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Chapter 12

This webpage reproduces a chapter of


History of the Ukraine
by Dmytro Doroshenko

printed by
The Institute Press, Ltd.
Edmonton, Alberta,
1939

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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Chapter 14

 p202  Chapter XIII

 * * * *

(The numbers link directly to the sections.)

(57) Cossacks in the Second and Third Decades of the Seventeenth Century. (58) Struggle in the Seim for the Orthodox Church. (59) Interventions of the Cossacks in the Crimea. (60) Uprisings of 1625 and 1630. (61) Peter Mohyla and His Time. (62) Revolts of Pavluk and Ostrianin. (63) Ukrainian Territory Completely United Under the Polish Crown.

 * * * *

57. Cossacks in the Second and Third Decades of the Seventeenth Century.

Shortly after Sahaidachny's death, the Cossacks elected Holub, his close collaborator, for their Hetman. The Polish government was not much pleased with this choice, considering it to be a victory for the Cossack "rabble", but Holub proved to be as loyal to the Polish crown and as conciliatory as Sahaidachny. The Polish King sent his emissaries to the Cossacks with money and instructions to obtain their consent to a partial demobilization, leaving only about three to four thousand registered Cossacks in active service, and their promise not to attack the Turks. The Cossacks were not to be persuaded. On the contrary, they undertook two successive naval campaigns, as usual devastating the shores of Anatolia, seizing Turkish vessels, showing themselves in the immediate vicinity of Constantinople, and causing great alarm.

58. Struggle in the Seim for the Orthodox Church.

The Ukrainian Orthodox party set their hopes on the Seim of 1623 in Warsaw, expecting to force the Polish government to redress their grievances. The Seim of 1623 takes a very important place in the history of the parliamentary struggles, regarding the rights of the Orthodox. Its sessions became the scene of a heated duel between the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox. Both sides took great pains to prepare themselves for the fight, and mobilize all their resources. The Orthodox clergy had drawn up an address to the King in which they declared  p203 their loyalty to the Polish crown, and excused the secret consecration of the Orthodox bishops by the Patriarch of Constantinople on the plea of extreme necessity. The newly ordained bishops declared themselves ready to renounce their rights if the King were willing to use his power to nominate other candidates to the Ukrainian Orthodox bishoprics. At the same time, another memorandum was printed and circulated addressed to the Polish nobles in which the Orthodox party declared that the compulsory Union of the Churches alienated the Ukrainian people from the Polish State, and that the whole of the Zaporogian Cossack steppes were not sufficiently extensive to shelter all the Ukrainians who were forced to flee from religious persecution and abandon their homes. The most important point was the support which the Cossacks now gave to the Orthodox Church. They sent a delegation with a petition plainly and categorically setting forth their demand for the restoration of the Orthodox Church to its rightful position in the Polish State. The Orthodox Church was represented in the Seim of 1623 by the Metropolitan Job Boretsky and the Archbishop Meleti Smotritsky.

The other side was no less prepared and armed for the conflict. They also had collected instances where the Orthodox had shown violence to the Uniates, especially in Kiev, where, owing to the presence of the Cossacks, the Orthodox were the stronger. The Uniates were also in the majority in the Seim, and the Papal Nuncio had arrived from Rome for the purpose of strengthening their side.

Neither the parliamentary debates nor all the efforts of the Orthodox availed against the Roman Catholic majority in the Seim. Finally, a kind of truce was effected, suspending all trials and judgments in religious cases, and postponing until the next session of the Seim the final settlement of the conflict between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches. As usual, partial demobilization and complete obedience to the Polish authorities were demanded from the Cossacks.

 p204  The Orthodox side well understood that they had lost their campaign in the Seim. The very night when the truce was carried, the Orthodox bishops left Warsaw for Kiev. The leader of the Orthodox party in the Seim, Lawrence Drevinsky, declared that the Orthodox must abandon all hope so long as King Sigismund lived.

The following session of the Seim did not bring any better settlement nor did successive sessions. As a matter of fact, the conflict was rendered even fiercer by the events of 1623 when the Uniate bishop of Polotsk, Josaphat Kuntsevich, was murdered in Vitebsk, a White Russian town, by a crowd of townspeople exasperated by the harsh measures he had used in forcing Church Union on the Orthodox population. Cruel reprisals followed at the hands of the Polish government, who were greatly incensed at the murder. A little later, analogous events occurred in Kiev when the town population assisted by the Cossacks murdered a clergyman and a Church lay‑representative who had showed themselves willing to surrender an Orthodox Church to the Uniates. In this case, however, the murder went unpunished. These events show the pitch of hatred to which both sides in the struggle were driven.

