Tymofii (Shcherbatskyi) (secular name Tykhon Ivanovych Shcherbatskyi or Shcherbak)

Tymofii (Shcherbatskyi) (secular name Tykhon Ivanovych Shcherbatskyi or Shcherbak)

Tymofii (Shcherbatskyi) (secular name Tykhon Ivanovych Shcherbatskyi or Shcherbak) was born in 1698 in the town of Trypillya in Kyiv region in the family of a burgher Ivan Shcherbak. From childhood he had the ability to sing, so at the age of eight he was accepted into the choir of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy; since then he got the surname Shcherbatskyi.

The voice of the young man attracted the attention of the Emperor Peter I during his visit to Kyiv in 1706, and he ordered to enroll the young man in the court chapel. However, after the usual changing of the young man’s voice, Tykhon returned to Kyiv, where he completed a full course of theology at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.

In 1727, Tykhon Shcherbatskyi embarked on a monastic path and received a vow with the name Tymofii in St. Sophia Cathedral. In 1728 he was ordained a hieromonk and appointed as cathedral clerk (secretary), a member of the Kyiv consistory. In this position he actively assisted archbishop Raphail (Zaborovskyi) in the management of the Diocese (Eparchy).

In 1737 he was ordained an abbot of the Savior-Transfiguration Mhar Monastery of the Poltava Diocese. However, he was soon transferred back to Kyiv as the abbot of the Vydubychi Monastery, and after being elevated to the rank of archimandrite in 1739, he was appointed as a rector of St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery.

On April 14, 1740, the Spiritual Council, in the presence of Metropolitan Raphail of Kyiv, elected and approved Tymofii Shcherbatskyi as the rector of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. During his seven-year reign in the Lavra, archimandrite Tymofii took care of the students of the Kyiv Academy, the educational and publishing activities of the monastery, and defended the independent rights of the printing house to its own publication of church liturgical and theological books. Therefore, abbot Timofii was able, without the permission of Moscow censorship, to obtain the consent of the Empress Elizabeth to print the Lavra library and release for sale “Stone of Faith” by metropolitan Stefan Yavorskyi. At the same time, the Great Lavra Bell Tower was completed (1745), the Assumption cathedral was decorated, and the Lavra hills above the caves were fortified.

In 1747, after the death of metropolitan Raphail (Zaborovskyi), Tymofii Shcherbatskyi was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan of Kyiv and Halych (ordained in St. Petersburg on March 10, 1748). In his archpastoral work, metropolitan Timofii tried to protect the ancient rights of the Kyiv metropolitanate, but he had to agree with many decisions of the Synod aimed at restricting the suffrage of Ukrainian parishes, the russification of worship. On February 22, 1750, he participated in the election of Hetman of the Left Bank of Ukraine Kyrylo Rozumovskyi in Hlukhiv. On November 4, 1754, he was appointed as member of the Holy Synod.

He took special care of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, which at that time had 1,193 students. The bishop tried to subjugate the Academy, reorganizing its administration and education system. In 1753 the teaching of the French language was introduced, and in 1754 a new regulation was introduced, according to which the election of teachers was canceled – since then they have been appointed by the metropolitan personally. He donated 144 of his own books to the academic library. He also took care of the financial situation of the Kyiv-Bratsk monastery, the construction of a stone monastery bell tower on the place of a wooden one in 1756.

Metropolitan Tymofii (Shcherbatskyi) continued and completed the construction work of his predecessor Raphail (Zaborovskyi): the creation of an iconostasis with a magnificent Holy Gate in St. Sophia Cathedral, the reconstruction of St. Sophia Bell Tower, the completion of the Metropolitan’s House, with gardens laid beside. A huge house of monastic cells was built, which later housed Bursa. He enriched the cathedral sacristy with utensils, decorated the icons of Sophia with silver gilded robes, mostly at his own expense.

Due to his health condition, he asked to be released to the Vydubychi monastery, but instead was transferred by the decree of Empress Elizabeth in October 1757 to be the head of the Moscow metropolitanate. From 1764 he was called Metropolitan of Moscow and Kaluga. On January 5, 1767, he was released.

He died on April 18, 1767, buried in the Chudov Monastery in Moscow.

Out of special respect for the memory of the deceased, Empress Catherine II ordered to hold funeral service for metropolitan Timofii not according to the monastic, but according to the priestly rite, which was traditional only for patriarchs. Since then, a decree has been issued to hold priestly burials for all bishops, archbishops, exarchs and metropolitans.