierarchies from Poland-Lithuania, where even the title of "bishop" was often contested them. They had a chance to inspect the Greek College, founded in 1577, and to celebrate in its church, where, as Potij put it, "they celebrate everything just as we do, only with greater decorum."78 Thus, right in Rome itself they found tangible proof that their traditions and rites were esteemed and would be preserved. The seats of honor they were assigned at papal ceremonies was evidence of the consideration for their episcopal dignity.79
The two bishops saw pope Clement VIII (who incidentally had spent some time in Poland in 1588-9 as a papal legate) committed to use his authority to obtain for the Ruthenian bishops and their Church a more equitable treatment in the Polish-Lithuanian state. During their stay in Rome Potij
obtained the services of the learned Greek Peter Arcudio, who then accompanied the bishops on their return trip. Arcudio was to teach in the seminary Potij was projecting for the Kievan metropolitanate. This would be a step towards raising the cultural level of their Church while maintaining integrally its eastern character. All these marks of consideration and the first help from the West impressed the two Ruthenian bishops.
In the mind both of the Ruthenian hierarchy and of the Holy See the union of the Kievan Church with Rome was not a union of two sister Churches of equal rank. The Kievan Church was part of the "Greek" Church. Questions of principle — that is, dogmatic issues — could be debated only by the entire Church, at an ecumenical council. For the Holy See, the dogmatic issues that divided Rome and Constantinople had not only been debated, but definitely settled at the council of Florence in 1439. The union of a particular Church, a branch of the larger Constantinopolitan patriarchate, with the See of Rome meant acknowledging the primacy of the bishop of Rome and accepting the doctrinal decrees of the council of Florence. The union of the Kievan Church with Rome was thus not the outcome of negotiations between two equals, but the acceptance by a local Church of what a higher authority had decided - an ecumenical council, at which its own head, metropolitan Isidore, and its superior, patriarch Jeremias I of Constantinople, had participated. Union was also submission to the bishop of Rome as the holder of primacy in the Church, and in the specific case at hand, it was also the transferal to Rome of the dependence that hitherto had bound the Kievan Church to Constantinople.
In the history of the Church the notion of Roman primacy evolved over time, due to concrete historical situations and to a continuing reflection on the significance of the primacy. So, too, the dependence of local Churches on the patriarchal sees did not remain at the end of the sixteenth century the same as it had been at the founding of the Kievan Church at the end of the tenth century. The union decided upon and later ratified at Brest came at a specific historical moment, and not only the act of union, but the entire further history of the Ukrainian Catholic Church were affected by the particular circumstances of that act. The papacy in the post-Tridentine period had a different view of its role in Christendom and its relations to the Eastern Church than the papacy of the high Middle Ages or the papacy of the year 1000.
The Kievan metropolitan province, at its origins and for some centuries afterwards was entirely subject to the patriarch of Constantinople. Its autonomy came gradually, not through a challenge to patriarchal authority, but as the outcome of a complex of political developments in Rus' (rivalry between Lithuania and Muscovy) and in Byzantium (conquest by the Turks). The evolution of relations between a metropolitan see and a higher ecclesiastical authority was bound to continue, and it is anti-historical to consider that the internal organization of the Ruthenian Church and its relations to Rome as they were in 1595 could be fixed to endure for all time. The bishops-signatories of the Articles had no such mistaken notion; they could envisage a different arrangement in the future, as witness Article 31.
Evidence for the acceptance or rejection of the Articles comes not so much in any formal statement, but in the practice of the Holy See with regard to the Kievan metropolitanate immediately after the conclusion of the union. All the Articles were indeed accepted. Later departures from the Articles, however these departures are judged, are due not to a deliberate violation of them, but proceed from an evolving situation within the Ruthenian Church and in its relation to Rome. Such evolution is the inevitable fate of all earthly institutions.
