By Serhiy Makhun. The Day Ukrainian Newspaper
Kyiv, Ukraine, October 22, 2002
October 15 the Kyiv-Mohyla National University marked the 10th anniversary
of its revival and the 370th anniversary of the Kyiv Collegium (the
precursor of Kyiv-Mohyla). For the students, the festivities began with the
washing the Hryhory Skovoroda statue, meant to symbolize the cleansing of
Ukrainian historical memories and a return to genuine historical values. The
idea of the "Clean Skovoroda" event was conceived by the academy's Bursar
Brotherhood and the washing ceremony has accompanied the celebration of the
Academy's Day since 1999.
The Kyiv-Mohyla Academy's history starts in October 1615 when Halshka
(Elisabeth) Hulevychivna, a Volyn-born noblewoman of Kyiv, signed thefundush
certificate, reading, "I the undersigned donate all this to St. Basil's
cloistered community and to a school for children of noble birth and from
city residents' families; also to all other ways of life pleasing to God, so
as to ensure... education and teaching sciences to Christian children... so
that the cloistered community and the school, one and all abide by the law
of the Eastern Orthodox Church." The members of the Kyiv brotherhood were
thus under the obligation to keep a school on the parcel of land donated by
Hulevychivna, a patron of the arts who had her name inscribed in the academy
annals with those of Petro Mohyla and Ivan Mazepa.
October 15 the Kyiv-Mohyla National University marked the 10th anniversary of its revival and the 370th anniversary of the Kyiv Collegium (the precursor of Kyiv-Mohyla)
Photo by Mykola LAZARENKO, The Day
The brotherhood's school was the academy's predecessor. In October 1632, 370
years ago, the celebrated Metropolitan Petro Mohyla of Kyiv and Galicia
[Halychyna] founded the Collegium of the Kyiv Brotherhood, incorporating the
schools of the brotherhood and the Lavra Monastery of the Caves.
Humanitarian culture flourished under Petro Mohyla, an outstanding reformer
of the Eastern Orthodox Church, enlightener, and ecumenist, as it should in
today's Ukrainian society. Owing to this higher school (in 1658, the
Kyiv-Mohyla Collegium received the legal status of a higher educational
establishment and the title of academy), the Ukrainian nation had an
inexhaustible intellectual source, even through its hardest of ordeals, in
the years of the national-liberation struggle, overall ruination, radical
social and Weltanschauung changes in the early 18th century. The academy
formed schools, fruitful in the realms of philosophy, poetry, music,
architecture, and art. It was also here that the first professional drama
company in Ukraine appeared. Students from Moravia, Poland, Slovakia,
Serbia, Wallachia, Transylvania, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Bosnia,
and Croatia were honored to receive higher education at the academy in Kyiv.
It may be said without exaggeration that the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy had become
Europe's best institution of higher learning in the late 17th century - and
not only in the Slavic world! Among its renowned graduates were philosopher
Hryhory Skovoroda, architect Ivan Hryhorovych-Barsky, composers Maksym
Berezovsky and Artemy Vedel, historian, poet, and Archbishop Lazar
Baranovych, encyclopedist and enlightener Mikhail Lomonosov, Cossack
chronicler Samiylo Velychko, historians Mykola Bantysh-Kamensky and Maxym
Berlynsky, celebrated church hierarchs, Stefan Yavorsky, Dmytro (Tuptalo),
Ivan (Maksymovych), Bishop Josaphat (Horlenko)... Incidentally, Stefan
Yavorsky, a noted philosopher and poet, present at the cradle of the Moscow
Slavic-Greek-Latin Academy founded in 1701.
Among the academy patrons and benefactors were historical figures such as
Hetman Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny who bequeathed all his money to the
brotherhood schools of Kyiv, Lutsk, and Lviv ("...for the benefit of
instruction and perpetuation of the bachelors of art," read the deed),
Metropolitan Petro Mohyla, Ukrainian Hetmans Bohdan Khmelnytsky, Ivan
Vyhovsky, Ivan Mazepa... Under the latter's rule, the Kyiv- Mohyla Academy
reached it peak. It enjoyed respect and was cared for by all Ukrainian
social strata: clergy, Cossacks, petty bourgeoisie, and peasants.
The academy existed till 1817 when ordered closed by the Holy Synod in St.
Petersburg. Tsar Alexander regarded it (with reason) as a threat to the
interests of the Russian Empire. A year later, a theological academy opened
on the premises, closed by the Bolsheviks in 1918.
Finally, on August 24, 1992, 175 years later, the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy was
formally reinstated and the first students were initiated that same day. On
May 19, 1994, the president of Ukraine signed an edict whereby the academy
was now the "Kyiv- Mohyla Academy" National University of Ukraine.
The Day: http://www.day.kiev.ua/DIGEST/2002/32/economy/ec1.htm