3(10), ìàé-èþíü 2001
The Printing-House of the Monastery of Trei Ierarhi in Iasi and its Staff
St Clement Ukrainian Catholic University,
The history of the printing-house of the monastery of Trei Ierarhi in Iasi,
founded with the help of skilled craftsmen from Kyiv by Petro Mohyla,
Metropolitan of Kyiv, Halych and All Russia (1599-1646) at the request of the
Moldavian Voivode Vasile Lupu (1593-1661), is a shining example of co-operation
between two neighbouring countries. Although the uncertainty of the period
precluded any long existence for the printing-house, the few books printed there
(Decretul patriarchului Partenie (1642), Carte de invatatura (1643),
Septe taine (1644), and Pravileinparatesci (1646)1) illustrate
the fertile influence of the traditions of Ukrainian printing and illustration
on the practice of book production in Romania.
A new stage in Ukrainian-Romanian relations began when Petro Mohyla, son of
the Moldavian Voivode Simon Mohyla and nephew of the Voivode Ieremia and the
Metropolitan Gheorghe of Moldavia, became Archimandrite of the largest monastery
in Ukraine, the Kyivo-Pecheska Lavra in 1627, and Metropolitan of Kyiv in 1632.
This energetic man and enlightened patron tried in his activities to unite the
old traditions of the Orthodox East with the achievements of Western culture.
Thanks largely to his efforts, Kyiv was reborn as a national centre for many
fields of cultural life. In the Lavra Mohyla founded a new school in which Greek
and Latin were taught on equal terms. When in 1632 this school was united with
that of the Kyiv Brotherhood, there began the renowned Kyivo-Mohylanski
Collegium (from 1701 the Kyivo-Mohylanska Akademiia), for many years the only
centre of higher education in the Eastern Slavic world. Mohyla was also the
instigator of the rebuilding and restoration of many famous Kyivan churches -
the Cathedral of St Sophia, the Desiatynna (Tithe) Church, the Church of the
Three Hierarchs, St Michael in the Kyiv Vydubyts’kyi Monastery, and the Church
of the Saviour on Berestovo (this last church was decorated by painters brought
especially from Greece). The Lavra printing-house was particularly active during
Mohyla’s time; here were printed such richly-illustrated books as the Evanhelie
uchytel’ne (1637), the Great Trebnyk (1646), a series of wonderful
panegyrics and many others. Mohyla’s great innovation was the printing of
Latin and Polish works besides Church Slavonic. He was not interested solely in
the restoration of Ukrainian institutions, however, but also used his huge power
and resources to foster the growth of education and culture in his native land.
In 1633 in response to a request from the Wallachian Voivode Matei Basarab,
Mohyla sent to Cimpulung “a printing-house complete with five fonts of type,
together with a skilful printer, Timofei… with others”2, which means that the
Kyivan printers Tymofiy Verbytskiy, Ivan Hlebkovych and others arrived in
Wallachia and printed the Trebnyk in Cimpulung in 1635.
The Kyivan metropolitan helped to restore printing in Moldavia as well. Not
wishing to be outdone by his political rival Matei, the Moldavian Voivode Vasile
Lupu also took thought for the spiritual renaissance of his country. After the
period of internecine rivalry between Moldavia and Wallachia ended in 1639, Lupu,
who ruled in ‘great peace and tranquillity’, was able to pay more attention
to the life of Moldavia. Among other foundations of Lupu and his wife Tudosca
was the monastery in Iasi dedicated to the Three Hierarchs, John Chrysostom,
Gregory the Theologian and Basil the Great, who was the Voivode’s patron saint3.
The famous traveller Paul of Aleppo left us a detailed description of this
monastery, its fortifications, and above all the main church, its exterior
wonderfully decorated with carvings4. The frescoes inside the church of Trei
Ierarhi were created by Sidor Pospeev, famous for his work in the Uspensky Sobor
and Archangelsky Sobor in the Kremlin, Iakov Gavrilov, Deiko Iakovlev and
Pron’ka Nikitin, sent by Tsar Michael Fedorovich5. Paul of Aleppo described the
frescoes of these Russian artists, where as well as religious subjects there
were episodes of profane life; portraits of the donors, and pictures of the life
of St Parakeva of Epivat and the removal to Iasi of her relics6.
