Autonomy Lost and Regained: The Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolia of Kyiv, 1633-2019

For people following the news from Ukraine in 2019 who were not Orthodox Christian or who were unfamiliar with the history of the Orthodoxy in Ukraine, the grant of autocephaly to the newly reorganized Orthodox Church of Ukraine by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople may have seemed like a radical innovation or a historical rupture. Or they may have simply been baffled by all of the fuss...

In fact, the events of 2019 were not so much a rupture as a return. Rather than a radical innovation, it was the culmination of over a century of determined effort.

This exhibition tells the story of the long path from the extraordinary flowering of the Kyivan Church under Petro Mohyla and his successors in the middle of the 17th century, through the incorporation of the Kyiv Metropolia into the Moscow Patriarchate, and finally to the struggles for the renewal of local autonomy during the 20th and 21st centuries. It also explores the centuries-long simultaneously symbiotic and fraught relationship betweek Kyiv and Moscow, how that relationship played out in the sphere of religion, and how those events related to the surrounding cultural and geopolitical forces. It includes liturgical textiles from the 17th to the 19th centuries, as well as documents, photographs, and books from the 1920s to 2019.

There will be a virtual online and limited attendence in-person opening on May 22, 2021. Stay tuned for details.

This exhibition is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.