The founder of St. Cyril’s Church according to scientist’s opinion

The founder of St. Cyril’s Church according to scientist’s opinion

A striking phenomenon in the formation of church archeology as a separate scientific discipline were the studies of Kyiv temples of the princely era, conducted by Kyiv scientists of the 19th century. Activation of scientific research was facilitated by the introduction into circulation ancient chronicles in the second half of 19th century. In the context of the study of the Cyril’s Church, the range of sources was outlined by the Hypatian, Hustyn, Laurentian and Nikon Codices.

Contradictions in the chronicle data gave rise to differences of scientific conclusions and interpretations. Thus, the question of determining the identity of the founder of the church between the spouses of Chernihiv princes Olhovych, Maria Mstyslavivna and Vsevolod II Olhovych, was formulated in a fierce dispute between M. Maksymovych (1804 – 1873) and M. Zakrevsky. The nature of this conflict, according to Canadian researcher O. Pevnaya, largely depended on the priority of researchers in the chronicles.

Maksymovych in his article “On the creation of the Kyiv Church of St. Cyril” (1877) defended the idea of ​​founding the church by Maria Mstyslavivna, the wife of Vsevolod Olhovych, based on the mentions of 1179 (6687) in two local chronicles at once: Hypatian and Hustyn. His conclusion will have an impact on the work of individual researchers.

Interestingly, on a memorial plaque erected in St. Cyril’s Church in honor of the completion of restoration work carried out in the 1880s under the direction of Professor A.V. Prakhov contains an inscription that unites the names of the princes, as the founders of the church: “THIS TEMPLE OF SAINT CYRIL CREATED BY THE GRAND PRINCE VSEVOLOD OLGOVYCH AND HIS PRINCESS MARIA MSTYSLAVIVNA IN SUMMER 1140 – 1179 …”.Such an alternative version of the equally possible foundation of the church “… or Vsevolod Olhovych, or Maria Mstyslavivna…” first appears in “Kyiv Menology” (1799) by Iryney Falkovsky. However, Maksymovych saw in his work the repetition of the mistakes of Innokenty Gisel.

Somewhat distorted idea of ​​the founding of St. Cyril’s Church by Maria is given in the “Description of Kyiv” (1820), in which M. Berlinski attributed the foundation to the daughter-in-law of Princess Maria Mstyslavivna, who was also called Maria. This version will later be duplicated in the works of other scholars, including the work of M. Bulgakov “Essay on the History of the Russian Church in the pre-Tatar period” (1847). However, it will soon reveal the mistake. Maksymovych considered Innokenty Gisel’s “Kyiv Synopsis” (1674) to be the original source of this error, in which Maria Kazymyrivna, the wife of Vsevolod Svyatoslavovych and the grandson of Maria Mstyslavivna, was named the founder of the church.

On the background of confusion between Maria Mstislavivna and her daughter-in-law Maria Kazymyrivna, the figure of Vsevolod II Olhovych, as the founder of the church, looked like a monolith and was accepted by many scholars. For example, Zakrevsky defended the idea of ​​founding the temple by Vsevolod, referring to the data of the of Laurentian and Nikon chronicles. The founder of the church was named the Prince of Chernihiv in the “Review of Kyiv on antiquities”, published in 1847 by Kyiv Governor I. Fundukley. His wife was given the role of the founder of the chapel, or church in the monastery.

Researchers have repeatedly returned to the definition of the founder in the 20-21th centuries, because the initial dedication of the temple and the arrangement of altars largely depended on the identity of the founder.

Rethinking the scientific heritage of predecessors, conducting new research, revealed the unanimity of modern scientists, who tend to consider the founder of the temple Prince Vsevolod Olhovych of Chernihiv. Thus, the researcher of St. Cyril’s Church Iryna Margolina puts forward a number of historical facts and attributions of ancient painting to confirm the patronage of Prince Vsevolod, among which she suggests that in the patron’s composition of the 12th century, made in fresco in St. Cyril’s Church, Prince Vsevolod may have been depicted.

However, the version of the female trace in the founding of St. Cyril’s Church is still alive. In particular, O. Pevna emphasized that in the patriarchal society of medieval Kyiv there should be very good reasons for a woman to be called a founder. Accordingly, the fact of mentioning the name of Maria Mstislavivna as the founder of St. Cyril’s Church in two chronicles could not be accidental. It should be noted that if this argument of the researcher may seem unconvincing, it opens a perspective in which the gender ideology of medieval Kyiv looks extremely difficult and ambiguous. But this is another question worth a separate fundamental study.

Author – Iryna Marchenko