For their part, Ipatii Potii, Kyryl Terletsky and other members of the Orthodox hierarchy looked to a reunion of Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches as the best way to defend their tradition. The ideal of reunifying the Body of Christ had wide appeal in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, especially after the ill-fated union of Florence of L439, under which the eastern Orthodox churches would have retained their own liturgy in return for recognition of papal primacy. In Poland-Lithuania in the late sixteenth century, the lay leaders of Orthodoxy shared with the bishops the vision of a unified Christendom. The devil, however, lay in the details. For the laity, only union of all branches of Orthodoxy with Rome was acceptable. Potii and his colleagues, however, were open to a more limited union under which the Orthodox in the commonwealth would unilaterally recognise the primacy of Rome. In addition to the ideal of a reunited Christendom, the bishops had a more practical reason for promoting the union: it held out the prospect of strengthening episcopal authority over parish priests and the laity, a central tenet of the Catholic Reformation. In i596, after complex negotiations and under pressure from the king's government, all but two members of the hierarchy accepted the union of Brest, recognising the supremacy of the pope while retaining the Orthodox liturgy in Slavonic.
From the outset, many Orthodox believers, particularly the brotherhoods, the nobles and the monasteries, rejected the union. The opposition began to coalesce in Brest itself where two councils of the Orthodox met simultaneously - one to ratify the union, the other to denounce it. The two groups soon became competing churches - the eastern Orthodox, loyal to the patriarch of Constantinople, and the Uniate Church. In the seventeenth century, their fortunes waxed and waned. At first, the Uniates seem to have held the stronger position. Most of the hierarchy accepted the union, as did their parish priests: within a few years, the anti-union Orthodox hierarchy had been reduced to a single bishop. Moreover, the most distinguished early leader of the Uniate Church, Metropolitan Iosyf Veliamyn Rutsky (i6i3-37), thoroughly reformed the monasteries under his jurisdiction and established the Basilian order to staff a system of schools housed in them. At the same time, the Uniates faced resistance from all sides. The Roman Catholic hierarchy treated its leaders with contempt and unsuccessfully pressed the Holy See to abolish it to clear the way for Catholic missionary activity/ And, in the early decades of the i S. Plokhy, The Cossacks and religion in early modern Ukraine (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2ooi), 65-93; B. A. Gudziak, Crisis and reform: the Kyivan metropolitanate, the patriarchate of Constantinople, and the genesis of the Union of Brest (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, i998).
seventeenth century, the opponents of the union led a remarkable recovery of Orthodoxy in Ukraine.
At the end of the sixteenth century, the status of the Orthodox Church in Russia also changed significantly. In 1589, while visiting the Russian capital in search of alms, Patriarch Jeremias II of Constantinople agreed, under extreme pressure, to the creation of the patriarchate of Moscow, and in 1590 and 1593 the other Orthodox patriarchs accepted the fait accompli. This symbolic act epitomised the changing relationshipbetween the Greek and Russian branches of Orthodoxy. The Muscovite church had, in practice, been autocephalous since the election of Metropolitan Iona in 1448. Yet, even after 1589, the Greeks who came to Moscow for alms remained convinced that the Greek 'mother-church' was still the ultimate arbiter of eastern Orthodox belief and practice. For their part, the leaders of the Muscovite government and church were acutely aware of the fact that, after the fall of Byzantium in 1453, the tsardom was the only major Orthodox state left on earth and thus primary guardian of true Christianity.
Shortly thereafter, Muscovite Russia endured the Time of Troubles (15981613), a devastating political and social crisis made worse by the invasion of Polish and Swedish armies. These experiences shaped the later history of the Muscovite church in two important ways. First, Russia's sufferings undermined the conviction that, as the last Orthodox realm on earth, Muscovy enjoyed God's special blessing. Second, the Troubles emphasised the potential role of the Russian patriarch as leader in revitalising the community. However accurately, tradition holds that Patriarch Hermogen (1606-12) sent out pastoral appeals urging Russians to hold fast to the native tradition of Orthodoxy, reject all compromise with foreigners, and give their lives to restore the tsardom. Hermogen's three most powerful seventeenth-century successors - Filaret (1619-34), Nikon (1652 to 1658/66) and Ioakim (1674-90) - all followed his lead in using their office to impose their convictions and agendas on the church.
While Muscovy suffered, the fortunes of the Orthodox in Ukraine steadily improved, thanks in large measure to the emergence of the Zaporozhian Cossacks as a powerful military and political force. In the confessional struggles in the commonwealth, the Cossacks consistently defended Orthodoxy against all comers. The first important breakthrough tookplace in 1620. Taking advantage of the arrival in Ukraine of Patriarch Theophanes of Jerusalem, the Cossack leader, Hetman Petro Sahaidachny, and representatives ofthe Orthodox clergy proposed the re-establishment of an Orthodox hierarchy, a step made necessary by the fact that virtually all episcopal sees that had once been Orthodox were now occupied by Uniates. Accordingly, the Patriarch consecrated a new
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