Order of Saint Basil the Great

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The Order of Saint Basil the Great (O.S.B.M. Latin : Ordo Sancti Basilii Magni, Portuguese : Ordem de São Basílio Magno, Ukrainian : Чин Святого Василія Великого, Chyn Sviatoho Vasyliia Velykoho) also known as the Basilian Order of Saint Josaphat is a monastic religious order of the Greek Catholic Churches that is present in many countries and that has its Mother House in Rome ( Santi Sergio e Bacco degli Ucraini ). The order received approbation on August 20, 1631 and was based at the Holy Trinity monastery in Vilnius. Its monks, brothers, and priests work primarily with Ukrainian Catholics and are also present in other Greek-Catholic churches in central and eastern Europe.

Portuguese language Romance language that originated in Portugal

Portuguese is a Western Romance language originating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe. It also has co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India; in Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka; in the Indonesian island of Flores; in the Malacca state of Malaysia; and the ABC islands in the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole. Reintegrationists maintain that Galician is not a separate language, but a dialect of Portuguese. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation is referred to as "Lusophone" (Lusófono).

Ukrainian language language member of the East Slavic subgroup of the Slavic languages

Ukrainian is an East Slavic language. It is the official state language of Ukraine, one of the three official languages in the unrecognized state of Transnistria, the other two being Romanian and Russian. Written Ukrainian uses a variant of the Cyrillic script.

Monasticism religious way of life

Monasticism or monkhood is a religious way of life in which one renounces worldly pursuits to devote oneself fully to spiritual work. Monastic life plays an important role in many Christian churches, especially in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions. Similar forms of religious life also exist in other faiths, most notably in Buddhism, but also in Hinduism and Jainism, although the expressions differ considerably. By contrast, in other religions monasticism is criticized and not practiced, as in Islam and Zoroastrianism, or plays a marginal role, as in Judaism.


In 16th century on efforts of Metropolitan of Kiev Josyf Veliamyn Rutsky and Archbishop of Polotsk Josaphat Kuntsevych the monastic order was revived on territory of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Following the World War II, the order was completely eliminated by the Russian Orthodox from its original territory and forced into exile. With fall of the Soviet Union, it was reestablished again in modern Ukraine as part of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

Josyf Veliamyn Rutsky Greek-Catholic Metropolitan bishop of Kyiv from 1613 to 1637

Joseph Velamin-Rutski - was a Greek-Catholic Metropolitan bishop of Kyiv from 1613 to 1637. He worked to build the Greek Catholic Church in the first few decades after the Union of Brest of 1596; he also reformed the Basilian monks.

Josaphat Kuntsevych Ruthenian archbishop and martyr

Josaphat Kuntsevych, O.S.B.M., was a Polish-Lithuanian monk and archeparch (archbishop) of the Ruthenian Catholic Church, who on 12 November 1623 was killed by an angry mob in Vitebsk, Vitebsk Voivodeship, in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. He is "the best-known victim" of anti-Catholic violence related to implementing the Union of Brest, and is declared a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Beside the Order of Saint Basil the Great, there is a smaller order of Studite Monks that was revived at the end of 19th century by Metropolitan of Galicia Andrey Sheptytsky and is based in the Univ Lavra.

Studite Brethren are a religious society of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

Andrey Sheptytsky Metropolitan Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

Andrey Sheptytsky, O.S.B.M., was the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church from 1901 until his death in 1944. His tenure spanned two world wars and seven political regimes: Austrian, Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Soviet, General Government (Nazi), and again Soviet.

Univ Lavra

Univ Holy Dormition Lavra of the Studite Rite is the only lavra of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. It is situated in Peremyshliany Raion, Lviv Oblast. The monastery houses about 100 Studite Brethren.


Sts. Anthony and Theodosius Antony and feodosy.jpg
Sts. Anthony and Theodosius
Saint Josaphat Kuntsevych JKuncewicz.jpg
Saint Josaphat Kuntsevych

The order is based upon the ascetic writings of Saint Basil the Great (329-379, in accordance with the Rule of St Basil laid down by him and later developed by Saint Theodore the Studite (760-826), Saint Theodosius of Kiev (†1074), Saint Josaphat Kuntsevych (1580-1623) and the Metropolitan of Kiev Joseph Benjamin Rutsky (1574-1637).

Theodosius of Kiev Ukrainian saint

Theodosius of Kiev or Theodosius of the Caves is an 11th-century saint who brought Cenobitic Monasticism to Kievan Rus' and, together with St Anthony of Kiev, founded the Kiev Caves Lavra. A hagiography of Theodosius was written in the twelfth century.

Monastic life began to develop in Ukraine in the times of Saint Vladimir the Great (980-1015), when the first monks settled in the caves near Kiev led by Saints Anthony and Theodosius. After the Mongol invasions in the 13th century the monks fled to western lands of Halych-Volhynia and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, spreading Eastern Monasticism there. After the Eastern Rite Ruthenian Church (in modern-day Belarus and Ukraine) has re-affirmed its communion with the Catholic Church in the Union of Brest in 1596. The monasteries living according to the rules of St. Basil and St. Theodore Studite, previously undergoing a period of laxity and decline, were reformed by the initiative of Saint Josaphat Kuntsevych and Joseph Benjamin Rutsky started in the monastery of the Holy Trinity in Vilnius. Following this reform in 1617 the individual monasteries united into a single congregation under a Protarchimandrite directly subject to the Metropolitan, similar to the path Western Rite monasticism took during the Middle Ages. In 1739 a second congregation was formed by monasteries in Halychyna and in 1744 both congregations were united in the Ruthenian Order of St. Basil the Great by Pope Benedict XIV.