Many of the Orthodox began to feel discouraged. The Bishop of Peremysl, Isaiah Kopinsky, and even the Metropolitan himself, began to side with the adherents of the Tsar of Muscovy, contemplating surrender to him who as an Orthodox monarch would be a proper protector for the Orthodox Ukrainian Church. Support for this scheme was widespread on the left bank of the Dnieper, especially in the monasteries near the town of Lubny. Others among the Orthodox clergy, despairing of ultimate victory, were ready to compromise with the Roman Catholics. Conspicuous among them was Meleti Smotritsky, Archbishop of Polotsk, one of the chief campaigns of the Orthodox Church. He began advocating an immediate understanding with the Uniates, but the adherents of Orthodoxy would have none of it, and Smotritsky was forced to leave Kiev secretly and openly joined the Uniates. His example  p205 was followed by others among the higher Orthodox clergy. But the apostacy of a few individual leaders did not shake the mass of the Orthodox clergy and nobles, and the Orthodox Ukrainians mustered their forces for a renewed struggle, counting on the strong support of the Cossacks.

59. Interventions of the Cossacks in the Crimea.

The failure of the Seim campaign of 1623 cost Hetman Holub his hetman­ship, for the Cossacks elected a new Hetman in the person of Michael Doroshenko, a well-known soldier, who had taken part in the campaign of Khotin. He was also highly regarded by the Polish authorities. Jacob Sobieski wrote of him: "Doroshenko is a military leader of good repute among the Cossacks on account of his courage, as well as being a supporter of the Polish state and the King". Doroshenko succeeded in maintaining discipline among the Cossacks. Those who were destined to be demobilized he transferred to the Zaporogian Sich beyond the Rapids, outside the control of the Polish authorities, and directed their energy against the Tatars and the Turks. At that time the internal affairs of the Crimean Tatars were favorable to a Cossack intervention. There were two pretenders to the power of the Khan and the Crimean Tatars were divided among themselves into two hostile parties. One of these, led by Shagin Giray, an able and active brother of one of the rival candidates, Mahomet Giray, was bent on breaking the allegiance of the Tatars to the Ottoman Porte and concluded an alliance with the Cossacks. A detachment of Cossacks appeared in the Crimea, and part of the Cossack fleet sailed against those Turks who supported the rival pretender, Janibek Giray.

This was one of the most success­ful naval campaigns of the Cossacks. Taking advantage of the fact that the Turkish fleet was engaged near the Crimean shores, the Cossack fleet appeared unexpectedly in the Straits. According to existing reports of the French and Englishaambassadors, the Cossacks burnt some of the rich suburbs  p206 of Constantinople, Buiuk-Dere, Eni‑Kioy and Stenia, seizing rich spoil and departed unmolested. When Sultan Amurad set out in person to pursue them the Cossack fleet mustered in battle order, contrary winds not allowing them to attack first. The Turks, however, did not attack, and the Cossack fleet returned home in safety.

In a fortnight's time (July, 1624) a stronger Cossack fleet appeared before Constantinople, having escaped the vigilance of the Turkish fleet stationed at the mouth of the Dnieper. They burnt down the town of Faros on the Anatolian coast. After plundering for three days, they returned with rich spoil. The Sultan recalled his fleet from the Crimean shores to protect the capital, but the Cossacks were success­ful in attacking Constantinople about the middle of August, for the third time that summer. Though delayed by tempest for fully a month near Ochakov, they nevertheless were able to reach the Bosporus and again attacked and plundered Eni‑Kioy, a suburb of Constantinople.

Shagin Giray, together with his brother, Mahomet Giray, concluded a formal alliance with the Cossacks at the end of 1624. Thus the Cossacks, as at the time of Emperor Rudolph II at the end of the Sixteenth century, conducted their own international policy. Among others, they sheltered in the Zaporogian Sich, a certain Ahkla, who gave himself out to be a son of Sultan Mahomet III and a Byzantine princess of the house of Comnen. This pretender was supported by the Metropolitan of Kiev also, Job Boretsky, who sent him with recommendations to the Tsar of Muscovy. The Cossacks on their part, sent a diplomatic mission to the Muscovian Tsar in 1625.

The growth of Cossack activities and their interference in Tatar and Turkish affairs, roused the apprehension of the Polish government, unable as usual, to cope with them. The Polish King Sigismund, whose attention was always concentrated on securing the Swedish and Muscovian thrones for himself, feared political complications in the south which might interfere with his plans in the north. He was therefore disinclined to support the daring  p207 enterprises of the Cossacks against the Turks. On the other hand, he was displeased because of the active support given by them to the Orthodox clergy. He severely admonished them and forbade them to take any steps against the Turks. In defiance of his orders, the Cossack fleet put out to sea, attacked and burnt down Trebizond. A strong Turkish fleet pursued and intercepted the Cossacks at the mouth of the Dnieper, but were defeated by the Cossacks, who succeeded in sailing up the Dnieper, having suffered some damage from tempest.

60. Uprisings of 1625 and 1630.

The Polish King then decided to use armed force to subdue the Cossacks. He succeeded for some time in breaking off their alliance with the Tatars by corrupting the Tatar leaders. The Polish army under Konecpolski appeared in Ukraine in the summer of 1625. Again, as was the case thirty years before at the time of the rising of Nalivayko, it came to regular pitched battles which cost the Polish army great effort and serious losses. After stubborn fights in the region of the middle Dnieper, opposite the present town of Kremenchuk, a treaty was concluded known as the Treaty of Kurukiv, from the Lake near which they met. According to this Treaty, the Polish government raised the number of registered Cossacks to 6,000 and promised them regular pay. Those who were not entered on the rolls had either to return home under the landlords or leave the country with their families. The Cossacks were also bound over not to attack the Tatars or Turks any more, to destroy their fleet and not appear again at sea.

