POLES IN KIEV

 

I. KIEVAN RUS TIMES FROM ITS ORIGIN
 

II. KIEV REVIVAL AFTER TATAR INVASIONS
(Lithuanian period and the rise of the Roman Catholic bishopric of Kiev).


III. REPUBLIC TIMES AND THE RISE OF KIEV VOIVODESHIP IN LESSER POLAND

IV. KIEV RUINED BY CHMIELNICKI AND ATTEMPTS OF RENEWAL

V. KIEV IN THE COMPOSITION OF RUSSIAN EMPIRE

VI. KIEV - THE BOLSHEVIK-COMMUNIST TIMES

VII. MODERN TIMES

 

   Kiev - the capital of Ukraine, her heart and pride. The City - a history which spans more than 1,500 years. The capital of Kievan Rus during which Polish Catholics were present almost from the beginning. They were and are part of the history of this city, part of its splendor and prosperity ... part of its failures and ruin. Poles died together along with Kiev - and together with her, were reborn. They never stood on the sidelines of its history, quite the opposite. They loved this city, defended it from destruction, and created it. Unfortunately, the history of the city and the whole of Ukraine often is not the truth, which the political powers depend on - and thus is prescribed under the prevailing ideology.
   Kiev was one of the most important centers of Polish culture in the former eastern territories of pre-partitioned Poland. Poles there were social and intellectual elite. Jozef Ignacy Kraszewski described his trip to Kiev in the second half of the nineteenth century thus: "In the streets ... Polish language can be heard every moment, in all the stores, shops, hotels, restaurants ...; Polish bookstores here are huge; the theater, though arrived in the middle of summer, made good business; a lot of Polish companies ...; through work and prudence, thanks to prosperity and solidarity, we will be a major element of the city." (http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kijów#Polacy_w_Kijowie).