In the time of Vasile Lupu the monastery of Trei Ierarhi was the seat of Kir
Varlaam, archbishop and metropolitan of Suceava and all Moldavian lands. Near
the church, within the monastery grounds, stood a printing-house and school for
sons of boyars and others, founded by Lupu on the advice of Varlaam, following
the example of the Kyivo-Mohylanski Collegium. Archbishop Varlaam (1590-1657), (christened
Vasile Motok), a well-educated, enlightened scholar, was a faithful supporter of
Vasile Lupu, and inspired the latter’s ideas for reform7. In 1629 Vasile’s
predecessor, Miron Barnowski sent Varlaam to Moscow on a mission to buy icons
for churches in Iasi8. On his way the metropolitan visited Kyiv, where he became
aware of the activities of Petro Mohyla, then archimandrite of the
Kyivo-Pecherska Lavra, in founding a Collegium and directing the printing-house
of the Lavra, well-known in Romania9. This undeniably significant visit inspired
the growth of the idea of a Romanian enlightenment by creating a school and
printing-house in Iasi according to the Kyivan model10.
It has been suggested that the first attempt to found a school and
printing-house in Iasi with the help of Ukrainian scholars and printers took
place in 1632, but Sofroniy Pochaskiy, professor of rhetoric in the Lavra
Collegium and “some Kyivan scholars” were unable to reach Romania because of
destruction caused by the war, and had to return home11. On 7 April 1640, Petro
Mohyla wrote to the Tsar in Moscow “Prince Vasile of Moldavia, recognising the
divine rewards which follow the founding of schools by pious and orthodox
teachers and the profit which the sons of boyars gain in Poland [presumably by
going to study there], has asked many times in letters that the Metropolitan of
Kyiv should send him learned monks and wise teachers, which has been agreed”12.
V. Kiriak stated that the school in Iasi was founded by Vasile Lupu on 28 March
1640. Sofronyi Pochaskiy arrived from Kyiv accompanied by four ‘teachers-bookmen’,
and was appointed as head of the new school and abbot of the Trei Ierarhi
The name of Sofronyi Pochaskiy is well-known in the history of Ukrainian and
Romanian culture of the 17th century. M. Maksymovych’s hypothesis (supported
by S. Holubev), that Sofronyi Pochaskiy and a pupil at the Kyiv Brotherhood
school, Stefan Pochaskiy were one and the same person is now generally accepted14.
Stefan Pochaskiy was the first of the students [‘spudei’] of the Brotherhood
school whose declamation was published in ‘Virshi na zhalosnyi pohreb zatsnoho
rytsera Petra … Sahaydachnoho’. This collection of poems by the rector of
the school, Kasiian Sakovych, dedicated to the memory of the Cossack hetman and
patron of the school Petro Sahaydachniy, was published in the printing-house of
the Kyivo-Pecherska Lavra in 162215. Ten years later the same printing-house
published a richly decorated panegyric in honour of Petro Mohyla,
‘Evkharistyrion albo vdiachnost… Petru Mohyli…’16. The author of the
preface of this example of the high poetic style was “the least of the
community of brothers of the Pechersky monastery, your honour’s son and
servant, Sofronyi Pochaskiy, monk of the Pechersky monastery, professor of
rhetoric of the Collegium [Hymnastes]”. Probably between 1622 and 1632 Stefan
Pochaskiy, one of the best pupils of the Brotherhood School, took holy orders in
the Pecherska Lavra under the name of Sofroniy, and headed the faculty of
rhetoric of the newly-established Kyiv Collegium. Before he left the Ukraine, he
had become Rector of the Collegium and abbot of the Kyiv Brotherhood monastery17.
It is also possible that after the death of Tarasy Zemka, he became director of
the Lavra printing-house18. The sending to Moldavia of such a well-educated man,
with experience in running a school and perhaps also a printing-house shows the
earnest desire of Petro Mohyla for the success of the cultural ambitions of
Vasile Lupu and the Metropolitan Varlaam. Sofronyi Pochaskiy used his experience
in Kyiv when setting up the new school in Iasi, but, as P. Panaitescu discovered,
he also took advice from a Greek, Theophilos Korydaleus, a friend of the
Constantinople Patriarch Kyrillos Loukaris who had re-organized the Greek
Academy in Constantinople19. Amongst the subjects taught at the new school were
rhetoric, dialectics, arithmetic, music, astronomy, theology, Old Slavonic,
Greek and Latin20.