The Treaty of Kurukiv, though advantageous to the Cossacks, in that it doubled the number of registered Cossacks, was at the same time harmful, as it again divided them into two parties, those registered and legally recognized, and those irregulars outside the law. But in the person of Michael Doroshenko, repeatedly elected Hetman, they found a skilful and able leader, who succeeded  p208 in pacifying the growing antagonism in their ranks. Again he transferred most of the non‑registered Cossacks to the Zaporogian Sich, leaving the 6000 on the rolls stationed in Ukrainian towns. Favorable circumstances allowed him once more to use the Zaporogians against the Tatars. Hardly had the Treaty of Kurukiv been ratified by the Seim of Warsaw in 1626, when a great Tatar horde invaded Ukraine. Hetman Doroshenko employed all his Cossacks against them, and defeated them near Bila Tserkva in the autumn of 1626.

Further, he renewed his alliance with Shagin and Mahomet Giray, taking advantage of the fact that the Turks were building new fortresses on the shores of the Black Sea to prevent the Cossacks entering it and causing fresh disorders in the Crimea. Finally, the brothers, having decided to free themselves from the over-lordship of the Turks, claimed for themselves the throne of Constantinople. Turkey about this time was much weakened by constant palace revolutions, discords and anarchy among the ruling classes, and the plans of the ambitious brothers Giray were not devoid of a certain hope of success. However, for the time being, the Turks held them in check, and supported Janibek-Giray, who was loyal to the Ottoman Porte. This afforded a welcome pretext for the Cossacks whom the rebel brothers had called in to their help.

In the spring of 1628, Doroshenko at the head of a small but select Cossack force set out for the Crimea. Amidst uninterrupted fighting with the Turko-Tatar forces, who outnumbered them, he forced his way through Perekop and arrived at the capital, Bakhchisaray, where he was welcomed by Shagin and Mahomet-Giray, his allies. But there Doroshenko fell in battle, slain by a Turkish bullet. The Cossacks, though they had lost their leader, did not lose their courage or presence of mind. They continued their campaign on the old plan, crossed the peninsula to Kaffa (the present Theodosia) on the sea, where the Turkish candidate, Janibek-Giray, was besieged, supported from the sea by the Turkish fleet.  p209 The Cossacks defeated the Turkish reinforcements which had been sent from Constantinople to the relief of the besieged Janibek-Giray. Here an unexpected change occurred. The Tatar parties, hitherto hostile, came to an understanding. The adherents of Mahomet and Shagin-Giray left the Cossacks, and having joined Janibek-Giray, fell with their united forces on the Cossacks. These now found themselves between two fires, and only with difficulty fought their way back across the peninsula and returned in safety to the Sich, even bringing as trophies artillery seized by the Tatars from the Poles in the battle of Zezora in 1620. Both the brothers Giray, Mahomet and Shagin, escaped with the Cossacks and opened negotiations with the Polish king for help. At last the Polish government decided, though unofficially, to seize the opportunity to intervene in Tatar affairs, and obtain influence over them by giving help to the pretenders. The Polish King gave his consent to a second Cossack campaign in the Crimea.

However, the two campaigns which followed were unsuccess­ful, though their forces were greater than those commanded by Doroshenko. They lacked his skilful leader­ship and unity of plan. The Polish government had intervened too late, and in not having given timely support to the first Cossack victories over the Tatars at the beginning of the Seventeenth century, had lost their opportunity of gaining control over these nomads, who were a real scourge to the Ukrainian provinces of Poland during the whole of the Seventeenth century, menacing Poland often even in its interior provinces.

The Cossack army engaged in the war of Poland with the Swedes returned at the conclusion of peace at the end of 1629. They were ordered to demobilize, since they were not registered. Henceforth they swelled the ranks of the discontented. The chief Polish General Stanislaus Konecpolski, an advocate of a harsh policy towards the Cossacks, was given a free hand. The Ukrainian population became extremely irritated by the excesses of the Polish soldiers stationed in the Ukraine.  p210 The conflict was exacerbated by Cossacks having taken an active part in religious affairs. An ecclesiastical Orthodox Council had been called in Kiev in 1628 in order to find some compromise with the Uniates. The Cossack representatives at the Council at once took up an irreconcilable attitude, and threatened Bishop Meleti Smotritsky and other advocates of an understanding. The Council condemned the latest writing of Meleti Smotritsky as being inconsistent with Orthodox dogma, and as we already know, the Bishop was forced to leave Kiev secretly.

Those in favor of the understanding with the Uniates, however, continued their efforts, supported by the Polish government. In the Seim in Warsaw in 1629, it was decided to call a "General Synod" in the autumn of 1629 in Lvov, where the representatives of the Orthodox and Uniates were to meet. Preliminary Synods were called by order of King Sigismund, one for the Orthodox in Kiev and another for the Uniates in Volodimir in Volynia. But even before the Synod was called, the Ukrainian nobles of Kiev province made a decided protest against any understanding with the Uniates. Cossack representatives and Orthodox nobles appeared in the Synod and broke up the session, although some Orthodox clergy were inclined to compromise. No Orthodox representatives attended the "General Synod" in Lvov. The Uniates sat alone, and worked out a basis for an understanding, the most interesting point of which was a plan for a common Patriarch for the Orthodox and Uniate Churches.

