Bars'kyj and the orthodox community

Alexander Grishin*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Vasyl Hryhorovyc-Bars'kyj was a Slav mendicant pilgrim whose travels lasted twenty-four years between 1723 and 1747. They took him from his native Kiev through eastern Europe to Italy, where he worshipped at Christian shrines in Bari, Rome and Venice. He then travelled to the Holy Land, en route spending time in the Greek islands; he also spent two extended periods living on Mount Athos, visited Cyprus on three occasions, and travelled extensively throughout Greece and Asia Minor. He spent some time in Constantinople from where he returned home to Kiev. While pilgrimages were common in this period, both by religious zealots and by curious travellers, Bars'kyj's pilgrimage was unusual in both its duration and its scope, as well as for the detailed written and illustrated record that he kept. It was also unusual in that he wrote as an Orthodox traveller, who throughout his journeys sought out Orthodox communities and recorded their customs, churches, liturgies and traditions of worship from the perspective of a passionate insider, rather than as a curious outsider. Although our knowledge of Bars'kyj's biography is relatively extensive, and extant sources for its study are rich and varied, basic questions such as the exact date of his birth, his precise name and details of his education remain unresolved. He appears to have been born in Kiev towards the end of 1701 in the region of the Monastery of the Caves; the third in a family of ten children, the son of a semi-literate merchant. In 1715 or 1716 he entered the Kiev theological academy, but was unable to complete the eight-year course of study before illness in the form of a huge ulcer on his leg forced him to abandon his studies, and in July 1723 he went to L'viv to seek medical treatment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of Christianity
    Subtitle of host publicationEastern Christianity
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    Number of pages19
    ISBN (Electronic)9781139054089
    ISBN (Print)0521811139, 9780521811132
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006


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