Magnus Dominus is completed by the bull Decet Romanum Pontificem, issued by Pope Clement VIII on 23 February 1596, when Potij and Terlec'kyj were preparing for their return journey.80 The bull of 23 February repeats and confirms what the earlier document had stated with regard to ceremonies of the Ruthenian Church, then proceeds to establish the mode of its hierarchical ties with Rome. Without citing the hierarchy's Articles, the bull in effect confirms them. Bishops are to be elected or nominated according to the custom of the Kievan Church; the metropolitan confirms this election and ordains the candidate to the episcopacy. The metropolitan is to be elected or nominated in similar manner, but he must seek confirmation from Rome before exercising his office.
The bull Decet Romanum Pontificem is a canonical document with force of law. Ruthenian hierarchs, nuncios, and Roman authorities constantly referred to it when questions concerning the filling of episcopal vacancies came up. It remained in force not only for the duration of the Catholic Kievan metropolitan province (to 1838), but in 1807 was extended also to the newly reconstituted metropolitanate of Halyc.81 Extensive rights are accorded to the metropolitan of Kiev. The papal bull recognizes his position as it had developed over the centuries, from nomination by and dependence on the patriarchs of Constantinople in the earliest times to election by his hierarchy and virtual autonomy in his province.
The bull had a decisive influence on improving the situation of the Ruthenian Church in the Polish-Lithuanian state. Canonical elections had long given way to royal nomination. The wording of the bull is deliberately inexplicit: both with regard to the metropolitan and with regard to the bishops the bull states that "he who will be elected or nominated [...] according to their customs or the manner permitted them". This phrase, however, was always interpreted as referring to a canonical election by the hierarchy. Though what was called the royal nomination continued, it soon effectively changed from the appointing of a candidate by the king to a confirmation of a candidate presented by the hierarchy as a whole or by the metropolitan.
After the Conclusion of the Union
The two bishops Potij and Terlec'kyj spent a further two months in Rome. They were present at the papal celebrations in St. Peter's for Christmas, New Year's, and Epiphany, arousing the curiosity of Roman prelates and masters of ceremonies by their eastern episcopal robes. Before they left, both bishops were granted by the pope the personal distinction of wearing the sakkos, heretofore reserved in the Kievan Church, as generally in the Greek, to metropolitans alone. The patriarchs of Constantinople had begun to confer the sakkos on other hierarchs they wished to distinguish, and pope Clement VIII similarly wished to honor the two legates of the Ruthenian hierarchy.
More substantial financial aid to the Ruthenian Church was also given. After a brief letter of 30 December 1595 informing Sigismund III of the union concluded in Rome, pope Clement VIII wrote again to the king on 7 February 1596.82 The pope gave his support to the hierarchy's requests in those Articles that were within the competence of civil authorities and "paternally exhorted" the king to carry them out. He asked the king to assist the hierarchy in an efficacious manner in retaining and recuperating church properties as the revenues from them were needed for the maintenance and schooling of the clergy. Above all, Clement VIII pressingly urged that the metropolitan and bishops be admitted to the Senate:
[Through this] their Church will shine with greater splendor, their labors will be more effective, they will have protection, and this holy union of the Catholic church will strike deeper roots when they see that they are also admitted to these external honors; they in turn will be of profit and ornament to your senate. Certainly, if we have received them into the grace and communion of this Holy See and recognize them now as brothers, it is only just that they be treated like other Catholic bishops and possess and enjoy the same honors.
Similar letters were sent to the principal lords of the realm, exhorting them to support the admission of the Ruthenian bishops to the Senate. The Ruthenian hierarchy, however, in spite of these and later requests, remained excluded from the senatorial posts.
Pope Clement VIII likewise donated 1000 scudi to the Ruthenian Church towards the foundation of a seminary, a project dear to Potij's heart. After a five-month stay in Rome, Potij and Terlec'kyj finally left for the return journey.
A Division in the Hierarchical Ranks
In the Ruthenian lands, meanwhile, opposition to the union was fanned by prince Ostroz'kyj. His wealth and authority made him in the eyes of many indeed the leader of Orthodoxy in Ruthenian lands, as he himself had once put it.83 While the rumors that he had hired killers to do away with the bishops were unconfirmed by events,84 Ostroz'kyj had found other means to thwart the union. He had written to the patriarch asking him to excommunicate those of the hierarchy who would join the union and he succeeded in drawing away one of its early adherents, bishop Gedeon Balaban of Lviv.
