Varlaam Vanatovych (secular name – Vasylii)

Varlaam Vanatovych (secular name – Vasylii)

Varlaam Vanatovych (secular name – Vasylii) was born in Yaroslavl (Galicia, now – the Republic of Poland) in a burgher family, probably around 1680. He studied at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, around 1702 he moved to the Moscow Slavic Greek Latin Academy. After graduation he took the monastic vows in the Tykhvin Assumption Monastery of the Novgorod Diocese (Eparchy). In 1718 he was appointed to naval hieromonk, in 1719 he was ordained deprivearchimandrite of the Tykhvin Assumption Monastery.

In 1722 he was ordained an archbishop of Kyiv, Galicia and all Rus’ Minor. On October 29 of the same year, he arrived in Kyiv, where there had been no archpastor for four years.

In this position he defended the independence of the Ukrainian church, took care of the reconstruction of churches, the spread of education, the development of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. On October 1 (12), 1727, in Hlukhiv, he took part in the election of Danylo Apostle as hetman.

Varlaam Vanatovych petitioned for the return of the Kyiv Diocese to the status of a metropolitanate (which it was deprived of in 1721 due to the establishment of the Synod). However, these actions were unsuccessful. He tried to exempt eparchial priests and church subjects from taxes and subordination to the hetman’s court, and even came into conflict with Daniel Apostle. At the same time, the hetman supported His Grace request to resume funding for the Kyiv Academy from the General Treasury Chancellery. He also provided significant assistance to the Academy in the construction of brick buildings, including the congregational church and the bursa.

Archbishop Varlaam supported Kyiv monasteries in lawsuits against the magistrate for land ownership. Dissatisfied with this position, Kyiv prefect Dmytro Polotsky, using the fact of misunderstanding related to the proclamation of a manifesto to hold a prayer service in honor of Anna Ioanivna’s accession to the Russian throne, made a denunciation against him. On August 2, 1730, His Grace, together with all the members of the Consistory and the cathedral clerk, were summoned to Moscow and brought to court of the Secret Chancery. According to the results of the judicial investigation, archbishop Varlaam was deprived of the archiereus rank and priesthood and exiled for life to the St. Cyril-Belozersky Monastery of the Novgorod Diocese, where he served ten years. Only in October 1744 the next Empress Elizabeth granted pardon to the archpastor and restored his rank.

Under Varlaam (Vanatovych), a brick refectory with a church in the name of the Righteous Lazarus was built on the territory of the Kyiv-Sophia Monastery. Near Kyiv, on Shulyavka, in the estates of the archiereus house, archbishop Varlaam erected wooden archimandrite chambers and planted a birch grove. In poor health, he lived mostly in his own country residence.

He spent the last years of his life in the Tykhvin Assumption Monastery, having taken monastic vows. He died in 1752 and was buried in the Tykhvin Monastery.