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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(died 1123), an Old Russian writer and church figure, compiler of the second redaction of the Primary Chronicle. Sil’vestr was abbot of the Vydubetskii Monastery (the Church of St. Michael) in Kiev, which had been founded by Prince Vsevolod Iaroslavich and had become the prince’s family monastery. In 1118, Sil’vestr became a bishop in Pereiaslavl’ Iuzhnyi. He was an intimate of Vladimir Monomakh, son of Vsevolod, and consequently played a prominent role in the political and ecclesiastical life of Kievan Rus’.



(died c. 1566), a 16th-century Russian state figure and writer.

Born of a well-to-do Novgorod family, Sil’vestr was a priest in Novgorod and, beginning in the 1540’s, at the Cathedral of the Annunciation in the Moscow Kremlin. During the Moscow Uprising of 1547 he publicly denounced the young tsar, thus increasing his own influence on Ivan IV and in court circles.

Sil’vestr belonged to Ivan IV’s circle of intimates and became a leader of the government’s Selected Council; he was also closely associated with Ivan’s cousin, Vladimir Andreevich Staritskii. After 1553 he gradually became intimate with boyar groups opposed to the tsar and the tsar’s relatives, the Zakhar’-ins. Removed from the court in 1560, Sil’vestr took monastic vows and lived in northern monasteries. His outlook was similar to that of the nestiazhateli (nonpossessors).

Sil’vestr left publicist works (epistles) in which he discoursed on the rights and duties of the sovereign, government officials, and clergy. He revised and supplemented Domostroi. Sil’vestr collected manuscript books and encouraged the painting of icons; he also directed the embellishment of the tsar’s palace in the Kremlin with paintings.


Zimin, A. A. I. S. Peresvetov i ego sovremenniki. Moscow, 1958.
Shmidt, S. O. “K izucheniiu ‘Istorii’ kniazia Kurbskogo (o pouchenii popa Sil’vestra).” In the collection Slaviane i Rus’. Moscow, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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