We do not know the names of all the teachers who accompanied Pochaskiy, but
it is likely that one of them was Ihnatiy Ievlevych, a nephew of the former
rector of the Kyiv Collegium, who had gone on to study at Zamosc. He was in Iasi
in 1644-5, and by 1647 had returned to Kyiv21.
The printing-house at Iasi started work a little later than the school. At
first Moldavian ecclesiastics had tried to get help from Moscow in order to
print books in Moldavian. In 1636/7 Metropolitan Varlaam wrote to the Tsar
Michael Fedorovich “the book of St Callistius, the Exposition of the Holy
Gospel, translated into Romanian [‘voloski’] to be read by priests in church
to teach orthodox Vlachs, is now ready, and only needs to be printed and
published”22. After this unsuccessful attempt to get printing equipment from
Moscow, Vasile Lupu and Varlaam again asked for help from the Ukraine. On 12
January 1641Lupu wrote to the Lviv Brotherhood to thank them for the type for
the printing-house in Iasi23. Later another letter, dated 14 February 1642,
arrived in Lviv, from Sofronyi Pochaskyi24. Writing to the members of the Lviv
Brotherhood, Pochaskyi stated “When I recently was sent by His Highness, our
founder and benefactor, to Lviv to collect printing equipment for church use
among the people of Romania [‘Moldowallachia’], not only did I receive no
help from Your Honours… but I was even insulted”. This means that in the end
of 1641 or the beginning of 1642 Pochaskyi had visited Lviv to buy printing
materials for the Voivode. Probably the quarrel that arose at this time between
Petro Mohyla and the Lviv Brotherhood prevented members of the Brotherhood from
giving any help to one of Mohyla’s supporters. In the end we know from the
introduction of the Carte de invatatura (1643), that “the Most Holy Father
Petro Mohyla, son of the Moldavian voivode… sent a printing-press with all the
equipment”. The printing-house was established in the monastery of Trei
Ierarhi, and became subordinate to its abbot, Sofroniy Pochaskiy25.
Besides Pochaskiy, among the specialists who arrived from Kyiv were the
printers Father Samuil Rohalia and the monk Mikhail, and the engraver Ilia. The
name of Mikhail is given by Kiriak, but we know nothing more of him26. Much more
is known about Rohalia, who was referred to by Andriy Skolskiy, a famous Lviv
printer who also worked in Wallachia in 1635-7, as “Father Samuil, from
Vilnius, German [‘nemets’], printer”27. In 1636 among those who signed the
‘Zhalostnyi list’ (declaration in defence of the Orthodox church) by
Afanasyi Filipovych was ‘Samoil Rohalia, printer of the Brotherhood of Vilnius’28.
Later he lived in Lviv, where he took part in the election of Arsenyi
Zhelyborskyi as Bishop of Lviv, and in Kyiv29. Not later than November 1642
Rohalia arrived in Iasi. This date can be determined from letters of the Russian
diplomat and secret agent at the court of Vasile Lupu, Afanasiy Ordin-Nashchokin,
whose spiritual father and probably collaborator was Rohalia. The first letter
is dated 20 November 1642; in another letter Ordin-Nashchokin wrote “My
spiritual father, the ‘black priest’ Samuil … in Iasi… until my arrival
was living at Vasile’s court to print books”30. We do not know the exact
functions of Samuil Rohalia or Mikhail; their names do not appear in books
printed at Iasi, a common occurrence in Ukrainian and Romanian books at this
time. But probably Samuil Rohalia fulfilled the most important role; we know
from a letter of Ordin-Nashchokin in July 1643 that “the Metropolitan [i.e.
Mohyla] sent for him to return to Kyiv, in order to correct printed books”31.
Rohalia died shortly afterwards in Lviv, in 14 January 1644, after a journey
from the Pecherska Lavra to attend a book fair32.
