Mazepa and the Preachers: Ukrainian Clergy and the Discourse of “Russia” in the Early Eighteenth Century


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project examines the careers and writings (primarily sermons and church services) of the cohort of Ukrainian clergy, who became the leading figures in the Russian (Muscovite, then St. Petersburg) church during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. The topic focuses on two inter-twining themes: one ideational and the other socio-political. It examines their experiences before and after 1708, the year in which the Ukrainian hetman, Ivan Mazepa, switched sides from Russia to Sweden. Still tied closely to Ukraine and to the hetman's patronage, the clergy in effect had been comfortably serving two masters. After 1708 this was no longer possible, and they struggled in their writing to clarify their loyalties. In the process they framed a modern disocurse of Russia as a nation.