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Unknown sources on the stay of Ukrainian St Job (Ezekiel) Kniahynytsky in the Vatopedi Monastery of Mount Athos discovered

Previously unknown archival sources that shed light on the life and work of the founder of the Maniava Skete in Subcarpathia, a prominent Ukrainian ascetic, church and cultural figure, and St Job (Ezekiel) Kniahynytsky (circa 1550-1621), were discovered and published by Ukrainian historian and director of the International Institute of Athonite Legacy Dr Serhii Shumylo.

In particular, the discovered documents relate to the least studied Athonite period of the biography of St Job Kniahynytsky. According to Serhiy Shumylo, as part of the search for Athonite sources of Ukrainian historical and cultural heritage, documents were discovered and put into scientific circulation on the case of the arrival from the territory of the Rzeczpospolita of a delegation of the Athonite Vatopedi Monastery in 1592, consisting of the ecclesiarch and elder Gerasimus and the monks Ezekiel and Joanikiy. According to him, based on an analysis of the entries in these documents, as well as an analysis of the 1596 marks in the handwritten Slavonic Gospel-tetra from the library of the Vatopedi Monastery of Athos, it was established that the Vatopedi monk Ezekiel mentioned in them is the same Ukrainian Ezekiel Kniahynytskyi, who later took the monastic vows of Job and contributed to the foundation of the Maniava Skete, as well as to the revival and reform of Orthodox monasticism in the western Ukrainian lands.

The discovered document attests to the historical ties between the ancient Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos and Ukrainian monasticism, and also confirms the authenticity of the record in the life of St Job Kniahynytsky, written after his death by his disciple Ignatii from Liubariv. 

According to Serhii Shumylo, an analysis of the entries in these documents, as well as the notes in the late 16th-century manuscript Slavonic Gospel-tetra, which is kept in the library of Vatopedi, allows us to more accurately date the time of St Job Kniahynytskyi’s stay in the Vatopedi monastery. According to the historian, this is an important clarification and addition to the biography of the ascetic and the history of Ukrainian-Athonite relations. “Apparently, at the end of the 16th century, a group of Ukrainian monks-scribes operated at the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos. Later, the Vatopedi Monastery established closer ties and contacts with the Ukrainian Orthodox monasticism and the Cossacks,” the researcher says.

As you know, Saint Job (Ezekiel) Kniahynytsky (circa 1550-1621) was an outstanding Ukrainian ascetic and church and cultural figure of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. He was a monk of the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, where he was engaged in copying books and also participated in official monastic delegations to various countries. Later, in 1606, together with St John Vyshensky, he founded the Maniava Skete in the Carpathian region of Ukraine, and contributed to the revival and reform of Orthodox monasticism and the traditions of Hesychasm in the western Ukrainian lands. Since then, the Maniava Skete in the Carpathians has sometimes been called the “new Vatopedi” or “Ukrainian Athos”. Today it is a monastery under the jurisdiction of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU).

For more information about the research on the Athonite period of the life of St Job of Kniahynytskyi, please follow the link:

Шумило, С. В. Невідоме джерело щодо участі прп. Іова (Ієзекиїля) Княгиницького в посольстві афонського Ватопедського монастиря 1592 року // Наукові записки НаУКМА. Історичні науки. 2023. № 6. С. 110–117. URL: http://nrph.ukma.edu.ua/article/view/291654/285035

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