Religious strife had repercussions among the Cossacks, straining the relations between the Registered Cossacks and those of the Zaporogian Sich. Hetman Gregory Chorney, elected in the place of Michael Doroshenko, was suspected of having sympathy with the Uniates. When Hetman Chorney demanded the disposal of artillery belonging to the Zaporogians, they kidnapped him, brought him into the Sich, tried, condemned and quartered him. In his stead they elected a new Hetman, Taras Fedorovich. This was the beginning of an open conflict with the Polish government. The Registered Cossacks, seized with panic,  p211  shut themselves into the fortified town of Korsun, where a detachment of Polish forces was garrisoned. The Zaporogian Cossacks besieged the place. The townspeople of Korsun as well as some of the Registered Cossacks joined the Zaporogians, and the Polish garrison together with those Registered Cossacks who had remained faithful to the Poles escaped from Korsun.

The Zaporogian army, its ranks swelled by the discontented, concentrated in a fortified camp on the left bank of the river Dnieper near the town of Pereyaslav. The Polish General Konecpolski crossed the Dnieper in May, 1630, and attacked the Cossack camp. We know that it lasted about three weeks and that Konecpolski was unsuccess­ful and was forced to accept peace terms favorable to the Cossacks. Peace was signed on the 8th of June in Pereyaslav. The numbers of the Registered Cossacks were raised to 8000, and an amnesty was secured to all participants in the war. As usual, the Cossacks were required to refrain from attacking the Turks and to destroy their own fleet.

Both sides were, of course, dissatisfied with the conditions of peace and the issue of the campaign, but the Cossacks interpreted it to mean, that the conditions of Kurukiv being cancelled, they were free to do as they liked. Accordingly, immediately after the conclusion of the peace of Pereyaslav they put to sea and invaded the coasts about Kilia and Varna. Konecpolski was not strong enough to make reprisals but the Polish army remained stationed in the Ukraine.

About this time, after the campaign of Pereyaslav, a new attempt was made on the part of the Western European powers to draw the Cossacks into the sphere of their international policy. The voevod of Transylvania, Betlen Habor, entered into negotiations with the Cossacks in 1629, through the Patriarch of Constantinople. Later, the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus sent his emissary to the Cossacks to solicit their votes in the election of the Polish King after King Sigismund's death, and to invite  p212 them to send a detachment to help the Swedes in Austria. His emissary failed to arrive, having been intercepted and retained by the Muscovians. In the summer of 1621, Gustavus Adolphus sent another mission to the Cossacks, which was allowed to pass through Muscovy, as the Muscovian Tsar intended to go to war with Poland. The Swedish emissaries were instructed to enter into negotiations only with the Zaporogian Cossacks in the Sich, but they fell into the hands of the Registered Cossacks loyal to the Poles, who delivered them to the Polish authorities.

In April, 1632, King Sigismund died. His death revived the hopes of the Orthodox for the settlement of Orthodox Church affairs. Again all the forces were mobilized for the election campaign of the new King. At the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Nobles were once again Lavrentiy Drevinsky and Michael Kropivnitsky, well known as Orthodox delegates in former years, and besides them a new name appeared, that of Adam Kissil, a Nobleman of Kiev who was destined later on to play an important part in the Ukrainian history of the period. The Ukrainian nobles again concluded an alliance with the Cossacks who sent their delegation to the election with instructions to vote for Prince Wladislaus and for the abolition of Church Union. The Orthodox again concluded an alliance with the Polish Protestants headed by the great Lithuanian magnate Christopher Radziwill.

Prince Wladislaus, King Sigismund's son, was duly elected King. He was believed to be tolerant in religious matters, and the affairs of the Orthodox Church were settled in the following way after a hard fight during the elections: 1. The Orthodox population was to be free to confess the Orthodox faith, and was given the right to build new churches, repair old ones, found schools, hospitals, printing offices and brotherhoods. The Orthodox were also admitted to municipal institutions. 2. The Metropolitan of Kiev was officially recognized as head of the Orthodox Church in the Ukraine, and the Cathedral of Saint Sophia and the Pecherski Monastery were allotted to him. 3. In addition to the Metropolitan see of Kiev,  p213 the Orthodox population received the bishoprics of Lutsk, Lvov and Peremyshl (Przemysl). 4. Quite a number of churches and monasteries seized by the Uniates were returned to the Orthodox. 5. The Uniates received the bishoprics of Kholm, Vladimir, Pinsk and Polotsk.

So we see that the Orthodox obtained only a partial victory. The Union of the Churches was not abolished. On the contrary it was now recognized by the Orthodox as another rite to which Ukrainians and White Russians belonged, and this cleavage was officially recognized and sanctioned. To the Orthodox, however, it seemed an important victory. They had triumphed and their joyful feelings found expression in the speeches of the Ukrainian parliamentary leaders Drevinsky and Kropivnitsky in the Seim.