The illustrator of the first books published by the Iasi printing-house, Ilia,
was one of the most famous Ukrainian engravers of this period, a protege of
Petro Mohyla and other members of the church hierarchy. His life and artistic
journeyings can be reconstructed from the large number of his signed and dated
woodcuts. He started work in 1637-9 in the printing-houses of Lviv, and was
probably a monk of the monastery of St Onuphrius, subordinated to the Lviv
Brotherhood, and a pupil of the Iierodiiakon Georghii33. A talented and
industrious engraver, he was soon invited to the Kyivo-Pecherska Lavra
printing-house where he made some woodcuts dated 164034. No woodcuts by him dated
1641 or 1642 appear in Ukrainian books (very unusual for such a prolific artist),
but woodcuts by him from these years appear in a book from the Iasi
printing-house35. We can assume that Ilia was one of the specialists sent by
Mohyla to Iasi, and that he returned to Kyiv not later than 164336. In Ukraine
Ilia created almost 500 woodcuts for such famous books as the Great Trebnyk
of Petro Mohyla (1646), the Pateryk Pecherskiy (1661), the unique
blockbook Bible (1645-9)37, and many others.
The first publication of the Iasi printing-house, the Decretul of the
patriarch Parthenius (20 Dec. 1642) has a title-page with a woodcut head-piece
and frame which can be attributed to Ilia38. The Decretul was published in
Greek type, which probably came from Father Berezhanskiy in Lviv39.
The next publication, the Carte de invatatura, a collection of
commentaries on the Gospels attributed to St Callistius, Patriarch of
Constantinople, and translated into Romanian by Varlaam, is decorated with many
woodcuts which are either similar to or exact copies of those in Ukrainian books
printed by Ivan Fedorov, Petro Mstyslavets, Fedir and Hedeon Balaban, Kyrylo
Trankvilion Stavrovetskiy and many others40. The second of the two variants of the
title frame, and 17 (19 in some copies) woodcuts are signed by Ilia41. In
comparing Ilia’s title frame with the first variant by an unknown artist, it
is possible to see his considerable professional skill in engraving. Ilia’s
illustrations in the text are not all of the same quality; beside such masterly
woodcuts as the Entry into Jerusalem or St George killing the dragon, and others,
in the second part of the book (which has a separate pagination), the Baptism of
Christ and the Holy martyr Theodore Tiron were apparently executed in haste.
Special attention should be paid to the full-page illustration of St Paraskeva
Petka of Epivat, whose relics Lupu had purchased at great expense, and had
transferred with great pomp from Istanbul to Iasi. The woodcut of St Petka by
Ilia follows the pattern of a hagiographical icon, and includes three scenes of
the transfer of the relics, where we see Lupu, the Turkish Sultan and their
escorts42. In later books from the Iasi press we can assign to Ilia the title
frame and coat of arms in the Pravile inparatesci (1646), which appeared
long after Ilia’s return to Kyiv43. In the Iasi printing-house there was also
published one of the first Romanian prints - a large woodcut panegyric signed by
Ilia in honour of Lupu and his family. The unique surviving copy of this print
was found by F. Dudas44. As Romanian scholars have noted, Ilia opened the line of
artist-illustrators of Moldavia; no other named engravers are known in this
The activity of the printing-house in the Trei Ierarhi monastery forms a very
short episode in the extensive and many-sided cultural exchanges between the
Ukraine and Romania during the time of Petro Mohyla, when after a long interval
book printing was restored in both Moldavia and Wallachia with the assistance of
many Ukrainian printers and artists. On the wider impact of the Ukrainians at
Iasi, Vasile Lupu’s successor, Gheorghie Stefan spoke of the ‘fine teachers,
full of enthusiasm for learning’ whom Mohyla had sent, and continued ‘we
know… what benefits our country has received from their scholarship’46.
