Ruthenian Uniate Church

The Ruthenian Uniate Church (Latin: Ecclesia Ruthena unita; Polish: Ruski Kościół Unicki) is a historical church that existed in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth following the Union of Brest and was mostly dissolved following partition of the Commonwealth, with most of the church eparchies being forcibly converted to Russian Orthodoxy.

Administrative divisions of the Ruthenian Uniate (Greek-Catholic) Church in 1772 (before partition of Poland)
The archbishop Josaphat Kuntsevych encourages inhabitants at Vitebsk, Vitebsk Voivodeship, to join the union.[a]
Martyrdom of archbishop Josaphat
Vitebsk 1623 painted from Polish painter Simmler (1823-1868) in 1861

Following the partition of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the church mostly dissolved within territory that was annexed by the Russian Empire. On territory that was annexed by the Austrian Empire, the church was preserved, but was reorganized as a Greek Catholic Church under a Galician Metropolitan. Today, it survives as the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, and the Belarusian Greek Catholic Church.

Creation of the church led to high degree of confrontation among Ruthenians, such as the murder of Josaphat Kuntsevych. The Union of Brest that was also perceived as part of Catholisation and Polonization processes contributed to the Khmelnytsky Uprising.

Composition (eparchies)Edit

After partitionEdit

Russian Empire
German Empire
Austrian Empire

Metropolitan bishopsEdit

Metropolitans of Kyiv, Galicia and all Ruthenia:[2]

Post-partition administrators in RussiaEdit




  1. ^ In 1893, Russian painter Ilya Repin "depicted the moment when a Jesuit encourages residents of Vitebsk join the union," in a drawing on the theme of "preaching Kuntsevych".[1]


  1. ^ Brodskiĭ, Iosif; Moskvinov, V. N., eds. (1969). Новое о Репине : статьи и письма художника. Воспоминания учеников и друзей. Публикации (in Russian). Leningrad: Художник РСФСР. p. 389. OCLC 4599550. [...] 1893 года на тему 'Проповедь Кунцевича', посвященных одному из героических эпизодов в жизни белорусского народа. Художник изобразил момент, когда монах-иезуит призывает жителей Витебска примкнуть к унии, [...]
  2. ^ Pelesz, Julian (1881). Geschichte der Union der ruthenischen Kirche mit Rom. Woerl. pp. 1083–84.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit