Between Politics and the Church: Mykhailo Kozachynsky (1699–1755) and His Poetic Legacy


Svitlana Potapenko (National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv/Goethe University Frankfurt)




18:15 Central European Summer Time


Campus Westend and Zoom Meeting

The lecture will focus on the literary works authored by the poet, teacher of the Kyivan Academia and Orthodox monk Mykhailo Kozachynsky (1699–1755). The overview of his poetic legacy sheds light on the political and ideological climate of the Ukraine in the 1740s, as well as on the Ukrainian-Russian relationships of that time. When Elizabeth became the Russian Empress in 1741, Ukrainian secular and ecclesiastic elites cherished hopes that she would soften the centralizing imperial policy introduced in Ukraine by her father, Peter I. In particular, they expected two things: the restoration of the Kyivan Metropolia and the appointment of a new Ukrainian ruler, the hetman. They achieved the former in 1743, when the Kyivan Archdiocese received its ancient Metropolitan status. Yet the latter still remained a major concern of the Ukrainian elites when the Empress was about to visit Kyiv in the late summer of 1744. The intention to flatter Elizabeth was the key reason for the publication of Kozachynsky’s works. Thus, the author devoted trilingual (late Church Slavonic, Polish and Latin) panegyries Augustissimae ac Invictissimae Imperatrici (1744) and Philosophia Aristotelica (1745) to the Empress and the Rozumovskys brothers, the elder of whom was Elizabeth’s secret husband. A set of shorter poems, including a bilingual piece in German and Latin, accompanied these texts. They were based on the Christian symbolism and classical mythology, with a generous use of historical narratives and constant appeals to the past.

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