Andrzej Gil. The Union Tendency in the Orthodox Church of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania during the Late 15th and Early 16th Centuries.
The Union Tendency in the Orthodox Church of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania During the Late 15th and Early 16th Centuries Andrzej Gil The Ruthenian lands of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 15th century have been subjected to a process of external impact with a few sides and in several dimensions. The religion of Lithuanian Rus’ was a good subsoil to intensify contacts with the nascent Orthodox superpower – the Grand Duchy of Moscow. In turn, the economic and political realities opened it to the influence of the German state organisms in the Baltic and Polish Crown. It is not surprising, therefore, that in the complex religious situation, related to the distribution of previously unified Orthodox Metropolis of Kiev in two parts – Moscow and the Polish-Lithuanian – the Ruthenian part of the orthodox elite decided to seeking support in the Catholic Rome.
The Ruthenian elite initiated a letter to Pope Sixtus IV which was sent on behalf of the nominee for the office of Metropolitan of Kiev, Smolensk bishop Mizael. They acknowleged the council Florentine as the eighth ecumenical council and the basic truths of the Latin Church. Besides Mizael two archimandrites – Joann from Kiev Pechersk Lavra and Macarius from Vilna Holy Trinity monastery, and dignitaries, among them Michael Olelkowicz, Fiodor Bielski, Dmitri Wiaziemski, Ivan Chodkiewicz and Ivan and Alexander Soltans added their signature to the document.
According to the latest research there is no doubt about the authenticity of the letter. This document is not only an evidence of the the tendency of Orthodox Church in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to union with the Latin Church at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. In clearly distinguished the Ruthenian elites, opened to the religious and cultural dialogue with the West, from the elites of Moscow which insisted on self-isolation.