Balaban backed away from the union when he realized that adherence to it would only add to his troubles, winning for him the dangerous animosity of prince Ostroz'kyj. The bishop was already hard-pressed on all sides. In addition to his perpetual quarrels with the brotherhood and clergy of his see, he had also drawn on himself the wrath of metropolitan Rahoza, who tended to blame the bishop for the disturbances in Lviv. The bishop was summoned to appear before a synod that was to be held in Brest in June 1594. Though a formal synod was not held, Balaban was deposed on 1 July.85 He was later reinstated, but it is clear that the rest of the hierarchy did not have much confidence in him.
Nevertheless, a few months before the hierarchy as a body decided about the union, Balaban unexpectedly declared publicly his adhesion to it, at an eparchial synod in Lviv on 28 January 1595. The declaration, which asked that the rest of the hierarchy "without delay conclude the salvific matter of holy unity with the see of Rome", was signed by a representative number of secular and monastic clergy from all ends of the Kievan metropolitanate and even by some Greek clerics in passing.86 Balaban later duly signed the documents of the June 1595 synod, but he was already vacillating, as his signed statements of that summer, each one contradicted by the next, abundantly illustrate.
Prince Ostroz'kyj more than once in the past had mediated between the bishop and the brotherhood of Lviv, but had obtained no lasting reconciliation.87 He now used his influence to pressure Balaban into repudiating the union. Balaban was a guest of the prince in Ostrih just before the 1595 synod, at the same time that one of the brotherhood priests came to see the prince. Ostroz'kyj seized the opportunity to reconcile the two. At the priest Mixail's insistence Balaban first swore under a triple oath that he had never been a party to the "apostasy" and also stated in writing that he would support Ostroz'kyj and the brotherhood in opposing the union. The priest, under Ostroz'kyj's persuasion, then made peace with the bishop; the particulars would be worked out in a discussion with brotherhood members.88 From this meeting Balaban went on to the synod and concurred in its decision. But at the beginning of July he filed in the Volodymyr court a protest against the synodal action, in line with his promise to Ostroz'kyj and Mixail to repudiate by an official act the documents he had signed previously.
In late August Balaban again changed colors. Together with Kopystens'kyj he joined Terlec'kyj and the bishop of Xolm Zbirujs'kyj in signing another formal declaration of their support for the union.89 Yet in September 1595, before Potij and Terlec'kyj set out for Rome, the nuncio was writing that the bishop of Lviv had "apostatized".90 Nevertheless, when Potij and Terlec'kyj departed for Rome, they believed Balaban was loyal to the union cause, as their cordial letter to him from Rome shows.91 By the time they returned, however, he was openly and this time definitely in the anti-union camp.
If Rahoza showed irresoluteness, Balaban was inconstant. Yet, had not the all-important union overshadowed all other concerns of the times, Gedeon Balaban would emerge as one of the more outstanding bishops of his age. He early realized the importance of education and of printing for his Church and did not stint his family fortune in favoring it. He first encouraged the Lviv brotherhood in founding a press, and then, when he fell out with its members, he founded his own press at the Balaban family properties in Strjatyn'. To carry on the work of translating and printing he collected a group of learned monks and actively supported them until his death in 1607.92
Other Opponents of the Union
Opposition to the union was marked at the Diet in early 1596 — a presage of the controversies that would trouble many future Diets. Opponents of the union declared they would not recognize those bishops who without the consent of either the eastern patriarchs or of their own people submitted themselves to the pope's jurisdiction.93
Among Ruthenians, besides agitation directly involving the union, other disturbances arose, which determined the position various persons or groups took towards the union.