61. Peter Mohyla and His Time.

The Ukrainian Orthodox took the greatest care to settle their internal affairs to their best advantage. First, it was decided to annul the election of the Metropolitan, Isaiah Kopinsky, who was too old, and in addition was a notorious partisan of Muscovy. The Ukrainians now wished to nominate a candidate acceptable to the new Polish King. Such a candidate was found in the person of Peter Mohyla, (1596‑1647), son of the late Prince of Moldavia, who having been deprived by the Turks of his throne, had taken refuge in Poland. Peter Mohyla was a very learned man, having studied in Paris and Oxford. For some time he pursued a military career and took part in the campaign of Khotin, but later entered a monastery, and at the time of his election to the dignity of the Metropolitan, occupied an important post in the Orthodox hierarchy, being the Archimandrite (Abbot) of the Pecherski Monastery in Kiev. His election was carried out with great pomp in the spring of 1633 in Lvov. Accepted by the Polish King, the new Metropolitan entered Kiev in triumph in July of the same year, after the old Metropolitan Isaiah Kopinsky had been induced to abdicate, deposed almost by force, and shut up in a monastery. About  p214 the same time a Volynian noble, Hulevich, was elected to the Orthodox bishopric of Peremyshl (Przemysl).

The Orthodox were fortunate in their choice of Peter Mohyla, who fully justified by his brilliant activity the panegyrics and odes composed in his honor. An exceptional leader had been found who in his person united all the gifts necessary in the circumstances of the time. Being of aristocratic birth, Peter Mohyla was highly connected, and moreover enjoyed independent means which he devoted exclusively to religious and cultural purposes. Having the support of the Polish authorities, he enjoyed a freedom of action which none of his predecessors, cramped by their illegal position, ever had. Very gifted, intelligent, and active, and brilliantly educated, he devoted the whole strength of his fiery and sometimes uncontrolled temperament to the interests of the Orthodox Church. He was a true leader, conscious of his aims. First he created a substantial material foundation for the Metropolitan See, so as to enable him to carry out his far‑reaching plans, and concentrated in the hands of the Metropolitan the great landed possessions belonging to the Kievan monasteries. He then carried out a wide educational scheme with the wealth so acquired.

Mohyla undertook the discipline of the Orthodox clergy, and restored order in the church hierarchy shaken during the preceding centuries. He closely watched their way of life and their work, and created a special post of Metropolitan's Lieutenant entrusted with the minute control of the clergy. A special ecclesiastical court of justice was created, the so‑called Consistorium.

Peter Mohyla did much for the restoration of churches in Kiev, but especially important services were rendered by him in the question of education in Ukraine. He reformed the existing school of the Brotherhood into a college, and later into an Academy like other contemporary European Universities, and introduced the teaching of Latin and Greek. In addition to the Kievan Academy, colleges were created in Vinnitsa in Podolia and in Kamenets in Volynia. He greatly encouraged literary and  p215 publishing activity, and a great number of books, such as theological treatises, school books for the students of the Academy and Colleges. Of course, most works of theology were published in Kiev, among them an epoch-making Catechism approved by the ecclesiastical Council of 1640 in Kiev, and accepted in other Orthodox lands. It is still in general use in the Orthodox Church. Its theological importance is seen from the fact that Mohyla's Catechism was reprinted in a Latin translation in 1927 in Rome by the Curiae Romae.​b An important work, the "Paterik Pecherski" (Lives of Local Saints) was published in 1635. The former press of the Kievan Brotherhood was enlarged, and quantities of books of all kinds were printed there and circulated throughout Orthodox countries. A number of learned theologians gathered round the Academy of Kiev, and from among its pupils well-known Churchmen and men of letters entered public life during the lifetime of Peter Mohyla. Among his closest collaborators were men well-known in the history of Ukrainian letters, such as Silvester Kossov, Athanasius Kalnofoysky, Isaiah Koslovsky, Joseph Horbatsky, Oksenti Starushich. Among the pupils of Mohyla we may mention Lazar Baranovich, Anton Radivilovsky, Innocent Gisel.

There was, however, a weakness in the activity of Peter Mohyla which had far‑reaching consequences. Mohyla was not a Ukrainian by birth, and though a great zealot for the Orthodox Faith, was not a Ukrainian patriot. He cared for the interests of the Orthodox Church, but not for the Ukrainian nation. Latin was the chief language in his school: his own works he published in Greek. Not only did the living Ukrainian language find no place in the whole system of education and learning, but even the artificial Church-Slavonic was relegated to second place in favor of Latin. This fact condemned the Academy of Kiev to a certain detachment, leaving it without contact with its surroundings and made its learning accessible only to a limited number.

But this drawback was not immediately felt. For the  p216 time being Mohyla's activities rendered an immense service to the Ukrainian national cause by bringing the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the rallying point of national life, to a point from which it could success­fully protect itself from Roman Catholic pressure; and this was the chief task of the time.