  contents

I KIEVAN RUS TIMES FROM ITS ORIGIN

    Poles in Kiev were present since its inception. Legend says that Kiev was founded by the Polish Grand Duke Kiev. Nestor, in his book "Tale of Bygone Years," says the Poles on the Dnieper and the Vistula Rivers originate from the same Danubian Slavs (Nestor's chronicle [in] August Bielowski Monumenta Historica Poloniae Lviv 1864 , p 553). On the other hand, Safarzyk believes that the Dnieper Poles probably came from the Polish Kujaws: "The Poles over which Kiev ruled, were newcomers from the Vistula, who settled by the Dniper. This population, coming to new dwellings, brought with them their favorite local names from their homeland: Kiev, Kijowiec, Kijewice, and so forth " (Geographical Dictionary of Polish Kingdom and other Slavic countries. T. 4, Warsaw : an overlay .Sulimierskiego Philip and Wladyslaw Walewski, 1880 -1914, Warsaw 1883 , p.62). In these names, according to some researchers, have survived traces of commonality of these two strains: Polish from the Vistula and Rusian from the Dnieper.
   Thanks to the very convenient geographical location of Kiev, from the beginning it was an important trading center, so merchants from neighboring countries came and settled here - including Poles. Already in the early Middle Ages, in Kiev there was a Polish mercantile municipality - Lacka (ie Poland) Sloboda (Tadeusz M. Trajdos, the Catholic Church in the Rusenian and Lithuanian lands of the Crown  during the reign of Vladislav II Jagiello, 1386-1434, 1982). Poles were also present at the courts of princes. Around 1008, prince of Kiev Vladimir married his son Światopełk to a Polish princess, daughter of Boleslaw Chrobry. "Boleslaw, after escorting his daughter to Kiev, appointed Rejbern, a Bishop from Kolobrzeg,  and upon arriving, rooted out paganism and began sewing the seeds of faith of Christ in those parts" (Geographical Dictionary ... page 65). Besides clergy, the princess was accompanied by a full estate staff.
   So the Poles and the Christians of the Latin rite were an ordinary phenomenon among the Rus duke towns. Before the arrival of Bishop Rejnberna to Kiev, there visited another German missionary-apostle. He was a Saint. Bruno, merseburski bishop - he was sent by the Pope to Kiev for conversion of the gentiles. Vladimir kept him in his capital a whole month, and then he personally escorted him to the borders of the Rus land. Bruno went to the Pechenegs, where he baptized 30 of the Gentiles, and made a covenant with the Pechenegs which was very beneficial and convenient for the Duke of Kiev, then he returned to Kiev, where he devoted to the bishopric of one of his companions (Geographical Dictionary ... page 65).
   After the death of Vladimir, his son, Świętopełk, fleeing from Jaroslaw, took refuge in Poland with his father in law - Boleslaw Chrobry, who brought him back to Kiev. According to the legend of "The Chronicles of Greater Poland": "when Boleslaw Chrobry rode to Kiev, through the Golden gate; in customary chivalrous fasion - slashed his sword and left a mark of his solemn gain." (However, this story can not be true, because the Golden Gate in Kiev did not exist yet, it was established in 1037) (Geographical Dictionary ... page 65).
   Swiatopelk's governance didn't last long, Jaroslaw conquered him by the River Alta and again took Kiev. His younger sister - Dobroniegę (at baptism received the name Maria) was married to the Polish king Kazimierz Odnowiciel. Dobroniega became the mother of Polish King Boleslaw Smiały. However, Jaroslaw Madry -  in 1032, took over the Polish Red Cities and settled the Polish population within his nation.. "Year 6540 [1032]. Yaroslav and Mstislav (Jarisleifr and Harald) gathered numerous warriors, went to the Lachs and took over the Polish Red Cities again, and ravaged the Lach's land, brought them back, and devided them. Jaroslaw settled his people by Rus, and they are here to this day" ("Tale of past years", Henry Stronski, long time ago, the Poles in Ukraine).
   As some researchers suppose - some of the population abducted by Jaroslaw settled in Kiev, and confirmation of this is the Lach Gate(medieval entrance gate to the Yaroslav castle in Kiev), the name of which can come from the early medieval mercantile district located in Padole, but also refers to the population of Lachs deposited by Jaroslaw Madry in the basin of the Dnieper and Rus (Ipatean codex, [in:] Połnoje sobranije russkich letopisiej, T. 2, p 427). In medieval Polish dictionaries the adjective "lach" was treated in Russia as a synonym for the determination of both Lachs (Polish), and followers of the Latin church in general.
   Lach Gate was one of the three gates of the castle built by Yaroslav Madry. The gate was first mentioned in Hipathian codex in 1151, the codex states that it was burned down during a fire in January 1124. In that year, the Jewish, Hungarian, and Golden gates were also destroyed (http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lacka_Brama_w_Kijowie # cite_note-12). Halfway between the Lach and Golden gate was one-quarter of the Polish/Lach municipalities merchants.
   From the twelfth century, we come to expect a constant presence of Polish merchants in Kiev. From the end of the twelfth century, there is news of the colony "wicked Lachs" in Kiev. These phrases from the codex are undoubtedly connected to the existence of a colony of Wroclawian merchants in Kiev, which is of course tied to commercial activities, but also with the marriage of Boleslaw Wysoki and duchess Wierzchoslawa - daughter of Prince Vsevolod Jarosławowicz. . Townspeople from Wroclaw often visited Kiev, and shortly after the Mongol invasion, Carpini met them there when he returned from Mongolia.