Potij's predecessor in the Volodymyr-Brest see, Meletij Xrebtovyc, had also been archimandrite of the Kiev Lavra. After his death in 1593 Nykyfor Tur was elected archimandrite of this most important monastery in Ukraine. According to custom, a newly elected archimandrite was to receive from the metropolitan of Kiev his spiritual investiture, a special rite of blessing. This Tur refused, even when admonished by the metropolitan through a special emissary, citing the stauropegial status of the Lavra as an excuse.94 At the beginning, the quarrel between Tur and Rahoza was not connected with their attitudes towards the projected union. Tur, in fact, was among those who in January 1595 had signed Balaban's declaration of union with Rome. Later, however, the continuing quarrel made Tur change sides and oppose the union supported by Rahoza.
Another disturbance involved the Ruthenian population of Vilna. Its very active brotherhood promoted a layman, Stephen Zyzanij, as its teacher. Zyzanij's teaching was not entirely orthodox; he had absorbed both Protestant doctrines (Christ is not a mediator between men and God) and the Protestant animosity towards Rome (the pope is Antichrist). Together with two Vilna hieromonks Zyzanij was condemned by a synod held in Navahrudek in late January 1595.95 The participants, except for bishop Balaban of Lviv, were all from the Lithuanian (that is, Belorussian) part of the metropolitanate. Three members of the hierarchy were present, Rahoza, Balaban, and Herman of Poloc'k, as well as archimandrites and protopopy (deans). The synodal decree, however, did not settle matters; Stephen Zyzanij continued to preach in Vilna. A royal decree of 28 May 1596 banishing him from the realm was also ineffective, since Zyzanij and his protestantizing supporters enjoyed the protection of the Calvinist palatine of Vilna, Christopher Radziwill.96 While this conflict too did not directly involve the union, it played a part in predisposing Zyzanij's sympathizers against the metropolitan and any cause he might promote.
Synod and Anti-Synod
Metropolitan Michael Rahoza convoked a synod in Brest for 8 October 1596; later the date was changed to 6 October. The synod lasted five days, 6-10/16-20 October 1596. The division among the Ruthenians concerning the union was already profound enough to cause two assemblies to meet in Brest at the appointed time. Each called the other illegitimate and considered itself the only valid synod.
The Catholic and Orthodox Churches alike hold that the validity of a synod depends on its hierarchical authorization. The assembly presided over by metropolitan Rahoza would have been recognized by all as the only real synod were it not that at the rival assembly a Greek monk Nicephorus claimed extraordinary powers granted him by the patriarch.
Little is known of Nicephorus' background. He began to attract notice only in 1595 in Moldavia, where his suspect political activities led to his imprisonment by the voevoda Jeremias Movila (the father of the later Ukrainian metropolitan Peter Mohyla). Nicephorus managed to escape and soon surfaced at the court of prince Constantine Ostroz'kyj. He produced a document of November 1592, by which patriarch Jeremias II of Constantinople, in the presence of patriarch Meletius Pigas of Alexandria, named Nicephorus his protosyncellus (that is, his vicar or delegate) and endowed him with extensive and extraordinary authority in ecclesiastical matters. This document was issued in general terms and made no specific reference to the Ruthenian Church. Later Nicephorus was to claim that Jeremias II had written to him in September 1595, charging him to go to Ruthenian lands, but could not produce the letter. In any case, Jeremias II died in late 1595, hence any special powers granted Nicephorus ceased (unless they were renewed by Jeremias' successors, something Nicephorus himself never claimed).
Nicephorus had been welcomed by Ostroz'kyj and came to Brest for the synod in the guise of the ranking church authority. Even his supporters would have liked some more reliable proof than the document of 1592 of his authority to intervene; after all, Nicephorus was not even a priest, yet he claimed the power to correct and depose bishops. After some debate, however, the Orthodox assembly accepted his credentials.97
Nicephorus presided over the assembly that opposed the union. The question— which was the real synod of Brest in 1596 depends therefore on who is recognized as the higher church authority, metropolitan Rahoza or the Greek monk Nicephorus. The authorization given to Nicephorus by Jeremias is in itself of doubtful validity and after Jeremias' death had no further force. Any claim to Jeremias' authorization, furthermore, can be countered by the similar authorization granted by the patriarch to his exarch Cyril Terlec'kyj, who took part in the metropolitan's assembly. Hence the synod convoked by the metropolitan of Kiev, over which he presided, and in which the majority of the hierarchy participated, alone can be regarded as valid, whether one agrees with its decision or not.
