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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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Fabulous "first Metropolitan of Kiev" Michael

Nicholas Zharkikh

Shortened text of the article.
Full text in ukrainian version.

Michael – The mythical "first Russian Metropolitan," which allegedly led the Russian Church after the baptism of Rus by Prince Vladimir Svyatoslavich in 988.


Formation a church management system in Russia after the act of baptism (988) was slow and difficult. Ancient "Story of times and years" (1116) for the time of the prince Vladimir knows only one cleric – Anastas from Korsun, a priest of the Church of the Tithes. The first mention of the indisputable Metropolitan (Feopemt) refers to 1039, ie more than 50 years after the baptism.

"Sermon on Law and Grace" Hilarion (written between 1037 and 1050). "Story of times and years" (1116). Short life of Vladimir (consisting of a prologue on July 15), known in the copies not earlier than 1 half 14 cent. Mentions memory prince Vladimir at June 15 in calendars (since 14 cent.). "Remembrance and praise of Prince Vladimir" (by Jacob Mnich? From 2 half 11 cent. to early 13 cent.). Abundant (normal) life of the prince Vladimir (approximately dates from the late 13th – early 14th cent.).


"The church charter of Prince Vladimir" (dated to different researchers from 12 to 14 cent., copies 14 – 18 cent.). Later chronicles (15th – 16th cent.). Lists of metropolitans, attached to various chronicles (15th – 16th cent.). Seven stages of formation of the legend of Michael.


Bishop Ambrose (Ornatski) (1807). Nikolai Karamzin (1816). Metropolitan Eugene (Bolkhovitinov) (1825). Metropolitan Macarius (Bulgakov) (1846). Sergei Soloviev (1851). Eugene Golubinsky (1880). Peter Lebedintsev (1896). Alexei Pavlov (1896). Mykhajlo Hrushevsky (1904). Ivan Ogienko (1942). Ivan Vlasovski (1955). Anton Kartashov (1959). Mykhajlo Braichevsky (1988). Andrzej Poppe (1989). Matthew Stakhiv (1993). Jaroslav Zatylyuk (2014)

Reference books

Pavel Stroyev (1877). Dmitry Blazheyovsky (1996). Russian "" (as of May 2016).


1. There is no reason to doubt that the first Metropolitan of Kiev was Feopemt mentioned in 1039.

2. Conspiracy theories about the "Byzantine censorship", which supposedly erased references to the old metropolitans, are the result of the transfer of modern circumstances and the views in the distant past and can not be taken into account.

3. The name of "the first Metropolitan Leon" was coined in Novgorod in the 14th century and from there spread to the script.

4. The name of "the first Metropolitan Michael" was coined, apparently, in Moscow in the early 15th century and also distributed in writing along with the name of Leon.

5. Crucial for fixation Michael as "the first Metropolitan" was senior version of Nikon Chronicle (1520). Her story was spreaded by "Stepennaja kniga (Book of Degrees)" (1560), which to this day defines the views on this subject.

6. Historiography, and behind it guides, mostly followed by the version "Stepennaja kniga (Book of Degrees)" instead declare all metropolitans to Feopemt fabulous.

Kyiv, May 2016.

Full text of article – in the Ukrainian version.