Cyprian, Metropolitan of Kiev

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Cyprian (Bulgarian: Киприан, Russian: Киприан, Ukrainian: Кипріан) (c. 1336 – 16 September 1406) was Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus' with the Metropolitan's residence in Moscow. (The official title was Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus' until 1448, even though the metropolitans were in Vladimir-on-Kliazma and later Moscow since 1299.) He is commemorated on September 16. The Book of Degrees (Stepénnaya kniga), which grouped Russian monarchs in the order of their generations, was started by Cyprian in 1390 but was completed in 1563.

Life[edit]

Cyprian was a clergyman of Bulgarian antecedents who lived for some time at Mount Athos, becoming a Hesychast.[1] Because of his devout lifestyle and excellent education, in 1373, Philotheus Kokkinos of Constantinople sent him to Lithuania and Muscovy on a mission to reconcile the princes of Lithuania and Tver with Metropolitan Alexius.

When, in 1375, hostilities between Moscow and Lithuania began again, the Lithuanian princes, led by Grand Duke Algirdas asked Philotheus I to appoint Cyprian their Metropolitan. At the Constantinople Council it was decided to avoid a fragmentation of the Russian metropolia, and that “upon the death of Alexis, Cyprian should become the Metropolitan of All Rus.”[1] Philotheus consecrated Cyprian Metropolitan of Kiev and Lithuania in order to unite both ecclesiastical provinces after the death of Alexius. Because this ordination was not recognized by Moscow, he became the metropolitan of “all Rus’” only in 1389. He resided thereafter in Moscow, although he visited Kiev and other Ukrainian eparchies.

In 1378, Metropolitan Alexius died. As a result of the ensuing skirmishes and intrigues, Cyprian became Metropolitan of Moscow in 1381. At Moscow, Cyprian endured many sorrows from the Great Prince, so at first he lived either in Lithuania or at Constantinople.[1]

In 1379, however, he fled from Moscow due to the approaching armies of Tokhtamysh. Subsequently, he was removed from Russia and replaced with Metropolitan Pimen (1382–1384). The latter was succeeded by Metropolitan Dionysius (1384–1385). In 1390, Cyprian was returned to Moscow by Vasili II, who he had always supported, and appointed Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia.[2]

Cyprian is remembered as a wise and experienced church administrator who fought for the unity of the Russian church. In fact, he is mainly responsible for uniting the Church in Russia and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. He faced serious opposition during his metropolitanate; Dmitry Donskoy and his advisors were excommunicated for opposing Cyprian's efforts to take up his place in Moscow, and Novgorod the Great – especially Archbishops Aleksei and Ioann II – also opposed his efforts to adjudicate ecclesiastical cases there, which would have allowed him to gain the court fees from Novgorod during the time he sat in judgement there.

Cyprian was an erudite person and oversaw the copying and creation of a number of important works, including the Troitskaia Chronicle (or Troitskaya letopis') and, probably, the Metropolitan Justice (also known as the Pravosudiye metropolich’ye or Правосудие митрополичье). He also rewrote the Life of Metropolitan Peter, originally written around 1327. He also corrected biblical books and translated a number of ecclesiastic works from Greek into Old Church Slavic.[3]

Cyprian is buried in the Assumption Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin. He was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in the 15th century. St. Kiprian Peak on Greenwich Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named for Cyprian.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Repose of St Cyprian the Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia", Orthodox Church in America
  2. ^ John Meyendorff, Byzantium and the Rise of Russia (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary, 1989), 214-221.
  3. ^ Droblenkova and Prokhorov, “Kiprian (ok. 1330-16.IX.1406) Mitropolit Kievskii i vseia Rusi,” in D. S. Likhachev, Slovar knizhnikov i knizhnosti drevnei Rusi, vol. 2, pt. 1, pp. 473-474.

Sources[edit]

Андреев В.Ф. Из истории Русской Церкви XIV-XV веков. Митрополит св. Киприан. Великий Новгород, 2008.

Eastern Orthodox Church titles
Preceded by
Alexius
Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus'
1381–1382
Succeeded by
Pimen
Preceded by
Dionysius I
Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus'
1390–1406
Succeeded by
Photius