Havryil Kolenda

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Havryil Kolenda
Metropolitan of Kiev
ChurchRuthenian Uniate Church
Appointed22 April 1665
Term ended11 February 1674
PredecessorAntin Sielava
SuccessorKyprian Zochovskyj
Ordination28 March 1633 (Priest)
Consecration1652 (Bishop)
by Antin Sielava
Personal details
Died11 February 1674 (aged 67–68)

Yuri Havryil Kolenda (Ukrainian: Юрі Гавриїл Коленда, Belarusian: Гаўрыла Календа, Polish: Gabriel Kolenda) (1606—1674) 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 1665 to his death in 1674 having served as administrator of the metropolis from 1655.

Early life[edit]

Yuri Kolenda was born about 1606 in the Vilnius Voivodeship. In 1624, he entered in the Order of Saint Basil the Great taking the religious name of Havryil (Gabriel).[1]: 132  He passed his novitiate in the monastery of Byten.[2] After the novitiate, in 1627 he was sent to study in Braniewo where he remained till 1630. He returned in Vilnius where he continued his studies, and on 28 March 1633 he was ordained a priest.[1]: 132  He later studied in Vienna, and then at the Greek College in Rome from 1 December 1636 to 24 November 1639.[3]

Returning to Lithuania, in 1640 Kolenda became the deputy of the Archbishop of Polotsk, Antin Sielava, who in 1641 became the Metropolitan of Kiev and head of the Church.[4]

Under the Cossacks wars[edit]

After 1648, the political situation in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth underwent years of crisis. A parallel metropolis was erected in 1620 — the Metropolis of Kiev, Galicia and all Ruthenia — for those faithful of the Commonwealth who remained loyal to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. The Khmelnytsky Uprising of 1648 posed a threat to the existence of the Commonwealth. One of the targets of the Cossacks was the liquidation of the Greek-Catholic Church, and this request was considered acceptable by the Latin Catholic Poles who, after being defeated by the Cossacks, signed the Treaty of Zboriv in 1649, only the Papal nuncio and Greek-Catholic bishops being opposed.[5]: 230-1  The Cossacks army arrived to forcedly abolish the Greek-Catholic eparchy of Chełm, one of the strongholds of the Greek-Catholic Church.[6] In September 1651, due to a temporary defeat of the Cossacks, the new Treaty of Bila Tserkva was signed and it contained no more statements about the liquidation of the Greek-Catholic Church, which was allowed to reenter Chełm and Przemyśl.[1]: 135 

In 1652,[7] Havryil Kolenda was consecrated a bishop with the title of bishop of Mstsislaw[1]: 135  by his Metropolitan Antin Sielava. On 23 June 1563 the coadjutor bishop of the Metropolitan, Pachomius Oranski bishop of Pinsk, was killed by the Cossacks, and Kolenda was chosen as new coadjutor with the right of succession.[8]

After a couple of years of truce, in 1654 the Cossacks allied with the Russian tsar in the Treaty of Pereyaslav which led to the Russo-Polish War (1654-1667), besides the Second Northern War (1655–60) with the invasion from Sweden. These wars led to a period of mass murders and poverty known as the Deluge. The Russian army from North, and the Cossacks from South, occupied the territories of the Greek-Catholic Church, and destroyed churches, monasteries, and schools, and killing priests and monks.[5]: 231 

On 5 October 1655 the Metropolitan of Kiev, Antin Sielava, died. Kolenda succeeded him as Administrator of the Greek-Catholic Church but not as Metropolitan, because due to the war it was not possible to convene the electoral synod as requested by Rome or to obtain the appointment from the King, who preferred not to displease the powerful Cossacks.[6]

In the meantime the wars went on. Kolenda had to flee Polotsk, bringing with him the relics of Saint Josaphat, and he moved to Supraśl Lavra. The Treaty of Hadiach of 1658 signed between Poland and the Cossacks foresaw again the liquidation of the Greek-Catholic Church. This treaty was however not fully enforced because of successive divisions among the Cossacks.


The problems for Kolenda's Church in this period came also from the Latin Catholic bishops of Poland, who tried to persuade Rome to terminate the Greek-Catholic Church and to extend their jurisdiction over the Byzantine Rite faithful.[5]: 233  To obtain some help for his Church, Kolenda sent in 1644 to Rome the bishop of Chełm, Jacob Souza, who succeeded in convincing the papacy to take a stand for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, reaffirming its independence from the Latin episcopate, obtaining the appointment of Kolenda as Metropolitan, confirming the validity of ordinations made by Orthodox, and ruling about the Basilian Order.[5]: 234  Thus on 22 April 1665 Havryil Kolenda was formally appointed as Metropolitan of Kiev.[9]

After the Truce of Andrusovo in 1667 the war ended and the situation of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church improved, even if it had to leave the town of Smolensk and the capital Kiev. In 1668, and later in 1669, Kolenda succeeded in obtaining from the King of Poland the decrees for the restitution of the churches and properties seized during the wars.[1]: 140  In 1667 Kolenda became the Proto-Archimandrite (i.e. Superior general) of the Basilian Order, ending ten years of disputes about the heading of the order.[6]

Havryil Kolenda died on 11 February 1674 and was buried on 18 February in the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Polotsk.[1]: 141 


  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 d e f іваненко-коленда, с.і. (2006). "митрополит київський, галицький та всієї русі гавриїл коленда". Український історичний журнал (5): 131–144.
  2. ^ Belarusian: Быцень Быцень, in Ivatsevichy Raion
  3. ^ Blazejowsky, Dmytro (1979). "Ukrainian and Bielorussian students at the Pontifical Greek College of Rome". Analecta Ordinis S. Basilii Magni (Sectio II, vol X (XVI), Fasc 1-4). Rome: sumptibus PP. Basilianorum: 154.
  4. ^ Welykyv, Athanasius (1956). "Gabrielis Kolenda Biographia". Epistolae metropolitarum Kioviensium catholicorum Raphaels Korsak, Antonii Sielava, Gabrielis Kolenda. Analecta OSBM. Serie 2. Sectio 3. Rome. pp. 310–312.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  5. ^ a b c d 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.
  6. ^ a b c 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: 358–9.
  7. ^ Blazejowsky, Dmytro (1990). Hierarchy of the Kyivan Church (861-1990). Rome. pp. 251, 282.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  8. ^ Pelesz, Julian (1881). Geschichte der Union der ruthenischen Kirche mit Rom. Woerl. p. 237.
  9. ^ 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)
Ruthenian Uniate Church titles
Preceded by
Archimandrite of Supraśl Monastery
1655 – 1674
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Nikifor Losovski
Archbishop of Polotsk
1655 – 1674
Succeeded by
Preceded by Metropolitan of Kiev, Galicia and all Ruthenia
1665 – 1674
(locum tenens since 1655)
Succeeded by