Antin Sielava

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Anton Sielava
Metropolitan of Kiev
ChurchRuthenian Uniate Church
Appointed18 March 1641
Term ended5 October 1655
PredecessorRafajil Korsak
SuccessorHavryil Kolenda
Ordination1617 (Priest)
Consecration1624 (Bishop)
by Joseph Rutski
Personal details
Died5 October 1655 (aged 71–72)

Anton Anastas Sielava (Belarusian: Антон Анастас Сялява, Ukrainian: Антін Селява, Polish: Antoni Sielawa) (1583 – 5 October 1655) was the "Metropolitan of Kiev, Galicia and all Ruthenia"[a] in the Ruthenian Uniate Church — a sui juris Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Holy See. He reigned from 1641 until his death in 1655.


Anastas Sielava was born on about 1583 in the Polotsk Voivodeship from a family of Cossack origin and belonging to the Orthodox religion. In 1612 he entered in the Order of Saint Basil the Great, in the monastery of the Holy Trinity in Vilnius,[1] taking the religious name of Anton (Antony). He lived for some time in the same cell with Saint Josaphat Kuntsevich and he was ordained a priest in 1617. He studied in the Greek College in Rome from 1617 to September 1619.[2]

On 12 November 1623 the bishop of Polotsk, Josaphat Kuntsevich (later declared a Saint), was killed by an Orthodox mob. After him, Anton Sielava was appointed to the See of Polotsk.[3] He was consecrated a bishop in early 1624 by Metropolitan Joseph Velamin-Rutski and enthroned on 14 February 1624.[4]

To Metropolitan Joseph Rutski succeeded Metropolitan Rafajil Korsak, who, when in 1639 left Belarus to go to Rome for Visit ad Limina, appointed Sielava as Vicarius for the Church. Rafajil Korsak died in Rome in August 1640 and, according to his last will, Pope Urban VIII confirmed Sielava as new Metropolitan after the usual process of eligibility.[1] Anton Sielava was so formally appointed Metropolitan of Kiev on 18 March 1641.[5] His patriarchate was initially marked by the beatification, on 16 May 1643, of Josaphat Kuntsevich.

As with his predecessor, he continued to negotiate with the prelates of the Metropolis of Kiev, Galicia and all Ruthenia who remained loyal to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. In particular, he engaged with Metropolitan Peter Mogila, seeking a way to unify the Church in Ukraine.[6] However, he was not a person of the stamp of his predecessors; after Mogila's death in 1646, the discussions ended without results.

Sielava left much part of the administration of the Church to others, and he was of a sickly disposition and quite hypochondriac,[7] and in the last part of his life he was seriously ill and blind.[8]

Since 1648, the political situation in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth underwent years of crisis due to the Khmelnytsky Uprising, a Cossack rebellion in Ukraine fiercely anti-Catholic, followed by the Russo-Polish War (1654-1667) and Second Northern War. The Greek-Catholic Church was seriously threaten, many churches, monasteries and schools were destroyed, and priests and monks killed.[6]: 231  Sielava had to leave Polotsk and died on 5 October 1655,[4] when already (since 1653) the Greek-Catholic Church was in the resolute hands of Gabriel Kolenda.


Anton Sielava was also a writer and a polemist. Among his works we have his "Antelenchus", against the "Elenchum" of Meletius Smotrytski, and his "Vitam Servi Dei Josaphat, Archiepiscopi Polocensis" (Life of the Servant of God Josaphat, bishop of Polotsk) edited in 1624.[1]


  1. ^ The title is also known as the Metropolis of Kiev, Halych and all Rus' or Metropolis of Kyiv, Halychyna, and All-Rus'. The name "Galicia" is a Latinized form of Halych, one of several regional principalities of the medieval state of Kievan Rus'.


  1. ^ a b c Welykyv, Athanasius (1956). "Antoni Sielava Biographia". Epistolae metropolitarum Kioviensium catholicorum Raphaels Korsak, Antonii Sielava, Gabrielis Kolenda. Analecta OSBM. Serie 2. Sectio 3. Rome. pp. 173–174.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  2. ^ Blazejowsky, Dmytro (1979). "Ukrainian and Bielorussian students at the 7 Pontifical Greek College of Rome". Analecta Ordinis S. Basilii Magni (Sectio II, vol X (XVI), Fasc 1-4). Rome: sumptibus PP. Basilianorum: 150.
  3. ^ "Seliava, Antonii Atanasii". Encyclopedia of Ukraine. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  4. ^ a b Blazejowsky, Dmytro (1990). Hierarchy of the Kyivan Church (861-1990). Rome. pp. 250, 281.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  5. ^ Patritium Gauchat (1935). Hierarchia catholica Medii aevi sive summorum pontificum, S.R.E. cardinalium, ecclesiarum antistitum series. Vol. 4. Regensburg. p. 150. {{cite encyclopedia}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  6. ^ a b Baran, Alexander (1971). "Propaganda's concern for the Church in Ukraine and Bielorussia". In Metzler J. (ed.). Sacrae Congregationis de Propaganda Fide Memoria Rerum. Vol. I/2. Herder. pp. 230–231.
  7. ^ Senyk, Sophia (1996). "The Ukrainian Church in the seventeenth century". Analecta Ordinis S. Basilii Magni (Sectio II, vol XV (XXI), Fasc 1-4). Rome: sumptibus PP. Basilianorum: 357.
  8. ^ Pelesz, Julian (1881). Geschichte der Union der ruthenischen Kirche mit Rom. Woerl. pp. 215–240.

External links[edit]

Ruthenian Uniate Church titles
Preceded by Archbishop of Polotsk
1624 – 1655
Succeeded by
Nikifor Losovski
Preceded by Metropolitan of Kiev, Galicia and all Ruthenia
1641 – 1655
Succeeded by