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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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Nicholas Zharkikh

What conclusions can be drawn from our rather long walk through the pages of the Pechersky Synodikon (PS)?

1. The PS, not being a historical source in the narrow sense of the word (there are no reports of historical events), is of considerable interest to the social and everyday history of the late 15th – early 16th centuries.

2. The PS is entirely written in Kiev, in the Pechersky (Cave) Monastery. It consists of a small retrospective (historical) part (preface, sections 1 – 5), the main part that contains the current records (sections 6 – 415) and a small epilogue (sections 415 – 416).

3. The written sources used in the compilation of the PS are not numerous. This is primarily the "Synodikon of Prince Constantine Ostrozky", compiled separately and inscribed in the PS with some errors as section 373. Also used is the chart of Semen from Kolky in 1398 (section 57). Perhaps as a separate document there was a record of the family of Prince Dmitry Putyatich (section 88).

4. The main part of the PS was written consistently, year after year, in 1483 – 1530 years. Epilogue was written in the 1530s – early 1540s. Due to the chronological designation in the text, you can roughly set the time of writing each section.

5. The geography of the records of the PS covers almost the whole territory of the then Grand Duchy of Lithuania (72 % of mentions), among which the greatest contribution was given by Kyiv region and Volyn. About 26 % of the mentions refer to the territory of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. The transition of a part of the lands (Siversk region, Smolensk, the lands of the upper Oka) to the power of Moscow in the early 16th century did not affect the traditional ties of these lands with the Pechersky Monastery.

6. Of the 14 316 names that I counted in the PS, 12 549 names, or 88 %, belonging to persons without titles and without definitions. Most of these names belong to representatives of the working masses – the basis of society. Men among them – 63 %, women – 37 %.

7. A few mentions of the profession or social status of individuals make it possible to single out petty bourgeoises, landowners (gentry, who have not yet formed a separate class), officials and gentlemen. The text mentions the names of 12 scribes who wrote the synodikon, which greatly enriches our knowledge of the writing of the time under consideration.

8. There are 769 princes, princesses and prince’s daughters recorded in the PS. Only 19 % of them can be associated with some probability with persons known from other sources. 81% (622 princely name) are known to us exclusively from the PS and can not be explained. It must be assumed that about the bulk of these persons are local self-proclaimed princely families; only a small part of them managed to consolidate their princely status with recognition by the government and fixation in written documents.

9. The depth of the historical memory of the genera recorded in the PS, which we can trace mainly behind the princely genus, is small and is about 25 years. Only a few cases mentioned persons of the mid-14th century, and memory reaches 150 years. There is no mention of the princes of the first half of the 14th century or more ancient time in the PS.

10. The (mainly) lack of instructions to parents and other family ties leads to the fact that we can not extract from the PS something useful for the genealogy of even princely families. Cases when available data in the PS allow us to confidently establish the genealogical position of the recorded person, there are literally few ones.

11. It should be noted that the number of records of princes decreases from the beginning of the synodikon to its end, while the number of clerics is growing.

12. About 1000 names of clergymen are mentioned in the PS, of which 10 % belong to the white (secular) clergy. Among the latter, priests are most often mentioned, references to representatives of the lower clergy are extremely rare.

13. 90 % of clergy are monks and nuns. Men among them – 64 %, women – 36 %, which almost coincides with the distribution of untitled names. Oddly enough, the PS does not contain any full information about the archimandrites of the Pechersky Monastery, the memorial records of bishops and metropolitans look just as random (there are no mentions of the patriarchs at all, except for the 3 random names of patriarchs of the 14th century in the retrospective part).

14. Considering the composition of representatives of the social upper classes recorded in the PS, it can be concluded that these persons were entered only when relatives took care of this. The Pechersk monks, it seems, did not enter anyone on their own initiative, and therefore the synodikon has a provincial and not a general state character.

15. Pechersky Synodikon is the most early synodikon of all the known in Eastern Europe. It is independent of earlier written sources and acts as one of the few early written monuments created in Kiev.