Raphail Zaborovskyi (baptized – Mykhailo)

Raphail Zaborovskyi (baptized – Mykhailo)

Raphail Zaborovskyi (baptized – Mykhailo) was born in 1676, according to other sources – in 1677 in the town of Zboriv in Lviv region, the territory of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at that time, now the town is the district center of Ternopil oblast. It is known that his father was a nobleman of the “Roman faith” (Catholic), and his mother was Orthodox. He received his primary education at the Jesuit College. After his father’s death, while his mother moved to Kyiv, he entered the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. He studied philosophy at the Academy, listened to lectures by prominent, then still Kyiv, professors Yoasaf Krokovskyi and Stefan Yavorskyi. Yavorskyi was a scientist, organizer of higher education in Russia, poet, publicist, public figure and unsurpassed orator who played a significant role in the fate of the future Metropolitan of Kyiv. It was Stefan Yavorskyi who invited the gifted student to Moscow, from whom Zaborowskyi took monastic vows under the name Raphail.

In 1700, Raphail Zaborovskyi continued his studies at the Moscow Slavic Greek Latin Academy, and after completing the course began teaching rhetoric at the academy. In 1720 he was appointed as naval ober-hieromonk.

In 1723 he was ordained a hegumen of the Tver Trinity Kalyazin Monastery, and at the same time became a member of the Synod. In 1725 he became a bishop of Pskov and Narva. He opened a Slavic Latin school in Pskov, almost the first in the city where teachers invited by him from the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy taught.

In 1731, Raphail Zaborovskyi was appointed as archbishop of Kyiv, Galicia and all of Rus’ Minor. Only in 1743, when Empress Elizabeth returned the status of metropolitanate to the Kyiv cathedra, he became a metropolitan. He served in this position until the end of his life.

Researchers of the life of archpastor Raphail always emphasize that he was well versed in art, especially sacred, and also “loved to do construction”. In 1739, Empress Anna Ioanivna sent him a valuable gift – a set of drawing instruments. In addition, His Grace was a good icon painter. While in Pskov, he painted the icon of Our Lady of Korsun, which later found its way to the Nizhyn Annunciation Monastery (the monastery still exists today, but the icon has not survived).

Arriving in Kyiv, Raphail Zaborovskyi settled in the Sophia Monastery and actively took up the affairs of the Diocese (Eparchy). He focused on the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy helping needy students, sending skillful ones abroad at his own expense to continue their studies. He took care of the life of students, tried to improve the level of teaching at the academy. In 1734 he drafted the “Academic Rules for Teachers and Students…” charter in which he set out 22 points of the Academy internal life rules, based on ancient traditions and modern requirements.

Under archbishop Raphail, a large-scale reconstruction and expansion of the Academy’s buildings began. First of all, it concerned the educational building, built in 1704 at the expense of Hetman Mazepa. In 1736, His Grace asked the Synod for permission to add the first floor, which would house philosophy and theology classes, a debate hall, and the Annunciation congregational church. He allocated 1640 rubles from his own funds for this. On July 17, 1739, after the completion of the construction works, the consecration and solemn meeting took place in the new Congregation Hall, where the students presented to archbishop Raphail an engraving (Thesis) measuring 1.2 x 0.8 m, made by a pupil of the Academy, engraver G. Levitskyi-Nis. Wisdom, education, foresight, other virtues of the Kyiv archpastor were glorified in it, in bright allegorical images created by G. Levitskyi and supplemented by texts of D. Galyakhovskyi. There is a portrait of Raphail (his only lifetime image) in the center of the composition, he is surrounded by allegorical images of “virgin muses” – the patroness of science and art.

Under Raphail Zaborowskyi, the Epiphany Cathedral of the Fraternal Monastery (1740s) was also repaired, the construction of the Great Bell Tower of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra (1731–1744) was completed, and St. Andrew’s Church (1744) was founded.

Large construction works were carried out in the Sophia Monastery. First of all, the renovation of the St. Sophia Church was started: gables were added to the facades, and the dome drums were decorated with moldings. It is known that Zaborovskyi allocated “one and a half thousand gold coins” to the cathedral, personally given to him by Empress Elizabeth Petrovna. This money was used to make a new three-tiered iconostasis, which has been preserved to this day (unfortunately, only the first tier) and is located in the cathedral. After the Sophia Triumphal Bell Tower had been damaged during the 1742 earthquake, the second tier was relayed and the third tier was rebuilt in 1744–48. The Metropolitan’s Residence, built by the previous Kyiv archpastor Varlaam (Vanatovych), was built on the first floor and expanded. Around 1737 the Church of the Resurrection of Christ was built on the first floor. Simultaneously with the reconstruction of the Triumphal Bell Tower, the construction of a stone fence around the monastery began, a gate was built in the south-western part, named after its creator and became known in history of Ukrainian architecture as the “Zaborovsky Gate”. It became the main entrance to the territory of the archpastoral residence, and the main facade of the Metropolitan’s House was also moved to the west. The architecture of the Zaborovsky Gate is designed as a triumphal arch dedicated to the glorification of Metropolitan Raphail. In the magnificent stucco, preserved on its western facade, a deep idea of a celebration on the occasion of the return of the Kyiv metropolitanate by Empress Elizabeth Petrivna is recreated.

The construction work that took place in Kyiv under archbishop Raphail can be compared in its volume and significance only with the era of Hetman Ivan Mazepa. An architect J.-G. Schedel was involved in most of them, with whom Zaborovskyi worked closely throughout his stay at the Kyiv Metropolitan Department.

The bishop died on October 22, 1747, and was buried in the crypt of St. Sophia Cathedral.