   In the thirteenth century, a Polish colony of merchants in Kiev could have some importance. In the first half of the thirteenth century, at the Lach gate there will be erected a  wooden church and convent, in the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Initially to the care of the Benedictines from the Scottish Abbey in Vienna, and later to the Dominicans (Władysław Abraham. Organization of the Church in Poland to mid-twelfth century. 1962). At this monastery was also housed the school founded by Saint Jacek for the Latin Catholics.
   We read in the Geographical Dictionary of the Polish Kingdom and other Slavic countries in 1883 that "the reign of Vladimir Rurykowicz was memorable, because then came to Kiev from Krakow St. Jacek Odrowąż, a Dominican with three companions: Godyń, Florian and Benedict. The prince of Kiev gave a square at Blonie, where St. Jacek built a church and monastery for his congregation. Also, a pious matron and property owner wrote over her riches and wealth to that assembly. Kiev, because it was inhabited by the so-called "Guests", ie, foreign merchants, was comprised of many Catholics. (Geographical Dictionary ... page 65).
   St. Jacek arrived in Kiev in 1228 and had to flee the Mongolian onslaught in 1240. Legend of saint Jacek, which is preserved in folk memory, speaks about his popularity among the inhabitants of Kiev. One legend tells of the exorcism of a women's evil spirits in one of the neighborhoods of Kiev, another tells of his miraculous rescue of the figure of Mary, who 'asked' that Jacek not leave her behind when he was fleeing from tatars. When the Dominican took the figure of the Virgin Mary, it suddenly become incredibly light. He moved the figure to Krakow, where it regained the initial weight. Another legend says that during the famine in the Tatar invasions, he had to feed the poor homemade dumplings. Therefore, he was given the nickname "Saint Jacek with dumplings" (pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/jacek_Odrowąż#Legendy_o_.C5.9Bwi.C4.99tym_Jacku). 

  contents

II. KIEV REVIVAL AFTER TATAR INVASIONS
(Lithuanian period and the rise of the Roman Catholic bishopric of Kiev).

   After the destruction by Batu Khan, all that remained of Kiev was rubble and ashes. The small population who had taken refuge in the surrounding woods was afraid to go back to the "barren mountain." However, the devastated Kiev slowly revived, though in 1352 in Europe, the plague known as the "black death" devastated most of the inhabitants of Kiev.
   After the Tatars, Kiev became an inheritance without any benefactors. (Geographical Dictionary ... s.74). In 1363 the Grand Duke of Lithuania - Olgierd - defeated the Tatars and took Kiev. Vladimir, son of Olgierd became the ruler of Kiev. Under Vladimir, Kiev prospered and the population increased. Eastern commerce once again began to grow, and Kiev began rebuilding. In this part of the city on the so-called "Rye Market", at the bottom of the Castle Hill was built the Dominican monastery. "Vladimir aided the Dominicans by privileging them the location" (Geographical Dictionary ... p.74).
   Decades before, the Kiev Poles and Catholics began to request that a Pastor be named; and in 1320 the  Lubusk and Rus bishop, Stefan II, having the privilege to appoint bishops, on December 15, 1320 ordained as bishop:  Fr. Henry from the Kamien Diocese of  in Pomerania; who became the first missionary bishop of Kiev (Білоусов Ю. Римсько-католицька Київсько-Житомирська єпархія. Історичний нарис, Житомир, 2000). The next missionary bishops of Kiev were Dominicans. After Henry - Jacob (before 1371), Nicholas (before 1383) and Borzysław.
   The first diocesan bishop of Kiev was Andrew, in 1397. Before 1405, the Grand Duke of Lithuania and the Polish king Wladyslaw Jagiello endowed the bishopric, and built the Latin Cathedral in Kiev  (http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diecezja_kijowska). Before there was a Catholic cathedral in Kiev, the bishops lived at the Dominican's (Geographical Dictionary ... pp. 75). If up till that point the title of Bishop of Kiev was nominal, it had since developed legal and economic conditions, so in Kiev functioned a fully-fledged structure of the church with the current bishop. In 1410 the Bishop of Kiev was a Dominican: Michael Trestka, who organized religious life in the diocese, and renewed pastoral activities, in 1411 on the hill called Kisielówka - he expanded and restored  the wooden church of st. Nicholas.
   At this time was established the residence of the bishops. In 1416, Kiev unfortunately once again was destroyed by the Tatars; and in 1430 began a civil war between Świdergiełło, who stood by the Rus system, and prince Zygmunt, who was supported by Lithuania and the Polish army. In 1434 a rebellion broke out in Kiev against Świedergiello which he brutally suppressed. Under such conditions, having a bishop in Kiev was impossible (Білоусов Ю. Римсько-католицька ...).
   In 1437, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, Swidrygiello, in connection with the loss of all the lands, surrendered to the Polish Crown and came to Krakow to pay homage to the land of Volyn and Kiev, and vowed together with his team and guardians of castles (including Jurasz of Kiev, the guardian of the  Kiev castle), that they will be faithful to the King and the Crown of Poland, and that after his passing, they will have no master other than the Polish King (Geographical Dictionary ... pp. 75).
   The next Latin bishop wasn't able to settle in Kiev till 1451, and was the Bishop Klemens, who began the spiritual rebirth and probably built a new church, but there are no documents which confirm this for sure (Білоусов Ю. Римсько-католицька ...).