The Ukrainian Cossacks took almost no active part in this widespread movement of learning and education. Peter Mohyla and those about him had, as we know, adopted a thoroughly loyal attitude towards the Polish King and government, but the Cossacks' love of freedom and independence, not to speak of their uprisings and excesses were distasteful in their eyes. Indeed, when the Cossacks opposed the Polish authorities, they were in the eyes of Mohyla and his associates no more than rebels, as they were in the eyes of the Polish government. Peaceful conditions were essential to the carrying out of the far‑reaching religious and educational plans of Mohyla's programme.

62. Revolts of Pavluk and Ostrianin.

During the first years of Mohyla's activities, the Cossacks remained quiet and were loyal. The accession of king Wladislaus meant for the Orthodox population the beginning of internal peace and tranquility; but for the Cossacks his warlike and chivalrous character meant an era of active international military policy. The immediate future promised two wars, against Muscovy for the Muscovian throne and against Sweden for the Swedish throne. King Wladislaus could reasonably claim both; he had once been elected by the Muscovians to occupy the throne of the Tsars, and as a member of the family of Vasa he had claims on the Swedish crown. The Muscovian campaign began in 1633, and in it the Cossacks played an important part. In 1634 a Cossack army of about 20,000 joined the King near Smolensk, who had only 9,000 with him. Other Cossack detachments fought round the Muscovian towns of Viazma, Kaluga and Rzhev. This war closed with the Treaty of Polianov in 1634, and  p217 was very advantageous to the Poles. Although King Wladislaus had not won the Muscovian crown for himself, he had annexed to Poland two great and important provinces, Smolensk in White Russia and Chernigov-Sieversk in Ukraine.

At the same time war almost broke out with the Turks and some success­ful battles were fought with the Tatars in which the Cossacks naturally played the leading part. The Polish Seim, however, concluded peace with the Sultan in 1635, and in order to restrain the energies of the Cossacks and keep them in check it was decided to build a fortress at Kodak near the rapids of the Dnieper to prevent them putting out to sea. This fortress was built by a French engineer, Beauplan, author of the well-known "Description de L'Ukraine", a book which was translated into English. The fortress was garrisoned by Polish troops under the French Colonel Morion. The Cossack's pride was wounded and they nursed the grievance. In the meantime the war with Sweden broke out, and we see the Cossacks operating in the Baltic and taking part in the blockade of Koenigsberg.

The war was soon ended. Taking advantage of the circumstance that Polish attention was centred on northern affairs, the Cossack Hetman, Ivan Sulyma, took the fortress of Kodak by surprise and razed it to the ground. He was, however, not sufficiently supported by the Cossacks. He was betrayed by some of their number to the Poles, who seized him and beheaded him in Warsaw.

The Polish government, profiting by internal disunion among the Cossacks, and by the sharply marked division into two strongly opposed groups, one being loyal to the Polish crown and the other against it, maintained peace for some time. A commission led by Adam Kissil, Ukrainian member of the Seim, was sent to the Cossacks. Seven thousand of them were entered on the rolls and took the oath of allegiance.

The registered Cossacks were divided into seven regiments, five settled on the right bank of the Dnieper in the towns Bila Tserkva, Kaniv, Cherkassy, Korsun and  p218 Chihirin, and two on the left bank at Pereyaslav and Myrhorod. Each regiment was sub‑divided into ten hundreds, and the hundreds into "Kureni" (camps) of tens. All their officers were elected from among themselves. Their chief source of livelihood was agriculture, also fishing and hunting. The King's payment was only an insignificant contribution. The land owned by them was not in separate areas but located side by side with private and state lands. The Cossack lands were immune from crown or feudal jurisdiction and had their own court of justice.

For some time there was peace, but it seems that the independent spirit of the Cossacks could not be accommodated within the narrow limits set by the Polish government. The discontented elements were, of course, assembled in the Sich beyond the Rapids. They were for the most part former peasants who had left their homes not wishing to become serfs of the newly installed land­owners. They were also hostile to the Registered Cossacks, whom they accused of having seized "lands and meadows and working on their estates in imitation of the nobles." A leader of the opposition was soon found in the person of Pavluk. In the summer of 1637 he appeared in Korsun, seized the artillery of the Korsun Cossack regiment and fomented sedition among them. They mutinied, murdered those of their officers who remained loyal to the Polish authorities, and joined Pavluk. Thus a new Cossack war broke out. Pavluk sent out from his headquarters a "Universal" (Manifesto) to the Ukrainian population, Cossacks and peasants, inviting them to join his army. He met with much success on the left bank of the Dnieper, and uprisings against the landlords began. Jews who had been brought from Poland as agents for the Polish landlords were especially hated by the population and were molested. Some of the Registered Cossacks joined the rebels, others remained loyal to the Polish government.

When at the end of 1637 the Polish army, led by Michael Potocki, took the field against the Cossacks,  p219 they met near the village of Kumeyki near Cherkassy. The Cossacks numbered about 23,000 and had good artillery. Confident of success they fought with great courage, their leaders showing skill and good knowledge of strategy. The battle was, however, lost by them as the Polish cavalry broke through the defence lines of the Cossack camp, which had been fortified by several lines of carts in the Czech manner. Dmitro Hunia, one of the old Cossack leaders, succeeded in closing the broken lines, retreated with the rest of the Cossacks, and gave battle again near the village of Borovitsa, but without any better success. The Cossacks, now discouraged and dispirited, gave in. They delivered up some of their leaders, among them Pavluk and Tomilenko, who were beheaded in Warsaw. The Cossacks accepted the new officers appointed by the Polish government and took the oath, which was signed in their name by the Secretary of the Cossack army, Bohdan Khmelnitsky.

