Feofan Prokopovich

Feofan Prokopovich

Feofan Prokopovich

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thumb|Theophan ProkopovichFeofan/Theophan Prokopovich (18 June 1681, Kiev–19 September 1736, St. Petersburg) was an archbishop and statesman in the Russian Empire, of Ukrainian descent. He elaborated and implemented Peter the Great's reform of the Russian Orthodox Church. One of the founding fathers of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Prokopovich wrote much religious verse and some of the most enduring sermons in the Russian language.

From a merchant family, he brilliantly distinguished himself at the Kiev-Mohyla Academy of Kiev, subsequently completing his education in Poland (for which purpose he turned Uniate), and at Rome in the College of the Propaganda. Primed with all the knowledge of the West, he returned home to seek his fortune, and, as the Orthodox monk, became one of the professors at, and subsequently rector of, the academy of Kiev. He entirely reformed the teaching of theology there, substituting the historical method of the German theologians for the former Orthodox scholastic system.

In 1709 Peter the Great, while passing through Kiev, was struck by the eloquence of Prokopovich in a sermon on the most glorious victory, i.e. Poltava, and in 1716 summoned him to St Petersburg. From henceforth it was Feofan's duty and pleasure to explain the new ideas and justify the most alarming innovations from the pulpit. So invaluable, indeed, did he become to the civil power, that, despite the determined opposition of the Russian clergy, who regarded the...
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