MOGILA, PETER, Metropolitan of Kiev, theologian (1597–1646). Son of a Moldavian hospodar, Mogila studied in Poland and Holland, and may be described as a Westernizer, before becoming abbot of the famous Monastery of the Caves in Kiev (1627) and then metropolitan (1632). While at the monastery, he established a Latin-Polish school that competed with Kiev’s Slavano-Hellenic brotherhood school, and that had a Jesuit curriculum and staff. His consecration as metropolitan was highly irregular-at night in an unlit church, etc.-and afterward he was frequently nominated by Uniates (q.v.) to be a Western Russian patriarch simultaneously in communion with East and West.
He is best known for giving a highly Latinized response (i.e., not only composed in Latin, but reflecting Roman Catholic [q.v.] theology, including the Catechismus Romanus of Peter Canisius) to the Calvinist Confession of Cyril Lukaris (q.v.). This response was comprised of both a widely circulated Brief Catechism and an Orthodox Confession (1640), which was coauthored with others, or else falsely ascribed to Peter. Although the Confession (i.e., a statement of faith) was approved by the Synod of Jassy (1642), four patriarchates (q.v.), and other councils that condemned Lukaris, it is not considered “one of the primary witnesses to Orthodox doctrine” (Oxford Dict. of Chr. Ch., p. 928) by the Orthodox today, or in the recent past. The Confession is one of many unfortunate examples of the use of Roman Catholic polemics against problematical Calvinist influences within Orthodoxy, especially during this period in the Kievan and Muscovite churches.
Mogila also printed a priest’s liturgical book (q.v.) that caused a Latinization of rites, because he disregarded the Greek rubrics, Euchologion, and extant Slavic service books (Trebnik). He issued a reunion memorandum (1643) that outlined his plans for unity with Rome, but died before any action was taken. He is considered the most capable and powerful 17th c. churchman of Poland and Lithuania. His influence can be seen throughout Russia in succeeding centuries, and this era in Russian Church (q.v.) history is called the “Mogila Epoch.”