The capitulation of the Registered Cossacks did not terminate the war. In the spring of 1638, Potocki crossed the Dnieper into the present Province of Poltava, and only after a long and stubborn struggle was he able to disperse the armed detachments of Cossacks. Part of the Polish army was left behind in the Ukraine in order to keep the population in check. The Seim of 1638 decided to limit the number of Registered Cossacks to 6000. The Cossack officers were henceforth to be nominated by the Polish government and the fortress of Kodak was to be rebuilt.

Though the Poles had defeated the Registered Cossacks and subdued the provinces on the left bank of the Dnieper, the Polish army could not penetrate into the stronghold of the Zaporogian Cossacks, the Sich, where the remnant of the defeated Cossack armies gathered, embittered yet irreconcilable. Neither they nor the Zaporogians had any intention of submitting. Having elected a new leader, Hetman Jacob Ostrianin, the Zaporogians began to prepare for revenge. An expedition of the Polish army was unsuccess­ful against them, and in  p220 the spring of 1638, they appeared in the field. Potocki led his army against them, and this time the struggle took place on the left bank of the Dnieper. The Registered Cossacks were on this occasion fighting against their countrymen. The Zaporogians were at first most success­ful, taking the fortified towns of Kremenchuk and Chihirin and defeating the German lancers employed by Potocki. Hetman Ostrianin was in possession of the whole left bank of the Dnieper, and was in contact with the Don Cossacks and expecting help from them. Nevertheless, in the end the campaign went against the Cossacks, the decisive factor being the arrival of a new Polish army led by Jeremy Vishnevetski, when the united forces attacked the fortified Cossack camp near Zovnin. The Poles succeeded in making a breach in one place, but they allowed Ostrianin to escape with part of the Cossack forces. The remainder, commanded by Dmitro Hunia, continued to defend the camp, repairing the damage and awaiting reinforcements. Hunia expected help from the Sich which was sailing up the Dnieper, and a detachment of Zaporogian Cossacks led by Colonel Filonenko did indeed come to the relief of the besieged in Hunin, but he only entered the camp with great difficulty, having lost all his guns, ammunition and food which he was bringing. The spirits of the Cossacks were almost broken by this failure, but the Polish army was very exhausted, so that both sides were ready to negotiate. This time the campaign ended peacefully, and no reprisals were taken by the Polish government. The Registered Cossacks and the Zaporogians both swore on oath not to avenge themselves on each other. The Registered Cossacks met in the autumn of 1638 in Kiev and accepted the conditions imposed on them by the Polish government; their superior officers were to be nominated from those of Polish origin, subordinates only being allowed from among the Cossacks themselves. The Registered Cossacks were put under guard, and the fortress of Kodak was rebuilt to keep the Zaporogians in check. The Cossacks remained quiescent for almost ten years.

 p221  It proved to be the calm before the storm. The ill effects of the decline of the feudal system were felt in Poland as elsewhere in Europe. A tremendous conflict was inevitable because the endeavors of the great land­owners to secure cheap peasant labor for agricultural production on their vast domains were directly opposed to the traditions and aspirations of the Ukrainian peasant class with its ideal of individual small-holders and free labor. This was especially grievous to the Ukrainian peasants in the wide steppe, neighbors of the free and independent Cossacks. Even their better position compared with those in Western Ukrainian territories and their greater material well-being could not reconcile them with these social differences. Therein lay the germ of future conflicts.

63. Ukrainian Territory Completely United Under the Polish Crown.

In the first half of the Seventeenth century almost all the lands inhabited by the Ukrainians were united under the Polish crown, with the exception of the Carpathian Ukraine which belonged to Hungary, and the vast empty steppe to the east of the present province of Poltava. This latter region had nominally belonged to Muscovy since the Sixteenth century, and it was not until the second half of the Seventeenth century that it began to be colonized by Ukrainian refugees who could not adapt themselves to the conditions existing in the Ukrainian provinces under the Polish crown. These settlers were called Slobidski Cossacks, because they took with them the Cossack organization by regiments, and their settlements were known under the name of Slobidska Ukraine.

According to the Treaty of Deulino (1618) Poland obtained from Muscovy the province of Chernigov-Sieversk, the ancient Ukrainian land of Sieversk which the Lithuanian princes had lost to Muscovy at the beginning of the Fifteenth century. Under the Treaty of the "Eternal Peace" of Polianov (1634), this province was confirmed in the possession of the Polish crown, and in 1635  p222 Polish administration and judicial system were introduced throughout its length and breadth. The landed possessions of the local nobles, cossacks and monasteries were confirmed by the Polish government, and free lands were distributed among nobles either from the Ukraine or Poland.