  contents

III TIMES OF THE FIRST REPUBLIC AND RISE OF THE KIEV VOIVODESHIP IN LESSER POLAND

   In 1471, King Kazimierz made Kiev a voivodeship. From then on, the Kiev Dukes were not bloodlines, but were provincial governors on behalf of the Polish king. From 1471 until 1772 Kiev region was one of the 11 voivodeships representing Lesser Poland. (Although in 1686 under the Treaty of Grzymułtowski - the city officially was awarded to Russia; despite this, according to the state records, the Kiev Voivodeship existed to the end of the First Republic. Its capital was Zytomierz(because the Russians took over Kiev). Until the mid-seventeenth century the voivodeship consisted of three districts: Kiev, Owruck and Zytomierz (Geographical Dictionary ... pp. 75).
   The first voivode of Kiev, Gasztold, together with the bishop of Kiev, founded research centers, in which the Genoese, taking refuge in Kiev after the Turk conquest of Kaffa (in 1445), took to learning Latin, Greek and other subjects (Geographical Dictionary ... s .75).
   In 1482, Medligerej han burned down Kiev, cut out the inhabitants, by treachery won the castle, and took Voivode Jan Chodkiewicz together with his family captive. Vessels of gold looted from the burned church he sent his ally, The Grand Duke of Moscow. The next voivode of Kiev, Bohdan Andrzejowicz, sent by King Kazimierz, brought 40,000 troops to defend the city from the Tartars. By order of the king, he repaired and rebuilt the ruined castle. Son of Polish King Zygmund Jagiellonczyk - Aleksander Jagiеllończyk - in 1494 granted Magdeburg rights for Kiev, and thanks to King Zygmund Stary I  "the city received a coat of arms on the seal of the city, and in 1513 also granted many privileges to the townspeople -  the churches and monasteries were also not forgotten. Pieczarski Monestary he bestowed with freedoms" (Geographical Dictionary ... pp. 75).
   The period from 1450 to 1586 was very painful in the history of Kiev, during this time the city was ravaged and plundered by the Tartars 86 times, and in 1522 the Moscow prince took Czernihov, and life in Kiev resembled conditions of martial law, which made it very difficult for functioning of the structures of the church. Withstanding these difficult times, the city was reborn and rebuilt. Catholics in the city were taken care of by the Dominicans or Franciscans (Білоусов Ю. Римсько-католицька ...).
   In 1569, as a result of the Union of Lublin, the Latin Bishop of Kiev had a seat in the Senate. In contrast, the city became the official venue of the annual meetings, or assemblies. King Zygmunt Augustus generously bestowed local townspeople  with freedoms as evidenced by numerous privileges. Trade flourished, and many memoirs of that time mention the wealth of Kiev (Geographical Dictionary ... S.79). The connection to the Polish Crown allowed the restoration of trade ties with the countries of Western Europe:  Crimean Khanate, Turkey, Iran, as merchants trading in Kiev were shielded by imunity thanks to the Polish king (Z.J Peszkowski, Kiev, Bykivnia, Lodz-Warsaw-Orchard Lake, 1999, p 16).
   In 1592 Joseph Wereszczyński was ordained bishop of Kiev - a Polish political writer, polemicist, moralist and preacher. In 1593, the new pastor came to Kiev. He was known for his anti-Tatar position, which is why the Crimean Khan wanted to kill him, and on the way to Kiev, arranged an ambush from which he was rescued by the Cossacks, who respected him because in their disputes with the princes he always testified for them and took their interests into account (Geographical Dictionary ... s.80). When, in 1595 the Cossacks sailed to Kiev, great fear fell because the Cossacks had often plundered the city, so the nobles and townspeople begged bishop Wereszczyński and prince Rużyńskiego  to try and somehow talk them out of it. The Bishop managed to settle with the Cossacks and peace was saved (Geographical Dictionary ... s.80).
   Bishop Wereszczyński arrived to Kiev and built a new wooden church of St . John the Baptist in Padole. Through his initiatives the villages around Kijow such as Śnitynka, Doroczynka, Plesów, Czarnogródka were revived. They were słobódki - where the new Catholic communities were formed based on families. In 1595 he composed the development and building of Kiev, and the settlement in the Polish nobility. He moved to the bishop's residence to Fastow. He was succeeded by Bishop Krzysztof Kazimirski , who came to Kiev in 1606. The prelate also dealt with the expansion of Fastow, where was built a church and a new home for the bishop. Thanks to his efforts, the diocese set up a chapter , and already in 1619 to its composition came four canons (Білоусов Ю . Римсько - католицька ...). In 1619, the diocese had 19 parishes, in 1724 - 21, in 1772 - 31 parishes, in 1793 - 43 (Jerzy Kowalczyk , " Late baroque churches and monasteries of Kiev diocese and deanery Bracław ", [ in:] The Art of the Eastern Borderlands Volume 3 , IHS , Jagiellonian University , Cracow 1998 , p.20 ).
   Through the efforts of Bishop Kazimirski in Kiev was built the brick Latin Cathedral, where he was later buried. In 1607, from all around there were brought to Kiev stones, bricks, and cement for the future of the cathedral, but its fate remains unknown. We only have witness of the Greek-Catholic hierarch Rucki, that in 1618 in Kiev the cathedral church of St. Catherine was already functioning (Білоусов Ю. Римсько-католицька ...). There are also many certificates from 1636, which the authors argue that in the city there was a wonderful cathedral church.
   Up to 1608, the voivode of Kiev was the prince Konstanty Vasil Ostrogski, who rarely appeared in the city, which defended itself and often was plundered by Cossaks. In 1610, the Kiev voivode was Stanislaw Żółkiewski who took care of the city, and King Zygmunt III "was helping him to contribute freedoms, and adorn rights" (Geographical Dictionary ... p.82).
   In 1618, at the Lavra Pieczarskiej a printing press first opens, which in addition to the Cyrillic alphabet,  prints Glagolitic, Greek and Latin. Many Polish Polish books were printed there. At the beginning of the seventeenth century Kiev is filled with churches (Geographical Dictionary ... p.82).
   In the years 1608-1610 (some sources say 1640). The Dominicans built a brick church in Kiev - St. Nicholas. It was one of the largest and most magnificent churches in the Diocese of Kiev and Luck. The temple was beside the main gate of the Florowski Monastery. As for the architecture, it was a typical late-Gothic, vaulted nave building in the shape of a cross with three altars. On the choirs were organs. Some historians believe that the judge Stefan Aksak also built a monestary for the Dominicans (Білоусов Ю. Римсько-католицька ...).
   In 1623 the Franciscan Order (Bernardine) received land from the Sulimowskich family between the town and the castle on the right bank of the Dnieper, where the monks built a monastery and temple. Certificates of them are very rare. It is known only that the monastery and the church were made of wood. The Temple received the name of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Stigmata of St.. Francis, and in 1635 it was consecrated. At the church existed the societies of St. Anne, St. Francis, and St. Michael (or the military). The Franciscans led active pastoral work and enjoyed great respect among the local residents. The monastery was home to about 30 monks (https://christking.info/pl/?g-113).
   In 1638 the missionaries of the Society of Jesus , or Jesuits - came to Kiev. Not having their own temple, they stayed with the Franciscans. They were involved in pastoral and evangelistic activities. Soon, voivode of Kiev, Jan Tyszkiewicz, in 1645 bought the building for them and the land between the Franciscan church and the Dnieper. The Jesuits of Ostroga - Father Nicholas Czychowski and Stanislaw Szmalkiewicz also came to Kiev, and through joint effort formed the Kiev Kollegium (Білоусов Ю . Римсько - католицька ... ). This is also confirmed through memoirs of Beauplan, a French military engineer, writer, and cartographer, who visited Kiev a few years after Pogorzel in 1638 : " Greek- Catholic churches numbered 10, and the Catholic churches numbered 4: brick cathedral in 1620, the Dominican church, in the rye market out of stone - recently by Stefan Aksak ; Bernardines, funded in 1623 by Christopher Sulimowski, and finally between Bernardienes and the river, the Jesuits, newly introduced by Janusz Tyszkiewicz, 2 Orthodox churches : St Sophia and Saint Michael " (Гійом Ле Васер де Боплан, Опис України, Львів 1998).