Translated by Nicholas Smith
1. Ilia, St Paraskeva Petka, from the Carte de invatatura, woodcut, 190x130mm.
2. Ilia, Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem, 1641, from the Carte de invatatura,
3. Ilia, St George Killing the Dragon, from the Carte de invatatura,
1 I. Bianu, N. Hodos, Bibliografia romanesca veche, vol. 1, Bucharest
1903, p. 119, no. 41; p. 137, no. 45; p. 147, no. 47; p. 156, no. 50. In the
Supplement, p. 23, no. 19 is the Catehism (1642), and p. 25, no. 24 is
the Bucoavna (1651), printed in Iasi, but little is known of these
publications. A few other rare books, not mentioned by Bianu and Hodos, such as Paraclis
al nascatoarei de Dumnezeu (1645), can be associated with the Iasi
printing-house; see G. Strempel, Sprijinul acordat de Rusia tiparului Rominesc
in secolul al XVII-lea, Studii si cercetarii de bibliologie, vol. 1,
Bucharest 1955, p. 29.
2 H. Koliada, Iz istorii knigopechatnych sviazei Rossii, Ukrainy, Rumynii v
XVI-XVIII vv., U istokov russkogo knigopechataniia, Moscow 1959, p. 88.
3 N. Grigoras, Biserica Trei Ierarhi din Iasi, Iasi 1962; A. Dobjanschi,
V. Simion, Arta in epoca luiVasile Lupu, Bucharest 1979.
4 Pavel Aleppski, Puteshestvie antiokhiiskago patriarkha Makariia…, tr.
G. Murkos, Moscow 1896, p.62-5.
5 N. Grigoras, op. cit., p. 32-3; Istoricheskie sviazi narodov SSSR i
Rumynii v XV - nachale XVIII v., Moscow 1968, p. 26, no. 5; p. 55, no. 15; p.
57, no. 16; p. 69, no. 20.
6 This can also be seen in the illustrations by Ilia of one of the best books
from the printing-house, the Carte de invatatura.
7 For the literature on Varlaam, see F. Dudash, Cazania lui Varlaam in
Transilvania, Cluj-Napoca 1983, p. 24.
8 A.Rogov, Kulturnye sviazi Rossii s Balkanskimi stranami v pervoi polovine
XVII v., Sviazi Rossii s narodami Balkanskogo poluostrova, Moscow 1990, p.
9 P. Panaitescu, L’influence de l’oeuvre de Pierre Mogila dans les
principautes roumaines, Paris 1926, p. 55.
10 Dudash, op. cit., p. 25.
11 H. Koliada, Ukrainsko-rumynskie knigopechatnye sviazi v oblasti knizhnoi
ornamentiki, Problemyrukopisnoi i pechatnoi knigi, Moscow 1976, p.
12 Panaitescu, op. cit., p.62.
13 V. Kiriiak, Carte si tiparul in Moldova in secolele XVII-XVIII,
Chisinau 1977, p. 34.
14 M. Maksymovych, Sobranie sochinenii, vol. 3, Kyiv 1880, p. 695; S.
Golubev, Kievskii Mitropolit Petr Mogila i ego spodvizhniki, vol. 1, Kyiv
1883, p. 426-7.
15 F.Titov, Tipografiia Kievo-Pecherskoi Lavry, vol. 1, Kyiv 1916, p.
136; Id., Prilozheniia, Kyiv 1918, p.37-51; Ia. Zapasko, Ia. Isaevych, Pam’iatky
knyzhkovoho mystetstva. Kataloh starodrukiv, vydanykhna Ukraini, vol.
1, Lviv 1981, p. 41, no. 137.
16 Titov, Tipografiia… p. 201-3; Id., Prilozheniia, p. 291-305;
Zapasko, Isaevych p. 53, no. 228.
17 V. Askochenskii, Kiev s drevneishim ego uchilishchem Akademieiu, vol.
1, Kyiv 1855, p.158; Titov, Tipografia… p. 275.
18 I. Ohienko, Istoriia ukrainskoho drukarstva, vol. 1, Kyiv 1994, p.
19 Panaitescu, op. cit., p. 65.
20 Dobjanschi & Simion, op. cit., p. 20.
21 Panaitescu, op. cit., p. 67-8.
22 Istoricheski svazi, p.19.
23 Ib., p. 49-50, no. 13.
24 Holubev, vol. 2, Prilozheniia, p.203-5.
25 Koliada, Ukrainsko-rumynskie knigopechatnye sviazi, p. 206.
26 Kiriak, op. cit., p.34.
27 Ia. Isaevych, Preemniki pervopechatnika, Moscow 1981, p.81.
‘Nemets’ at this period could refer to any non-Slavonic speaker, so Samuil
may have been Lithuanian.