The anti-synod, for which even the powerful support of prince Ostroz'kyj could not obtain a church in Brest, met at the home of the Anti-trinitarian whose guest Ostroz'kyj was. Its most distinguished participants were bishops Gedeon Balaban of Lviv and Michael Kopystens'kyj of Peremyshl' and archimandrite Nykyfor Tur of the Kiev Lavra. To judge from the signatures of its decree, ten other monastic superiors and twenty-five members of the diocese an clergy attended. The lay delegation numbered twenty-two nobles and thirty-five burghers, with delegates of brotherhoods among the latter. Present were also Cyril Lukaris, a former teacher in Ostroz'kyj's school, who attended as emissary of Meletius Pigas, other Greeks (including the metropolitan Lucas of Belgrade who had signed Balaban's declaration of union in January 1595), and Ostroz'kyj's Protestant and Anti-trinitarian companions.
It is more difficult to draw up a list of the participants of the synod, as its decree, following custom, was signed only by the metropolitan, five bishops, and three archimandrites. This does not exclude the presence of lower clergy and lay delegates and their participation in the discussions. Present at the synod as observers were likewise three representatives of the Pope: the Latin bishops of Lviv Solikowski, of Vilna Maciejowski, and of Xolm Stanislav Gomolinski; and three representatives of the king, all officials of Lithuania: Nicholas Christopher Radziwill, grand marshal and palatine of Troki, Leo Sapieha, grand chancellor, and Demetrius Chalecki, grand treasurer.
Attempts to reconcile the two sides proved futile. On 8/18 October the synod proceeded to ratify the union with Rome.98 At last metropolitan Rahoza was decisive and remained with his decision. Nicephorus and the anti-synod excommunicated the hierarchy that had adhered to the union, and in turn the Greek monk was excommunicated by the synod, together with Balaban, Kopystens'kyj, and Tur.99
These mutual excommunications indicated what lay in store: attempts by each side to impose its convictions on all Ruthenians, a battle of words in an abundant polemical literature of the next few decades, the never-ending pro-and contra-Union debates in the Diet, and, most seriously, the lasting division of the Kievan metropolitanate into Catholic and Orthodox.
The bishops who concluded the union, for all their concern with concrete pastoral problems, failed to grasp the implications of the most important developments of their times: the rise of a well-organized laity in the brotherhoods and the role of the printing press in forming opinion. Their shortsightedness in that respect led them to neglect the preparation of the laity and even the clergy in building up a climate favorable to the union.100 The bishops were anxious about the harm prince Ostroz'kyj could do to the union cause. His influence and wealth indeed posed a real threat, as the withdrawal of two bishops from the union side showed, but this threat was spent by his death in 1608. Of more lasting importance was the opposition of the most active brotherhoods and of the Kiev Lavra. In the near future it would be of decisive moment that the Lavra was followed not only by monastics and the masses, but also by the Cossacks. The Cossacks, at first indifferent to ecclesiastical questions, from 1610 began to play a role in the controversy surrounding the union; now literary opposition to the union had the backing of a popular armed force.101
Yet the union not only endured, but even thrived. An evaluation of the accomplishment of the hierarchy in Brest in 1595 and 1596 must take into account not only the resulting division, but also its lasting testimony to Church unity. What was achieved at Brest was not a theoretical solution, but a concrete carrying out of union — that is, how to recognize the primacy of the pope of Rome in a particular Church, in its specific political and cultural circumstances. The solution, contingent on the situation, was particular, not universal in its validity; other times and other places may require something different. But this the bishops at Brest themselves realized and expressed in their thirty-first Article of union.