Sylvester Kosiv (secular name Stefan-Adam Kosaw, Russian: Сильвестр Коссов, Ukrainian: Сильвестр Косів, Belarusian: Сільвестр Косаў; born Zharobychi, Vitebsk Voivodeship, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, died 13 April 1657) was a Ruthenian Orthodox metropolitan and Polish-Ruthenian writer. He served as metropolitan of Kiev, Galicia and all Ruthenia (1647–1657) during the Khmelnytsky uprising. His official title was Metropolitan of Kiev, Galicia and All-Ruthenia.


Kosiv was a descendant of a noble Belarusian family. He studied at the Kiev and Vilnius Brotherhood schools and at the Lublin Jesuit Collegium and Zamość Academy before beginning to teach at the Vilno and Lviv Dormition brotherhood schools. After finishing his education, Kosov accepted monastic vows at the Saint Trinity Monastery in Vilnius. With the opening of the Kiev Lavra School in 1631, Kosov be its lecturer on the request of Metropolitan Petro Mohyla becaming its prefect. In 1632-1635 he was the first prefect at the Kiev Collegium teaching courses on rhetoric and philosophy. At the same time in 1632 Kosov joined the Kiev Epiphany Brotherhood.

Bishop Sylvestr

In 1635 he became bishop of Belarus (eparchy of Mstsislaw, Orsha, and Mahiliow). Following the Union of Brest, the eparchy of Mstislaw, Orsha, and Mahiliow became the only Eastern Orthodox eparchy within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Belarus). In 1647 he became the metropolitan of Kiev. It happened just before the Khmelnytsky Uprising, a time of uncertainty in Ukraine and in the Ruthenian church. Kosov himself was strongly opposed to union with Tsardom of Russia, and also against unreserved alliance with Poland. He condemned the 1654 treaty of Pereyaslav between the Cossack Hetmanate and the Tsardom of Muscovy. Despite being critical of some of the policies of the Cossacks, he attempted to rectify the situation and along with the Patriarch of Jerusalem Paiseus gave Bohdan Khmelnytsky a hero's welcome when he entered Kiev in 2 January 1649 (Old Style 23 December 1648). Kosiv strived for an independent Ruthenian Orthodox Church that would be only under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, and he fought against the subjugation of the Kiev metropolate to Moscow.

In 1650 Sylvestr headed a delegation of the Orthodox clergy and Kiev voivode Adam Kisiel to the Polish Sejm in Warsaw and contribute to ratification of the 1649 treaty of Zboriv.


  • (in Polish) "Exegesis, to iest dawne sprave o szkolach Кiowskich i Winickich" (English: Exegesis, is the old issue on schools of Kiev and Vinnytsia, 1635) – about the Kiev Collegium, its program, advantages of studies in Latin and Liberal Arts (so called "septim artes liberalis", Seven Liberal Arts)
  • (in Polish) "Paterikon, abo Żywoty ss. ojców pieczarskich" (English: Patericon or the Life of Saint Fathers of [Kiev] Caves, 1635) – shortened version of the Kiev Caves Patericon that included list of Metropolitans from Michael (994–998) to Peter Mogila
  • (in Belarusian) "Дидаскалія, альбо наука о седми сакраментах, альбо таїнах" (English: Didascaliae, or a science about the seven sacraments, 1637)

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Preceded by
Peter Mogila
Metropolitan of Kiev, Galicia and All-Ruthenia
Succeeded by
Dionysius Balaban
Preceded by
Iosif Bobrikovich
Bishop of Belarus
Succeeded by
Iosif Kononovich-Horbacki