  contents

IV. KIEV RUINED BY CHMIELNICKI AND ATTEMPTS OF RENEWAL

   The years 1648-1657 were one of the most dramatic periods in the history of Kiev, the name of which is  "Ruin". December 27, 1648  het. Bohdan Chmielnicki came from Zamosc to Kiev. "Next to him rode Cossack colonels, in silver and gold " showing the populace that everything from the war was looted , and took it all out " (...) . The mob greeted him with a shout, he went to welcome the metropolitan. The clergy and deputies also arrived from Moscow. Arrival of Chmielnicki became a slogan for the murders, atrocities, and robbery. Neczaj, proclaiming that he has permission from Chmielnicki, had cut out the nobility, which was in refuge here. The remnants of the nobility and the Jews who wanted to go to Volyn and to Poland barely got out of town, the Cossacks intercepted them on the way, and slayed them. After the murders, it was quiet for a few months, but in May, several Cossack regiments under the command of Pohilenki, again took to Kiev. Much of the nobility that survived during times of excess, were now murdered (Geographical Dictionary ... p.85 ).
   Catholic Shrines also been plundered by the Cossacks: Franciscan Church and Jesuit College were burned, the Dominican church dedicated to the residents at the inn, the cathedral was demolished, and the priests and monks murdered them by elaborate tortures. In Fastowie was destroyed the residence of the bishop. Probably, at the same time, was murdered the bishop of Kiev Stanislaw Zareba (Білоусов Ю. Римсько-католицька ...).
   At the time of the Chmielecki Uprising was a great famine in the country. In Ukraine, Volyn, and Podolia, remnants of the peasantry who did not parish from hunger or the Tartars now wandered through Kiev past the Dniper. "In Kiev, from sunrise to sunset, says the chronicler, poverty was everywhere, on the streets too many of them died, they swelled, and caught various diseases from leaf and herb varieties which they ate for food." (Geographical Dictionary ... p.86).
   In 1651, under Beresteczko, the army of the Republic defeated Chmielnicki and followed the wake of the retreating Cossacks to Ukraine, and Prince Janusz Radziwill to Kiev. From Kiev the Cossacks fled, and the Kossów Metropolitan, Archimandrite Tryzna, all the clergy and magistrate met the prince in the field asking to spare the city from the robbery. He promised them that the captain will not introduce troops into the city. The clergy and the magistrate were forced to swear allegiance to the King and the Republic; But on August 17 suddenly a fire broke out in Podolia. It destroyed more than 2000 homes. Lithuanian Armed Forces stayed in Kiev to late autumn,  then forces the crown took their place (Geographical Dictionary ... p.86).
   To Kiev again arrive crowds of nobles, and King John Casimir grants people of Kiev general amnesty "Year 1652, March 20 a separate privilege was introduced which granted liberty from all kinds of taxes, duties, tolls (except foreign customs), from positions, soldiers goods, etc. for four years, and that they have the insight that these townspeople "lived through the Tartar and Cossack destruction, then through the fire - where the whole city was ruined and destituted." "By virtue of amnesty were also restored all goods, which during the Cossack rebellions had been taken away" (Geographical Dictionary ... p.86).
   Meanwhile, peace with Chmielnicki was not sustainable, there was the batowska massacre. The governor moved out of Kiev, followed by the nobles. In Pereyaslav in 1654  Chmielnicki surrendered to the Tsar of Moscow. The Boyers came from Pereyaslavia to Kiev to hear the oath of its inhabitants. The Kossów Metropolitan refused to perform it, but eventually relented, and on January 19 swore together with the Metropolitan and the nobility. After the death of Chmielnicki (1657) the hetman was Jan Wyhowski, who in Hadziaczu entered into a settlement agreement with Poland whereby the Kiev region was conferred to him, and together with the Polish army went to Kiev, which failed to remove the Russian army, even with the help of Podolian townspeople. Wyhowski departed, and Kiev again was burned by the tsarist army; townspeople and those accommodating Wyhowski were trapped and abducted. In 1665 Tartars repeatedly burned Kiev and took the people. Finally, as a result of the treaty concluded in 1667 Kiev was ceded from the Republic of Russia for one year, and then in 1686, by the Treaty Grzymułtowski, forever (Geographical Dictionary ... pp.86 -88 ). In connection with the detachment of Kiev from the Republic, the episcopal residence was moved from Kiev to Zhitomir, where in 1724 a new cathedral was built.

