Yevhenii Bolkhovitinov (secular name – Yevfymii Oleksiiovych Bolkhovitinov)

Yevhenii Bolkhovitinov (secular name – Yevfymii Oleksiiovych Bolkhovitinov)

Yevhenii Bolkhovitinov (secular name – Yevfymii Oleksiiovych Bolkhovitinov) was born on December 18 (29), 1767 in Voronezh, in the family of the priest of the local Entry-Jerusalem Church. At the age of nine, he was orphaned. After graduating from Voronezh Seminary, in 1785-89 he studied at the Moscow Slavic Greek Latin Academy and at the same time attended lectures at Moscow University.

From 1789 to 1799 he taught church history at the Voronezh Theological Seminary, was its prefect, and served as rector. In March 1796 he was ordained archpriest of Pavlovsk.

In 1799, having lost his family, he moved to St. Petersburg, where in early 1800 he was tonsured in the Olexander Nevsky Lavra. In 1800–1803 he was a teacher and prefect of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, abbot of the Holy Trinity Zelenets Monastery, and The Coastal Monastery of St. Sergius. In January 1804 he was ordained bishop of Old Rus’, vicar of Novgorod. In 1808 he was appointed to the independent Vologda cathedra. The next places of service were Kaluga (1813) and Pskov (1816).

On January 22, 1822, by the decree of Emperor Olexander I, he was appointed metropolitan of Kyiv and Halych, Holy Archimandrite of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra. In Kyiv, bishop Yevhenii proved to be an excellent church administrator: he took care of the construction of new churches and the restoration of old ones, supervised the level of education of priests, helped orphans, renewed church libraries and organized parish and monastery archives. He paid considerable attention to the printing house of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra, which during his leadership of the Diocese was considered to be one of the best in the empire.

One of the main activities of metropolitan Yevhenii was the development of theological schools, in particular the Kyiv Theological Academy. Under him, the Academy regained the importance of the center of Orthodox scholarship. He personally designed the curriculum, introduced new courses and subjects, invited the prominent theologian Innokentii (Borysov) to the position of rector. Metropolitan Yevhenii always combined spiritual mentoring and organizational efforts with concern for the material support and life of the academy. He became a co-founder of the Evgenii-Rumyantsev Prize, which was awarded to talented students.

Church activity of metropolitan Yevhenii was honored with state awards: the 1st class Order of St. Anna (1805), the 2nd class Order of St. Volodymyr (1814), the Order of St. Olexander Nevsky (1823), the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle (1826).

Metropolitan Yevhenii of Kyiv and Halych entered the history of national science and culture as an outstanding scientist, historian, archaeologist, archeographer, bibliographer and educator. Contemporaries rightly called him a “living archive”, a “living library”. His scientific activity contributed to the emergence and development of such areas in the field of general sciences as bibliography, paleography, onomastics, toponymy, historiography, local lore. He was the owner of one of the largest book collections in the country, which numbered almost 13 thousand titles of manuscripts and 8.5 thousand printed publications.

During his long and fruitful life, metropolitan Yevhenii wrote and published about 100 publications: books, brochures, monographs, reference books and guides. While still a teacher at the Voronezh seminary, he began work on the fundamental “Russian history”, which was never completed.

One of the most famous works of the metropolitan and scientist is the Dictionary of Russian Writers, which collects materials about the life and literary activity of about 720 native figures of science, culture and education of the sixteenth-nineteenth centuries, both spiritual and secular.

During his stay in Kyiv, metropolitan Yevhenii collected and studied a collection of unique chronicles and acts that formed the basis of his thorough research: “Description of the Kyiv-Sophia Cathedral and the Kyiv Hierarchy” (1825) and “Description of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra” (1826, 1831). These monographs were the first attempt of a historical-archaeological and iconographic description of old Rus’ temples and to this day constitute the golden fund of national church-historical science.

Together with historian M. Berlynskyi and amateur archaeologist K. Lokhvytskyi, Metropolitan Yevhenii became one of the founders of national archeology and monument history: he led the excavations of old Rus’ monuments in Kyiv – the Church of the Tithes, the Golden Gate, the Irynynska Church and others.

The bishop took part in the establishment and activity of the Temporary Committee for the Study of Antiquities in Kyiv, the first scientific society in the city.

Metropolitan Yevhenii had friendly relations with many representatives of science, literature and art, he corresponded with prominent scientists. His name is associated with the founding of St. Volodymyr’s University in Kyiv and the Rumyantsev Museum in St. Petersburg, he was a full member of the Academy of Sciences, a full and honorary member of more than 20 Russian and foreign universities and scientific societies.

Bishop Yevhenii died on February 23, 1837, and was buried in the northern gallery of St. Sophia Cathedral.