Metropolis of Kiev, Galicia and all Ruthenia (Ruthenian Uniate Church)

The Metropolis of Kiev, Galicia and all Ruthenia was an ecclesiastical territory or archeparchy of the Ruthenian Uniate Church, a particular Eastern Catholic church. It was erected in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1595/96 following the Union of Brest. It was effectively disestablished by the partitions of Poland (1772–1795). Its successor — the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church — continues to operate in the modern states of Ukraine and Poland. The first metropolitan was Michael Rohoza.

Ecclesiastical structure

Religious denominations in the Commonwealth in 1573

Within the Commonwealth, the metropolis had the following suffragan dioceses and archdioceses (archeparchies):

Pope Clement VIII's 1596 bull Decet Romanum Pontificem gave metropolitans the same rights that Kievan metropolitans had enjoyed under Constantinople. In elections for the office, candidates were chosen by direct vote of the assembled bishops and by the Superior-General (Proto-Archimandrite) of the Basilian order. He would then be nominated by the Polish king and confirmed by the pope.


Theophanes III

For much of the 17th century, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was at war with the Tsardom of Russia. The Khmelnytsky Uprising (1648–1657) also known as the Cossack–Polish War,[1][2][3] was a Cossack rebellion in the eastern territories of the Commonwealth, which led to the creation of a Cossack Hetmanate in right-bank Ukraine. As a result, the Kiev and Chernihiv dioceses which lay in the hetmanate were lost to the metropolis as the Cossacks were firmly anti-Catholic.

While most Orthodox bishops in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth supported the Union of Brest, as with the previous Florentine Union, not all of them accepted the union. Some eparchies (dioceses) continued to give their loyalty to Constantinople. These dissenters had no ecclesiastical leaders but with Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny — the Hetman of the Zaporozhian Cossacks — they had a secular leader who was opposed to the union with Rome. The Cossacks' strong historic allegiance to the Eastern Orthodox Church put them at odds with the Catholic-dominated Commonwealth. Tensions increased when Commonwealth policies turned from relative tolerance to the suppression of the Orthodox church, making the Cossacks strongly anti-Catholic. By that time, the loyalty of the Zaporozhian hetmanate to the Commonwealth was only nominal. In August 1620, the Hetman prevailed upon Theophanes III — the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem — to re-establish an Orthodox metropolis in the realm. Theophanes consecrated Job Boretsky as the new "Metropolitan of Kiev, Galicia and all Ruthenia" and as the "Exarch of Ukraine". There were now two metropolitans with the same title but different ecclesiastical loyalties within the Commonwealth.

By 1686, Russia had complete sovereignty over the lands of the Zaporozhian Sich and left-bank Ukraine, as well as the city of Kiev. The Eternal Peace Treaty of 1686 which was concluded by Russia and the Commonwealth affirmed this reality.[4] As a result, the Greek Catholic population in those areas suffered oppression and many deaths. It also spelled an end to the independence and unity of the Hetman state. The Starodub, Chernihiv, and other territories in left-bank Ukraine went to Russia; the rest remained in the Commonwealth.

The end of the Commonwealth came with the partitions of Poland when the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and the Habsburg monarchy divided the realm between them. Following the partitions, its successor states treated the Uniate Church differently:

List of metropolitans


The below is a list of metropolitans of "Kiev, Galicia and all Ruthenia":[6]


  1. ^ Polish-Cossack War
  2. ^ "Khmelnitsky Massacre in Polonnoe - סגולה". Archived from the original on 2021-02-28.
  3. ^ The Khmelnytsky insurrection Britannica
  4. ^ Ariel Cohen (1998). Russian Imperialism: Development and Crisis. Greenwood Publishing. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-275-96481-8.
  5. ^ Turiĭ, Oleh, ed. (2004). The Church of the Martyrs: The New Saints of Ukraine. Lviv, Ukraine: St. John's Monastery, Pub. Division Svichado. p. 21. ISBN 966-561-345-6. OCLC 55854194.
  6. ^ Pelesz, Julian (1881). Geschichte der Union der ruthenischen Kirche mit Rom. Woerl. pp. 1083–84.
  7. ^ T. Kempa, Metropolita Michał Rahoza a unia brzeska, "Klio", t. 2: 2002, s. 56–62
  8. ^ Pelesz, Julian (1881). Geschichte der Union der ruthenischen Kirche mit Rom. Woerl. pp. 35–59.
  9. ^ Ludvik Nemec, "The Ruthenian Uniate Church in Its Historical Perspective", Church History; Vol. 37, No. 4 (Dec., 1968), pp. 365-388

Further reading