Ukraine Sovereign state in Eastern Europe

Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religions in the country are Eastern Orthodoxy and Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world.

Kiev City with special status in Kiev City Municipality, Ukraine

Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and most populous city of Ukraine, located in the north-central part of the country on the Dnieper. The population in July 2015 was 2,887,974, making Kiev the 7th most populous city in Europe.

Grand Duchy of Lithuania European state from the 12th century until 1795

The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state that lasted from the 13th century to 1795, when the territory was partitioned among the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia and Austria.

The Order of Saint Basil the Great spread and flourished across modern day Belarus and Ukraine and played a key role in the education both of laity and clergy and helped preserve the distinctiveness of the Ruthenian culture in the predominantly Polish and Roman Catholic Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until the partitions of Poland by the end of the 18th century. In 1772 the Order had over 200 monasteries and over 1000 monks, six seminaries, twenty schools and colleges and four printing houses.

Partitions of Poland Forced partition of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

The Partitions of Poland were three partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth that took place toward the end of the 18th century and ended the existence of the state, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland and Lithuania for 123 years. The partitions were conducted by Habsburg Austria, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the Russian Empire, which divided up the Commonwealth lands among themselves progressively in the process of territorial seizures and annexations.

Seminary, school of theology, theological seminary, and divinity school are educational institutions for educating students in scripture, theology, generally to prepare them for ordination to server as clergy, in academics, or in Christian ministry. The English word is taken from the Latin seminarium, translated as seed-bed, an image taken from the Council of Trent document Cum adolescentium aetas which called for the first modern seminaries. In the West, the term now refers to Catholic educational institutes and has widened to include other Christian denominations and American Jewish institutions.

In the last years of the 18th century most of the Ruthenian lands came under the Russian Empire, where the Order along with the whole Ruthenian Church was persecuted and eventually the monasteries were subjected under the Russian Orthodox Church. A small part of modern-day Ukraine came under the Austrian rule were the fate of the Ruthenian Church was much better. However, the Order suffered under the policies of Emperor Joseph II, directed generally against all religious orders. In the second half of the 19th century efforts were undertaken to renew the Order. By 1882 it was reduced to just 60 monks in 14 monasteries. With permission from Pope Leo XIII the Basilian Constitution was updated with help from the Society of Jesus starting with Dobromyl monastery, changing the character to one less sedentary and more missionary, among other things allowing the monks to work with Ukrainian diaspora overseas. The Basilians reached Brazil (1897), Canada (1902), United States (1907) and Argentina (1934). New provinces were established covering Transcarpathia, Hungary and Yugoslavia and Romania. By 1939 the number of monks rose to over 650. In 1944, the order purchased the John E. Aldred Estate at Lattingtown, New York and it is known as St. Josaphat's Monastery. [1]

Following the Second World War, the Soviets entered further into Europe and forced the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church into the catacombs. In all of the Soviet controlled territories only a single Basilian monastery was left open, in the Polish capital of Warsaw. Nonetheless, the Order survived among the Ukrainian diaspora in the free world (and in communist Yugoslavia where the regime was relatively benign) and in Ukraine itself where the monks secretly prayed and catechesized.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union the Order was reestablished in independent Ukraine and other Central and Eastern European countries such as Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. Some old monasteries have been restored and new ones established. In 2001 there were over 600 monks, 300 of them in Ukraine.

List of monasteries



Notable Basilians

See also

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Basilian may refer to a number of groups who are followers of Saint Basil the Great and specifically to:

Basilian monks

Basilian monks are monks who follow the rule of Saint Basil the Great, bishop of Caesarea (330–379). The monastic rules and institutes of St. Basil are important because their reconstruction of monastic life remains the basis for most Eastern Orthodox and some Greek Catholic monasticism. Saint Benedict of Nursia, who fulfilled much the same function in the West, took his Regula Benedicti from the writings of St. Basil and other earlier church fathers. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, monks do not generally call themselves "Basilians", while the Greek Catholics do. Thus the expression "Basilian monk" almost always refers to religious of those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite.

Eastern Christian monasticism

Eastern Christian Monasticism is the life followed by monks and nuns of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Church of the East and Eastern Catholicism. Some authors will use the term "Basilian" to describe Eastern monks; however, this is incorrect, since the Eastern Church does not have religious orders, as in the West, nor does Eastern monasticism have monastic Rules, as in the West.

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Church and monastery of Holy Trinity is a monastery and church of Holy Trinity originally of the Ruthenian Uniate Church, today Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. It is situated in Vilnius, Lithuania. The monastery belongs to the Order of Saint Basil the Great.

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  1. Terry Winters and Austin N. O'Brien (May 1979). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: John E. Aldred Estate". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation . Retrieved 2010-11-20.