  contents

V. KIEV IN THE COMPOSITION OF RUSSIAN EMPIRE

   In 166o a Tsarist edict was released according to which the Poles, Armenians, and Jews were to leave Kiev, but after Kiev became the center of the province, the ban was revoked; and once again a large Catholic community gathered, which unfortunately did not have its church . The situation changed after the death of Catherine II in 1798. Her successor was her son Paul I, who was quite sympathetic to the Roman Catholics. Residents of Kiev turned to him with a request to allow to build a church in Kiev. And already in the next year, by Peczersk, in the Nowy Targ area appeared a small wooden church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which in 1800-1801 was submitted to the Dominicans, who came to Kiev. The presence of the monks revived religious life of Catholics in Kiev, it is they who became the initiators of the construction of a new, large church and its monastery (Білоусов Ю . Римсько - католицька ... ).
   In 1815 Emperor Alexander I, during his stay in Kiev, provided a square for the building of the Catholic Church, " which began thanks to generous contributions" (Geographical Dictionary ... p. 89). The temple was built in the years 1817-1842 on a cruciform plan, with a dome at the intersection of the aisles in the classical style. For the church of "St. Aleksander" there was planned a different dome, which would be akin to their shapes dome of St. Isaac church in St. Petersburg, which is decorated with multiple columns around the high classical drum. However, with such a dome, the temple would become the dominant architecture of the old Kiev, especially against the background of the official Peczerska, so the legend says, with the approval of the project in St. Petersburg, Emperor Nicholas I personally underlined in red pencil "unnecessary" part of the dome and signed "only so high and no centimeters above."  As for the beauty of its magnificent interior, everyone agreed. Funded by the Poniatowski brothers. Near the church there were two buildings: one - the monastery , the other - residence for clergy . Between the church and the buildings was planted a garden. In the lower part at the bottom of Kosciela street was a rowhome which secured the financial stability of the temple and the clergy (Білоусов Ю . Римсько - католицька ... ).
   In the 1940s of the XIX century there were already two parishes in Kiev. In the year 1833 on November 9 the High School in Krzemieniec was moved to Kiev (Geographical Dictionary ... p. 89). As a result, high school students were punished for the support of the November Uprising. The high school library with its collections and laboratories were also brought to Kiev. In 1834 on the campus of the high school, University of St. Wlodzimierz arises; because the majority of university students were Poles, in 1836 the Tsar allowed to decorate the chapel for students of Kiev. The Pastor was to be Head of the Department of Catholic theology at the University. First the chapel was located in a private building, and when a new room was built at the university, the chapel moved there. The chapel received as patron Saint  Nicholas, and was dedicated in 1843. According to the descriptions it had a fairly large size - about 30 m long and about 15 meters wide. In the chapel were three altars, the main with an image of Jesus Christ and the tabernacle, the side altars of St. John the Evangelist and the Virgin Mary were decorated with paintings of their images. All three paintings were painted by the eminent Karol Briułłow. The chapel also had organs. The University Catholic chapel was located in the northwestern part of the university building, on the first floor (https://christking.info/pl/?g-108 ).
   At the university, faculty and students were initially composed almost exclusively of Poles (students and lecturers who were not Poles comprised about 10 % of the academic community), and the city of Kiev itself, as far as culture, was more than half Polish. In the academic year 1838/39 Polish students constituted 62.5 % of all students. Łypki district was inhabited almost exclusively by Polish aristocracy, next to the Russian (Here were estates of magnates Potocki and Branicki), also on the main street - Kreszczatik - pulsated Polish social life. On the main avenue of the city housed many Polish owned modern shops, reputable companies, banks, hotels, craft shops. Similarly, at other nearby streets: Funduklejewskiej, Lutheran, Pushkinskaya, Prorieznoj, Wielkiej Wlodzimierskiej, Nikołajewskiej, and others. Theatrical life was composed almost entirely of travelling Polish acts. The center of one of the Polish districts of Kiev was Koscielna street, where was the church of St . Alexander. It is here that were held some of the largest demonstrations in the city on the eve of the Polish youth uprising in 1863 (http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kijów # Polacy_w_Kijowie). After the January Uprising, the university chapel was closed, and before that, the faculty of Catholic theology was liquidated.
   Catholic chapels were also at other universities and public institutions. Unfortunately, today we do not have their discription, but sources say that there were about 15. They were located at: the First Emperor Aleksander High School, Kiev student campus, the Institute of Noble Maidens. In addition, there are also mentioned private chapels: at Padole, in Łukjanowce (at the hospital), the Wodyci Forest, at Szulawce, and on the Catholic part of the Bajkowce cemetery. There are also news about the chapel on the left edge of Kiev - Darnicy, which was then considered the town property allotment (Білоусов Ю. Римсько-католицька ...).
   In the second half of the nineteenth century, the number of Poles in Kiev continued to increase. At the end of the nineteenth century, the church of Saint  Alexander could no longer accommodate all the parishioners, the number of which in the early twentieth century was more than 40 000 people. The only solution was to build yet another temple.
   In December of 1896, the community of St. Alexander church asked about  land for construction of the church, and a petition was given to the city council signed by 314 influential Catholics. The land for the construction of a new temple of St. Nicholas was located near Wasylkiwśkiej Street. After that was announced a competition for the project, which was to be made ​​in the Gothic style. Among the entries, the best was a project by Stanislaw Wołowski, who was then still a student. Because Wołowski presented only a sketch of the project, the preparation of a fully-fledged design and construction of the church was commisioned to architect Wladyslaw Horodecki - a well known Kievan architect (Білоусов Ю. Римсько-католицька ...). The ceremonial groundbreaking for the temple took place on August 4, 1899. The work lasted from 1899 to 1909, and St. Nicholas Church became one of the most beautiful buildings in Kiev - and a symbol of its Polish culture.
    The population of Poland in Kiev in the late nineteenth - early twentieth century played a major role in the social, economic, and cultural life in the city and the whole of Ukraine; and consisted of officials, businessmen, intellectuals, skilled workers, domestic servants, and youth which studied at the universities of Kiev (St. Wlodzimierz University and the Institute of Technology) (Z. Łukawski Polish population ..., p 122). In the hands of the Polish population were numerous sugar factories, breweries, distilleries, as well as emerging companies serving the farming and agricultural industry (T. Zienkiewicz, Polish literary life in Kiev in the years 1905-1918, Olsztyn 1990, pp. 11-12).
   A turning point in the life of Poles in Kiev, as well as the whole of Ukraine, was the year 1905, when Tsar Nicholas II issued a tolerance manifesto. The Poles were then allowed to use their native language in the liturgy, organize Polish schools, release their own press, and organize socio-cultural societies and charities. Kiev-based Poles took advantage of this opportunity 100%.
   Kiev became the city where there were issued the largest number of Polish newspapers. In addition to fulfilling functions of ideology and informationan, the Polish press performed other functions important to the borderlands public.. Most importantly it favored the integration of Poles living here - it strengthened ties with citizens of the country, and acquainted people with the history and national heroes.
   One of the first cultural organizations that arose after 1905 was the Kiev Polish Society of Art Lovers. The aim of the Society was to spread art culture in Polish society. The Society led three sections: the dramatic arts, music, and sculpture/painting; and also arranged theatrical presentations, concerts, and literary/artistic evenings. The services of this Society were open to various organizations and institutions. From 1908, Polish theater in Kiev became a permanent entity (T. Zienkiewicz , Polish literary life in Kiev in the years 1905-1918 , Olsztyn 1990 , p 68).
   In Kiev, there was also established a Polish literary circle which gathered publishers, editors, reporters, columnists, critics, writers, and poets. At the beginning of 1909, The Polish Circle of Writers and Journalists was established (T. Zienkiewicz , Polish literary life in Kiev ... , s.93 -77 ). There were also numerous Polish charities, among which was the Kiev Roman Catholic Charitable Society; which ran two hospitals, an employment agency, three orphanages, a retirement home, affordable meals, and ensured medical attention and clothing for the poor. Funds for these activities were raised by organizing opera, theater, and artistic evenings (T. Zienkiewicz , Polish literary life in Kiev ... , s.93 -77 ). Also in Kiev, was established the University College, where staff trained future teachers as well as numerous scientific societies - such as the Society for the Promotion of Polish. Science and Culture in Russia, Polish Lawyers Association, Polish Technical Association, and Scientific Society (Patek , the Poles in the East in 1917-1922 (from the October Revolution to the proclamation of the USSR) , " Overview of PL " Vol XXI , 1995, No 2 , pp. 9-10 ).

