Flavian Gorodetskyi (secular name – Mykola Mykolaiovych Gorodetskyi)

Flavian Gorodetskyi (secular name – Mykola Mykolaiovych Gorodetskyi)

Flavian Gorodetskyi (secular name – Mykola Mykolaiovych Gorodetskyi) was born on July 26, 1840 in Orel in a noble family. He lost his father when he was three years old, and at the age of nine he lost his mother. He was brought up in his aunt’s house. He received his secondary education at the Orel Gymnasium, where he was admitted directly to the fourth grade in 1853. Later he entered the Faculty of Law of Moscow University, but did not graduate, in December 1863 he became a novice of the Moscow Symonov Monastery, where he was a sacristan, laborer, served at the altar and in the temple.

In 1866 he followed his mentor, archimandrite Guryi, who was appointed rector of the Orthodox Church in Rome; there he became a monk named Flavian. In the same year, together with archimandrite Guryi Flavian, he returned to Russia, was enrolled in the fraternity of the Saviour-Transfiguration Monastery in Kazan, and in 1867 became a hieromonk.

From 1873 to 1891, Flavian was a member of the Beijing Spiritual Mission in China and later appointed archimandrite of the mission. Having studied the Chinese language, Flavian translated the composed by him “Explanation of Orthodox Service”, “Specified path to the Kingdom of Heaven” by Moscow Metropolitan Innokentii, “A Summary of the Christian Faith” by archpriest Volobuev in Chinese. At the same time, he began to collect the library, also made a collection of Chinese art and decorative works.

In 1884, after returning to Russia, he was included in the fraternity of the Olexander Nevsky Lavra. 1885 – archbishop of Aksai, vicar of the Don Diocese. In 1891 he was appointed bishop of Kholm and Warsaw, and from 1898 to 1901 he was exarch of Georgia. From November 10, 1901 – archbishop of Kharkiv and Okhtyrka. In 1898–1899, bishop Flavian was elected an honorary member of the Kazan and St. Petersburg Theological Academies, and in 1902 he received the title of honorary member of the Kyiv Theological Academy.

From February 1, 1903 – Metropolitan of Kyiv and Halych, sacred archdeacon of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. He lived (intermittently) in the Kyiv-Sophia Metropolitan House. Bishop Flavian took care of the education of his congregation. He began his acquaintance with the diocese by visiting theological schools and diocesan institutions. During the week he inspected all seminaries and theological schools of the Kyiv eparchy, in particular, women’s ones, and even attended lectures at the Kyiv Theological Academy. Subsequently, he provided church-parish schools with maintenance at the expense of annual fixed deductions from the income of the churches of the diocese and generally strengthened the supervision over the activities of the clergy in the parishes. He repeatedly participated in the meetings of the Church-Historical and Archaeological Society, which existed at the Kyiv Theological Academy, and always provided the Society with all possible assistance. Bishop Flavian compiled an album of portraits of all the bishops of the synodal period (in 4 volumes), which he bequeathed to the library of the Holy Synod.

In 1909, a library began to function on the territory of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, where the bishop handed over his own books – 20 thousand copies, among which were many rare editions, theological and secular, covering the problems of history, pedagogy, literature, philosophy and regarding choral church singing. A separate group consisted of manuscripts, archives of the families of Princes Vorontsov and Kurakin, Southwestern Russian Empire. The collection had a catalog in which the metropolitan created his own cards. Showcases for rarities and bookcases were made in the Kyiv carpentry workshop of I. Pryadchenko. The library could be used not only by Lavra monks, but also by students of the Kyiv Theological Academy, Kyiv Imperial University of St. Volodymyr, scientists from St. Petersburg, Kyiv, Moscow. A significant part of the “Flavian Library” is included in the collection of the National Historical Library of Ukraine, which operates on the territory of the National Kyiv-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Reserve.

Metropolitan Flavian established and was a chairman of the missionary committee in Kyiv, which was transformed into an eparchial missionary council in 1908. He donated money to support missionary staff. In the summer of 1908, on behalf of the Holy Synod, he chaired the 4th All-Russian Missionary Congress in Kyiv.

The most famous and notable event during the stay of bishop Flavian at the Kyiv metropolitan cathedra was the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the restoration of St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery. In the summer of 1909 he conducted a solemn service attended by Russian Emperor Nicholas II in Poltava on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Poltava.

Through his care, the Metropolitan Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a hotel building, a hospital and a pharmacy were built in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. The church of St. Serafim of Sarov was built in the St. Trinity Kytaiiv Monastery.

Shortly after the beginning of the First World War, thanks to the efforts of Metropolitan Flavian, a 120-bed infirmary was opened in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, one of the rooms was given to the wounded and those who made ammunition for the military; a hospital was also set up in the Kyiv-Sophia Metropolitan House.

At that time, metropolitan Flavian was already ill, continuing to work. Metropolitan Flavian died on November 4, 1915 from asthma in the Lavra Metropolitan House. He was buried in the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in the Near Caves.