Kyiv Greek St. Catherine’s Monastery: Contingent of Monkhood and Inhabitants in the 18th – Early 20th Century
The paper is devoted to the contingent of monks and inhabitants of Kyiv Greek St. Catherine’s Monastery throughout the history of its existence (1748-1926).
Kyiv Greek St. Catherine’s Monastery is interesting because it was one of the many churches in town (metochion) of the ancient Holy Monastery of the God-trodden Mount Sinai. The founder of Kyiv monastery was Eugenios (1748), the abbot of the Sinai monastery.
The goal of the paper is to study the number and contingent of the monkhood and the inhabitants of the monastery during its existence, and systematization of materials obtained from archival documents and publications.
Throughout its history, Kyiv Greek St. Catherine’s Monastery remained a source of funding for the Sinai monastery. From the time of the monastery’s foundation until the beginning of the 20th century, the abbots of Kyiv Greek St. Catherine’s Monastery were appointed from Sinai monastery. This circumstance influenced the fact that the abbots of Kyiv Greek St. Catherine’s Monastery tried to save money and minimize the number of clergy and minor orders.
As Kyiv Greek St. Catherine’s Monastery was not obliged to report to Kyiv diocesan authorities, in particular to the Rural Dean of Kyiv Monasteries, regarding the contingent of the monkhood, the information deposited in the archives is far less complete than information on the monkhood of other Kyiv monasteries. From the beginning of the foundation of the monastery until the second half of the 20th century there were no people, except for the abbot, and the lack of premises in the monastery for their residence contributed to that fact. The monastery hired local Kyiv priests, acolytes, and minor orders to conduct services. Sometimes the foreign monks who came to Kyiv on various business lived in the monastery. From the second half of the 19th century till the closure of the monastery there were usually two or three hieromonks, one or two hierodeacons, several monks, and up to fourteen novices. Often during the year, the contingent of the novices changed by more than half. The monastery was entered mainly by people from Ukrainian peasants, Cossacks, and sometimes from the clergy and commoners. In the monastery in the first half of the 19th century, there were also staff attendants, i.e. peasants, who had to perform certain kinds of work for the monastery.
Unfortunately, the sources do not give us the opportunity to draw a conclusion about the level of spiritual life in the monastery, because deposited written evidence usually describe not positive (which are considered the norm), but some negative aspects of monastery life (conflicts, misconduct). Such situation we have with Kyiv Greek St. Catherine’s Monastery as well.
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