Feofan Prokopovich

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Prokopovich, Feofan


(Eleazar Prokopovich). Born June 8 (18), 1681, in Kiev; died Sept. 8 (19), 1736, in St. Petersburg. Church and public figure, Ukrainian and Russian writer. Bishop (1718), archbishop (1724). Associate of Peter I. Son of a merchant.

Prokopovich graduated from the Kiev Mogila Academy in 1698 and went to Poland, where he became a Uniate, and then left for Rome to continue his education. There he studied the Greek and Roman classics as well as philosophical and theological literature. Back in Kiev, he reconverted to Orthodoxy in 1704.

As one of the best-educated men of his time, he gave immediate and resolute support to Peter I’s reform work. He accompanied Peter on the Prut Campaign of 1711. On returning to Kiev, he became rector of the academy and taught poetry and rhetoric. In 1715 he was summoned to St. Petersburg, where he became Peter’s assistant for church administration during the abolition of the patriarchate and establishment of the Synod, of which Prokopovich was appointed vice-president in 1721. His literary-publicistic work was subordinated to the task of justifying and defending Peter’s political and cultural measures. In his Word on the Tsar’s Authority and Honor (1718), he defended unlimited autocratic authority and the justice of the trial of Tsarevich Aleksei. In the Preface to the Naval Regulations of 1719 and in the Word of Praise to the Russian Navy (1720), he glorified the creation of a powerful navy. In what was called the Spiritual Reglament of 1721, he provided theoretical justification for the new system of administration of the church, with the Synod at its head in place of the Patriarch.

Prokopovich wrote Russian and Latin verse, but his greatest influence on contemporary literature was as a preacher. His sermons represent a striking example of the publicistic genre. Placing civic duty above religious obligations, he urged that the state and not the church be served. In his sermons he avoided the excesses of literary adornment and rhetorical figures of speech, although he did not completely break with the tradition. In writing their odes, M. V. Lomonosov and A. P. Sumarokov were strongly influenced by ideas and themes found in Prokopovich’s oratorical prose.

Prokopovich was one of the founders of the Academy of Sciences. He headed what was called the learned circle, which included A. D. Kantemir and V. N. Tatishchev. Prokopovich left several historical works, including A History of Emperor Peter the Great from His Birth to the Battle of Poltava (c. 1713), A Brief Account of the Death of Peter the Great, Emperor of Russia (1726), and A History of the Selection and Accession … of Her Majesty Anna Ioannovna (1730). In these works he idealized Peter I and his accomplishments.


Slova i rechi pouchitel’nye, pokhval’nye i pozdravitel’nye, parts 1–4. St. Petersburg, 1760–74.
Soch. [Edited by I. P. Eremin.] Moscow-Leningrad, 1961.


Chistovich, I. A. Feofan Prokopovich i ego vremia. St. Petersburg, 1868.
Morozov, P. O. Feofan Prokopovich kakpisatel’. St. Petersburg, 1880.
Gudzii, N. K. “Feofan Prokopovich.” In Istoriia russkoi literatury, vol. 3, part 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1941.
Peshtich, S. L. Russkaia istoriografiia XVIII v., part 1. Leningrad, 1961.
Luzhnyi, R. “‘Poetika’ F. Prokopovicha i teoriia poezii v Kievo-Mogilianskoi akademii.” In Rol’ i znachenie literatury XVIII v. Moscow-Leningrad, 1966.
Vinter, E. “F. Prokopovich i nachalo russkogo Prosveshcheniia.” Ibid.
Prosina, A. B. “Teoreticheskoe obosnovanie F. Prokopovichem reform Petra I.” Vestnik MGU: Ser. pravo, 1969, no. 6.
Kochetkova, N. D. “Oratorskaia proza Feofana Prokopovicha i puti formirovaniia literatury klassitsizma.” In XVIII vek: Sb. 9. Leningrad, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In that regard they were rather similar to Archbishop Feofan Prokopovich (1681-1736): while no "German," for sure, he was born and educated in Ukraine (and later in Western Europe) and belonged to a political culture and intellectual tradition that was very different from the Russian one.
(6.) Feofan Prokopovich [Teofan Prokopovych], "Vladimir: Tragedokomediia," in Sochineniia, ed.
Such was, to cite the most famous example, the background of Peter the Great's companion in reforms Feofan Prokopovich (1681-1736).
He discusses Jacobite servitors Jacob Bruce (1669-1735), a scientific sorcerer at Peter's court, and Robert Erskine (1677-1718), an iatrochemist at court; Ukrainian clerics Stefan Iavorskii (1658-1722), an esoteric wordsmith, and eclectic thinker Feofan Prokopovich; Peter the Great's mission; and the role of religion and esotericism in shaping his vision of scientific reform.
Entre estos hombres estaban Feofan Prokopovich (1677-1736) recetor de la academia de Kiev-Mogiliyansk, a quien el Zar Pedro I comisiono la elaboracion de una compilacion de textos en contra de los abusos del clero titulada Dukhovnyi reglament (Regulaciones Espirituales) (12); Vassily Tatishchev (1686-1750) quien afirmaba que, si bien Dios era el creador, los eventos sociopoliticos no dependian de la providencia sino de factores objetivos como la poblacion, el desarrollo de la industria, el comercio y la educacion (13), y Antioch Kantemir (1709-1744), quien aparte de ser poeta y diplomatico conocia y divulgaba las obras de Voltaire y Montesquieu.
What began as a relatively private cult became public during the reign of Alexis's son Peter the Great, largely as the result of the hagiographic work of Archbishop Dmitrii of Rostov and subsequent preaching by Archbishop Feofan Prokopovich. Feofan manipulated the image of St.
Whatever the reason, almsgiving in Russia was still sufficiently widespread to attract Peter's wrath, the sources of which Lindenmeyr does not explore, although it clearly antedated Bishop Feofan Prokopovich's tirades against beggars.
(12.) The Orthodox Church then and under Peter the Great, however, was an important conduct for Western learning via Ukraine through such figures as Stefan Iavorskii and Feofan Prokopovich. See Max J.
A passage in the Spiritual Regulation (Dukhovnyi reglament) of the bishop Feofan Prokopovich, which was confirmed in 1721 as a statute of the Holy Synod, illuminates not only the eminent author's judgment about one of the most frequent forms of contractual divorce and remarriage but also society's views on it:
(103) On the other hand, it is quite obvious that, despite great efforts, Tsar Peter and Feofan Prokopovich badly failed to convey the spirit of the succession law to readers of Pravda voli monarshei.
(7) The decree caused great consternation, home and abroad, which led his principal apologist Feofan Prokopovich to publish his Law of the Monarch's Will (Pravda voli monarshei), "to disabuse foreigners of their false opinion of our people and to give them reason to think better of us." (8) The law and the tract, I have argued, glorified Peter's repudiation of the past as a heroic demonstration of his godlike role as transcendent ruler.
(68) Both Peter and the aristocrats opposed this, and Stefan fell from favor, but the Ukrainian cohort ran the Russian church for the next 50 years, following the intellectual lead of either Stefan or his rival Feofan Prokopovich. The result was another largely unexplored cultural shift, from liturgical piety to a religion of learning and preaching.