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This webpage reproduces a section of

Survey of Ukrainian Historiography
By Dmytro Doroshenko

published by
The Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences
in the U. S., Inc.,

The text is in the public domain.

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 p35  National Movement in XVI‑XVII Centuries
and the Revival of Historical Tradition in Literature

The great cultural and national movement which began in Western Ukraine as a reaction against the Roman-Catholic Polish pressure in the second half of the sixteenth century, and which had as its main centers Ostroh, Lviv and Kiev, aided the development of a rich theological literature, polemical pamphlets, ecclesiastical and historical treatises, and epistles. Their authors, to prove their points in defense of the national and religious rights of the Ukrainians, had to resort very frequently to history and thus revivify the historical traditions of the Ukrainian great princes and of the ancient Kiev State. For this reason the seventeenth century abounds in chronicles.

Among the voluminous religious, polemical literature of that time can be found several works which are of importance for Ukrainian historiography. Perestoroha (Warning) (1605‑1606) by Yurko Rohatynets', a distinguished member of the Lviv Brotherhood, belongs in such category. It is rich in material on Ukrainian national life at the end of the sixteenth century. So, also, are the works of Stepan Zyzaniy, Martyn Bronevsky (Khristofor Philalet), Ipatiy Potiy, Meletiy Smotrytsky, Zakhariya Kopystensky and other authors, both Orthodox and Uniate.

For a historian it is of special interest to watch the revival of the national historical traditions in these times, and to trace the attempts to create an uninterrupted continuity in the Ukrainian historical process. This is clearly evident in the Poslanie (Epistle) to Prince Yarema Vyshnevetsky by Isaya Kopynsky (died in 1640), and in particular in the Protestatsiya (Protestation) of the Ukrainian church hierarchy — Metropolitan Iov Boretsky, Bishops Ezekiil Kurtsevych, Isaya Kopynsky and all the clergy in 1620‑1621 — addressed to the Polish Sejm (Diet) and the entire Rzecz Pospolita about the oppression of the Orthodox Ukrainians. The Protestatsiya has an important paragraph on the Cossacks, who are described as direct descendants of the old Rus′ heroes:

 p36  As for Cossacks, we know that these brave men are our kinsmen, brothers, and Christians of Orthodox faith. . . . They are the tribe of the glorious Rus′ lineage which sprang from Japhet and fought valiantly against the Greek Empire alike on the Black Sea and on land. It is the army of the same generation which under Oleh stormed Tsarhorod in their boats on wheels. It was they who fought against Greece, Macedonia and Illyria under the leader­ship of Saint Volodymyr the Great, Rus′ Monarch. Their ancestors were baptized together with Volodymyr and accepted through the Byzantine Church their Christian faith into which they are born and christened, and by which they live every day. They do not live like heathens but like Christians; they have their priests, they learn to write, to know their God and their laws. . . .

It is certain that, with the exception of God himself, nobody else in the world does so much good for the enslaved Christians as the Greeks, who buy the freedom of the slaves, or the King of Spain with his mighty fleet, and the Zaporozhian Cossacks with their courage and victories. What other people gain by words and treatises, the Cossacks win by actual deeds.12

The same feeling permeates Virshi na zhalosny pogreb zatsnogo rytsera Petra Konashevycha Sahaydachnoho, Hetmana Voyska Zaporozkogo, zlozhony prez inoka Kasian Sakovycha, rektora shkol kievskikh v bratsvi, movlenye ot yego spudeyov na pogrebi togo zatsnogo rytsera v Kievi v nedelyu provodnuyu r. B. 1622 (Verses for the Funeral of the Noble Knight Petro Konashevych Sahaydachny, Hetman of the Zaporozhian Host, composed by Kasian Sakovych, Rector of the Kiev Brotherhood Schools, Recited by His Students During the Funeral of the Same Noble Knight in Kiev on the First Sunday after Easter in the Year of Our Lord, 1622). The Verses repeat almost literally the sentiment of Protestatsiya when referring to the Zaporozhian Host:

The Zaporozhian Host won its freedom in faithful service to king and country. Old chronicles told of their bravery, how they slew the enemies of the fatherland at sea, on land, often on foot or on horseback, although the enemy was well armed. They are Japhet's own tribe . . .

In the reign of Oleh, the monarch of Rus′, they crossed the sea in boats and stormed Tsarhorod. Their ancestors were baptized with  p37 Volodymyr and lived virtuously according to their faith. They are ready to stand by it and defend it with their lives. Princes and nobles were in their host, and good Hetmans came from it.

Such a good Hetman was Petro Konashevych, the fame of whose knightly deeds was known far and wide. Everybody knows about the Zaporozhian Host and how it is needed by the Country. The Ukraine is kept whole by it and wherever there are no Zaporozhians it lies open to Tatar invasion.

The Verses give some biographical data about the famous Hetman, tell of his campaigns and stress his good works in the cultural field:

He donated his property, some to hospitals, other parts to churches, schools and monasteries. Having done this, he ended his life and is buried in the Brotherhood Church in Kiev. He joined the Brotherhood with all his Host and gave it considerable donations. He also went to see the distant Brotherhood at Lviv and liberally endowed it and a church in this town. He gave large amounts of money to the Brotherhood and demanded that it be used for education.

The literature of the period of Khmelnytsky was rich in such verses, which reflected the awakened national consciousness at the time of the great revival of the Ukraine, stirred up by that Great Hetman.13 Even greater literary monuments of that period are the Dumy which had their origin in the Cossack milieu. Some Dumy, those for instance about Khmelnytsky and Barabash or the death of Khmelnytsky, depict historical events very vividly.

The Author's or the Editor's Notes:

12 The Protestatsiya was published by P. Zhukovich in the Sbornik statei po slavyanovedeniyu, vol. III, St. Petersburg, 1907.

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13 See: Iv. Franko, "Studiyi nad ukrayins'kymy narodnymy pisnyami. Khmelnychchyna (dumy, pisni ta virshy)," Zapysky Naukovoho Tovarystva im. Shevchenka, vols. 98‑106.

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