 contents

VI. KIEV - THE BOLSHEVIK-COMMUNIST TIMES

  In 1917, Ukraine embraces chaos - the authorities changed one after the other - as mentioned by Fr. Theophilus Skalski "... awful times began for Kiev and the Borderlands.  Governments and authorities changed. As far as I remember, we went through eleven different authorities and governments. Each of them was quite painful for the city to endure, sometimes even several days after the bombing, something everyone commandeered; they terrorized people, murdered their opponents, confiscated gold and refuted the old currency, and introduced its worthless paper money ... " (T. Skalski, terror and suffering, pp. 121-122). The worst, however, was only shortly to come ...
   After the Bolshevics took power, began the persecution of Polish social and independence activists. Often enough, all one had to do to be guilty was be Polish and "speak one word on the street in Polish to be judged as a counter-revolutionary" (J. Kupczak Poles in Ukraine in 1921-1939, Wroclaw, 1994, p 84-86). In 1918, among others, the brothers Marian and Joseph Lutoslawski were shot, accused of anti-state activities. The reason for the arrest was their clash with the People's Commissariat for Polish Affairs, which was created by the Bolshevik authorities in November 1917 in order to align affairs of the Polish population with the prevailing ideology.
   More often repeated searches on the premises of Polish organizations confiscated their property and turned over to the disposal of the said Commissariat for Polish Affairs.
   Repression against the Polish population was not resolved during the Polish-Soviet War, taking new forms. In the years 1919-1921, in connection with alleged cooperation with the authorities in Poland, as well as participation in a secret Polish Military Organization, there had been mass arrests of Poles. The prisoners were sent to concentration camps mainly in the depths of Russia. Also during this time, there was limited activity of the Polish system of education. A big story, among others, was the May 1919 arrest of  27 Polish students in Kiev, of which five were sentenced to be shot. Very often yielding to the pressure of the Polish army, Bolshevik troops arrested Poles as hostages, not bypassing the children, women, or elderly people (A. Patek, the Poles in the East ... page 17).
   After the signing of the Treaty of Riga on March 18, 1921, the Poles who emigrated from Kiev became citizens of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
   Years of the 1930's were especially tragic. The Polish people suffered huge losses as a result of the mass arrests, acts of genocide, deportation. At the end of 1930, out of Ukraine were displaced 75 thousand families. From March to June 1931, 23.5 thousand were exported. The year 1936 ushered in the next stage of mass deportations. In March of 1936 it was decided to expel 3317 families of Kiev to Kazakhstan between May 25 to June 10. However, the height of the repression of the Poles took place in 1937-1938. To unleash repression against Poles, the previously published issue of Polish Military Organization was fabricated by the NKVD authorities. The then People's Commissar of Internal Affairs of the USSR, Nikolai Yezhov, in its operating order No. 00485 of August 11, 1937, ordered to detect and destroy members of the PMO, which in practice was a warrant for the shooting of Polish nationality. The "Polish Operation" was carried out in a cruel manor: arrests without concrete evidence, beatings and torture, coerced confession to belonging to a PMO. At the end of 1937, the "Polish Operation " arrested about 19 ​​thousand people, completed investigation on 7 thousand, of which nearly 4.9 thousand were shot.
   Victims of this operation most likely make up most of the people buried in Bykovnia before 1939. After the invasion of Poland, added to them were Polish officers of the Ukrainian Katyn List (M. Ivanov , First nation Punished. Poles in the Soviet Union from 1921 to 1939, Warsaw- Wroclaw, 1991, p. 76, H. Stroriski , Polish road to Kazakhstan . repressions against the Polish population in Ukraine in the thirties , "Review of East " , 1994, Vol III , No 2 ( 10)). In 1938, The last Catholic Church in Ukraine was closed - St. Aleksandra in Kiev, and in its place was organized a dormitory for workers, and the sanctuary site was turned into a toilet. In 1947 the church rooms were adapted for the needs of the Soviet cultural and educational organization. Not until 1991 was the temple returned to the faithful, unfortunately not as their property , and the rooms were rented from the state ... In contrast, the church of St. Nicholas was closed in 1933 and turned into a storage for vegetables. After the war, the church was used to store archives of the USSR. In 1979 the church was turned into a House of Organ and Chamber Music - and for this purpose it is used today, ignoring repeated requests of the faithful for the return of the temple.
   Churches for Poles in ancient and former borderlands were a very dear symbol of ties with Polish culture, and extremely important psychological and moral support in the quest to preserve their national identity. Besides, the secretary of the Polish Consulate in Kiev, Niezbrzycki, wrote in a report on Nov. 10, 1929, stating that salvaging the church was their biggest concern: "...  they (the Poles)subconsciously feel that by losing the churches they lose their only tie to Poland. The situation is all the more tragic - he continued - that they understand perfectly that a few kilometers to the west lies Poland, which does not care about their fate." The mood of the Polish population was described as desperate (R. Dzwonkowski, the Catholic Church in the USSR from 1917 to 1939. Outline of the history, Lublin 1997, p 247).
   In 1939, after the Soviet army invaded the eastern territories of the Second Republic,there began mass arrests. They arrested military, state officials, and the people who occupied any position of the Polish administration, such as intelligence officers or anyone could be an enemy of the new regime. On October 31, 1939, at the Soviet Supreme session, WM Molotov announced the successful occupation of eastern Poland and took captive two hundred and fifty thousand of the Polish army. As a result, on European territory of the USSR, there were 23 camps for prisoners of the military. Kiev prisons were overcrowded  with Polish prisoners, most of whom forever stayed in the boundaries of Kiev - in Bykovnia - where before had been buried their compatriots who were shot in the basement of the NKVD, often just for the fact that they were Poles and Catholics.
   After the German invasion of Kiev, the Bykovnia matter came to light, plans were even made to build a monument that would immortalize the memory of victims of the communist regime, but in 1943 the Soviets returned to Kiev and for nearly 50 years one was not allowed to speak of the brutal crimes of the communist regime. The crime scene was often dug up, and then forest was planted so as to cover up and forget about the hundreds of thousands who had been taken one day from their families, never to come back ...
   At the time of the German occupation, religious life was somewhat revived. Some Orthodox churches opened. As for the Catholics, there are only verbal memories - that they gathered for Mass in a room at the Karaite Synagogue - built by Wladyslaw Horodecki in 1900.
   In the postwar years, Catholics gathered in Kiev to pray at a private house in a suburbanallotment village. Once in a while, masses were led by priest Tadeusz Hoppe, a Salesianfrom Odessa. However, in 1957, Khrushchev announced the intensification of the battleagainst religion, and the chapel in the private house was closed by the authorities of Kiev. The faithful, however, did not stop to gather in prayer. They secretly gathered in their homes, masking prayer meetings as family holidays. From time to time, Kiev hosted priests, among whom was Fr Seraphim Koszuba, who has been called the itinerant apostle of Volyn, Siberia, and Kazakhstan. Over time the most active Catholics, without thinking of the consequences, repeatedly appealed to the municipal authority to allow them to have their own chapel; but all the time the answer was negative. With constant refusal  they went to complain to Moscow, which was surprisingly good for the consequences - in Kiev they were allowed to organize a chapel. Catholics from the city bought a four-room building, where they arranged the temple. May 2, 1969, in the new chapel was the first liturgy, during which the priest at the altar was symbolized with a chasuble.