28 V. Korshunov, Afanasiy Filipovich; zhizn i tvorchestvo, Minsk 1965, p.
29 Isaevych, op. cit., p. 82.
30 N. Mokhov, Novye dannye ob organizatsii pervoi tipografii v Moldavii, Uchenye
zapiski Institutaistorii Moldavskogo filiala AN SSSR, Chisinau 1959,
p. 172; I. Galaktionov, Ranniaia perepiska A.L. Ordina-Nashchokina,
Saratov 1968, p. 13, 69-71.
31 Galaktionov, op. cit., p. 71.
32 Isaevych, op. cit., p. 81.
33 O. Yurchyshyn-Smith, The monk Ilia - illustrator of seventeenth-century
Ukrainian and Romanian books, Solanus, N.S. 13, London 1999, p.25-43. On
the illustration of the Baptism of the eunuch of the Emperor of Abyssinia in the
Apostol (Lviv 1639) Ilia’s signature is followed by the word ANAKZNOZ (elsewhere
shortened to ANAK or even A), which probably represents the Greek anaxios, ‘unworthy’.
Other instances of such additions to the names of Ukrainian printers of this
time are known - see Ukrainskie knigi kirillovskoi pechati XVI-XVIII vv.
Katalog izdanii, khraniashchikhsia v Gosudarstvennoi biblioteke SSSR im. V.I.
Lenina, vyp. 1, Moscow 1976, p. 13. In works of Romanian art historians,
another explanation of ANAKZNOZ is given, ‘Anagnoste’, a surname from the
northern Dobrudja, in order to prove that Ilia was of Romanian origin - see D.
Morarescu, Ilie Anagnoste, xylographe de Petru Movila et de Vasile Lupu, La
Roumanie d’aujourd’hui, no. 7, 1982, p. 35. This idea seems to be
unacceptable, as is his suggestion that Ilia came to Kyiv as one of Mohyla’s
retinue, and that his artistic career started there in 1630. Ilia arrived in
Kyiv not from Moldavia but from Lviv, and no woodcut of his is known in books
from the Pecherska Lavra before 1640.
34 Ukrainskie knigi… p. 49, nos. 200 & 201; p. 64, no. 706.
35 Carte de invatatura, Iasi 1643, title and ll. 86v and 124r. See also
Dudas, op. cit., p. 80-7.
36 Woodcuts dated 1643 by Ilia in books from the Kyivo-Pecherska Lavra, see Ukrainskie
knigi… vyp. 1, p. 64, no. 716; vyp. 2 pt 1, p. 69, no. 1592.
37 O. Yurchyshyn, Master Ilia’s Lytseva Bible, Print Quarterly, vol. XV,
London 1998, p. 389-95.
38 This ornamental frame is very similar to those on maps from the Lavra
printing-house, such as that in the Teratourgema of Athanasius
39 Holubev, vol. 2, Prilozheniia, p.203-5.
40 Koliada, Ukrainsko-rumynskie knigopechatnye sviazi, contains a detailed
survey of borrowings in the Carte de invatatura and other Romanian books.
41 Among surviving copies some have additional pages, which contain the two
extra woodcuts. See Dudas, op. cit., p. 81-2, figs 14 & 16.
42 A close parallel to this woodcut can be found in an icon from the ‘local’
range of the iconostasis of the church of Sts Paraskeva Piatnytsia and Paraskeva
Petka in Lviv, which was rebuilt after a fire in the 1640s at the expense of
Vasile Lupu. See Yurchyshyn-Smith, op. cit., p.31, figs 2-3.
43 At the foot of the text of the title-page are the initials S E. Cz., which
Panaitescu (p. 53) and Strempel (p. 31) assume to be those of the engraver; but
because these are not part of the woodcut, but printed from type, it seems more
likely that they are those of the printer.
44 Dudas, op. cit., p. 163-6.
45 Dobjanschi & Simion, op. cit., p. 64; Strempel, op. cit., p.
46 Panaitescu, op. cit., p. 66.
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