Ruthenian Catholic Archeparchy of Polotsk–Vitebsk

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The Archeparchy of Polotsk(-Vitebsk) was an eparchy of the Ruthenian Uniate Church in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1596 to 1839.

Eastern Catholic eparchies within the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1772. The most northerly one, in brown, is the Archeparchy of Polotsk

The cathedral of the archeparchy was Saint Sophia Cathedral in the city of Polotsk.


Previously an Eastern Orthodox eparchy headed by a suffragan bishop of the Kiev Metropolitan in Vilnius, in 1596 the eparchy of Polotsk, entered in full communion with the Catholic Church as a Greek Catholic Church through the Union of Brest. The eparchy was among the first that joined the union in 1596 along with eparchies of Kiev, Pinsk, Lutsk, Volodymyr and Kholm. Due to the Union of Brest, Belarus, the former Orthodox Church became known as the Ruthenian Uniate Church.

To the archeparchy of Polotsk were later added the territories of the eparchy of Mstislav (also of 13th-century origin) and the 10th-century eparchies of Orsha and Vitebsk.[1][2]

Due to its proximity to Vilnius, the eparchy played a key role in the church life and many of its bishops later became the Metropolitan bishops of Kiev, a hierarch of the Ruthenian Uniate Church. Those include Havryil Kolenda, Kyprian Zochovskyj, Lev Zalenskyj and many others.

In the 1800s, the archeparchy was classified by the Catholic Church as a Ruthenian jurisdiction.[3]

The Russian imperial government suppressed the archeparchy on 25 March 1839 at the Council of Polotsk,[4] which has no Catholic successor.

Episcopal ordinaries[edit]

(Byzantine Rite)

Non-metropolitan Ruthenian Catholic Archeparchs of Polotsk(-Vitebsk) :[5][6]
Catholic cathedral of St.Sophia, Polotsk

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Girolamo Petri, Gerarchia della Santa Chiesa cattolica apostolica Romana, Rome 1851, p. 162
  2. ^ Girolamo Petri, Prospetto della gerarchia episcopale in ogni rito e dei vicariati, delegazioni e prefetture in luogo di missione della S. Chiesa Cattolica Apostolica e Romana in tutto l'Orbe al Primo Gennajo 1850, Rome, no date, p. XX
  3. ^ Romana, Catholic Church Curia (5 March 2019). "Notizie per l'anno ..." – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Ієрархія Київської церкви (861-1996), Львів, Каменяр, 1996, pp. 281-288
  5. ^ "Diocese of Zamość–Lubaczów, Poland". GCatholic.
  6. ^ Kazimierz Dola, "Katalog arcybiskupów i biskupów rezydencjalnych eparchii polskich obrządku grecko-unickiego od Unii Brzeskiej (1596) do roku 1945" in Historia Kościoła w Polsce t. II 1764-1945, cz. 2 1918-1945, Poznań-Warszawa 1979, p. 308

Sources and external links[edit]