Under the Muscovian princes only the northern part of the province of Chernigov-Sieversk was comparatively densely populated, the right bank of the river Desna, which was naturally protected from invasion from the south. Here also were situated the more important trading towns: Chernigov, Novhorod-Sieversk, and Starodub, and centres of flourishing forest industries. The less well-protected southern and south-eastern parts were sparsely populated, many towns and settlements having been abandoned since the Thirteenth century. The re‑population of these was achieved along the same lines as that of the Middle Dnieper countries. That is, soon after the Union of Lublin, the new landlords invited colonists from the more densely populated districts on the right bank of the Dnieper and promised them all manner of privileges and liberties. New settlements were often made on old sites and their ancient names revived, though in some cases the new settlers brought with them the names of their old homes. For instance, most the Hluchiv district was colonized by immigrants from Podolia who named their new homes after their Podolian towns and villages.

The peasants were required to perform several duties for the landlords. They had to pay duties in money, or give tithes and work a certain number of days on the land. The Lithuanian Statute was introduced in the newly annexed province and justice was administered accordingly in the law courts; the penal court or "grodski"; the civil court of "Zemski"; and the court which dealt with disputes about the boundaries of landed property. The chief places, such as Chernigov, Novhorod-Sieversk, Nizhin, Starodub, Mhlin, Pochep, and Pohar were granted municipal self-government according to the  p223 "Magdeburg Law", though the rights of the Orthodox population to hold office in municipal institutions were always limited by royal charters.

The new administration under the Polish crown was better than that of Muscovy, and at first the requirements of the landlords fell more lightly on the peasant population. But the same causes operating throughout all the Ukrainian territories began to be felt here also; with the intensification of agriculture on the lands of the great land­owners, the duties of the peasants became heavier, the control of the administration on the estates more odious. The Ukrainian town population, the burgesses, on their part, felt bitterly concerning the preponderance given to foreigners in municipal self-government, such as Roman Catholics and Uniates, while they, being autochthonous but Orthodox, were relegated to the second place. Generally speaking, the whole Orthodox population viewed with discontent the growing influence of the Roman Catholic clergy who were under the protection of the Polish government. Soon after the annexation of the Chernigov province, Uniate as well as Roman Catholic schools were opened in profusion, and Jesuit and Dominican monasteries were founded everywhere. The province was soon drawn into the religious and national controversies which were seething in other Ukrainian provinces included in the Polish State.

The union of all the Ukrainian territories under one crown had far‑reaching consequences for the Ukrainian people; intercourse between the various Ukrainian provinces grew and multiplied, and their bonds were strengthened. The influence of the western Ukrainian centres of culture spread further to the east. Kiev became again the unchallenged centre of religious and national life. The Ukrainian Cossacks were already becoming the leading Ukrainian social class, gradually taking the place of the Ukrainian nobles, and their influence was extending over all the Ukrainian territories, and gaining sympathy everywhere, especially among those peasants who were dissatisfied with the increasing duties and who regretted  p224 their lost freedom, and the townspeople ousted by foreigners from their former leading positions. Even the Ukrainian nobles and the Orthodox clergy adhered to the Cossacks, seeing in them power­ful allies in the struggle for the interests of the Orthodox Church. On the other hand, the Ukrainian nobles drawn into the parliamentary politics of the Polish state, were receiving a certain political training and were cultivating political ideals in the spirit of freedom. This had, as we shall see, important consequences, when the Ukrainian independent State very soon came into existence.

The pressure of the Roman Catholic Church and the religious strife it brought about, compelled the Ukrainian population to organize for self-defence, which resulted in the foundation of schools and the spread of education according to west European models. The influence of this education was spreading over all Ukrainian territories now united under the Polish crown, and when, in the middle of the Seventeenth century a sharp conflict broke out between this crown and the Ukrainian population proceeding from religious and national, as well as social and economic causes, it very soon became of a general character, uniting all classes of the population and developing into a true national revolution. The effects penetrated to the farthest corners of the Ukrainian lands. Even the Carpathian Ukrainians, cut off as they were by the political frontiers from the rest of the Ukrainian territories and who now for centuries had lived a separate life in quite different conditions were subject to the influence of the Ukrainian Renaissance on the threshold of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries, and drawn into the sphere of national Ukrainian life. It was in this struggle of the Ukrainian people for their political, social and economic emancipation, that their national consciousness was awakened. The traditions of an independent political existence, which had almost been lost under centuries of foreign government, were revived, together with a strong determination to recover political and national independence, and to rebuild the Ukrainian State.


Thayer's Notes:

a The printed text has "British", whether corresponding to Doroshenko's original Ukrainian, or Keller's mistranslation I don't know; but at any rate that term is an anachronism, since the Acts of Union were not passed until many decades later: ambassadors from London cannot be called British before 1707.

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b Sic, a near-barbarism for "Curia Romae"; in plain English: the Roman Curia — which in turn is nonsense. This Latin edition of Mohyla's catechism is properly La Confession Orthodoxe de Pierre Moghila métropolite de Kiev, 1633‑1646, eds. Antoine Malvy and Marcel Viller, published in Vol. 10 of "Orientalia Christiana", by the Pontifical Institute of Oriental Studies (Pontificale Institutum Orientalium Studiorum), Rome, 1927. There are at least two other editions of Mohyla's Latin catechism (Uppsala, 1695; Stockholm, 2019), based on a different group of manuscripts.


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