 contents

 VII MODERN TIMES

   Much improved after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Religious life began to rise from the ashes. In 1991, we were able to retain St Alexander Church - though not as property - but only through a perpetual lease. St. Nicholas church is in a worse situation - where the daily masses are celebrated in the basement, and upstairs is a hall of organ music. We haven't been able to retain this church despite long-standing efforts, and promises of presidents; especially President Leonid Kuchma's promise to John Paul II during his pilgrimage to Ukraine in 2001. A beautiful architectural monument lies ruined, while modern buildings and business centers are springing like mushrooms, as the temple crumbles from vibration of the subway, which the Soviet authorities dug underneath. It is rotting from the center. A landmark of the city, a beautiful architectural masterpiece is being let decay. Is it because it is a symbol of the Catholicism and of Polish Kiev? In such a situation, can you even dream of a beautiful parish building - once built by the Poles at the above-mentioned churches, and now belonging to the city?
   On this day in Kiev there are 8 parishes. It is very difficult to determine the number of Catholics and Poles in their area. Resulting from the cruel repression of the past, and continuing resentment toward those who call themselves Catholics and Poles, hardly anyone officially admits to their identity. It is assumed that these "courageous" in Kiev  number at least 60,000, while those "hidden" are many times more - for on the Sunday masses, there are a few thousand people present. Of course, modern times are much better for Catholics and Poles in Ukraine than during the 70 years of terror before, but up till now we have been  treated "severely".
   It is telling, what has been happening the last few years in one of the districts of Kiev - in Obołoni. After years of difficult and costly efforts, we were able to obtain the theoretical possibility to build the temple. Attempts to erect the Catholic Cross ended with it being cut to pieces. The nuns, who in April 2013 were praying at the site of the temple, were shot at and wounded with a pneumatic weapon - without any consequences to the perpetrators. It seems that the city, while providing Catholics in Obołoni a place to build the temple, counted on the fact that the parish will not be able to cope with the associated problems. When it turned out that the parish succeeded in reaching the very start of construction, then began the excesses - which went unprosecuted by the city authorities nor the police nor the prosecutor's office. Despite this fact, Catholics are hoping that the temple will rise. Each parish has struggles, but as long as there are priests, parishes can develop.
   In the parish of "Christ the King of the Univese," we are facing a huge challenge. We have to build a parish with a temple in the center - where we will be able to revive Catholic and Polish traditions of Kiev, and remedy many spiritual and cultural needs to the "brave" and "hidden" Poles in Ukraine. History agrees. We have the advantage that our land, even though it is small, is a private property, which will not cause unrest. The trick is to find Poles who will join in the creation of such a "Polish Meeting House," where it will be possible to grow spiritually - restoring a sense of participation in the great Polish tradition of Kiev and Ukraine.

contents