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Vasyl Hryhorovych-Barskyi

Hryhorovych-Barskyi Vasyl Hryhorovych (01/01/1701, Litkovychi village, Kyiv region-07/10/1747, Kyiv) was a traveler, writer, translator, artist, and an alumnus of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. He was born into a family of Kyiv townspeople, originally coming from Bar in Podillya.

Despite his father’s critical attitude to academic education and his refusal to educate, Hryhorovych-Barskyi, with the support of his mother, as he claimed, began his studies at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. He studied in the Academy from 1715 to 1723, completing the class of rhetoric. Then he studied briefly at the Jesuit College in Lviv.
From 1724 to 1747 he traveled through Hungary, Bulgaria, Austria, Romania, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Macedonia, Palestine, Syria, Arabia, and Egypt, describing the life, customs, and culture of the lands and countries he had visited. During his travels, in 1734 he took a vow to become a monk, lived in monasteries most revered for Eastern Christianity, and got acquainted with their libraries.

At the invitation of the administration of the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Hryhorovych-Barskyi was to teach there Greek. However, shortly after his return to Kyiv in 1747, he died. He was buried in the Kyiv Epiphany Monastery near the Epiphany Cathedral.

During his 24-year journey, starting with his departure from Kyiv to Lviv and ending with his return from his last stay in Athos, Hryhorovych-Barskyi kept travel notes in which he recorded his impressions, everything that happened to him, and what he saw and experienced. The detail and comprehensiveness of the descriptions testify to the author’s observance, desire to understand the way of life and culture of different peoples. The value of the notes is that in addition to the descriptions, they contain original drawings, plans for about 150 landscapes, architectural complexes and individual structures.

After the death of Hryhorovych-Barskyi, his notes were very popular and were distributed in manuscript form. They were first published over 40 years after the author’s death under the title “Of pedestrian Vasiliy Grigorovich Barsky-Plaki-Albov, a native of Kiev, a monk of Antioch, travels to holy places located in Europe, Asia, and Africa … written by himself, etc. ”(St. Petersburg, 1788).

The notes were released in modern Ukrainian in 2000 under the title “Travels in the Holy Places of the East from 1723 to 1747” (K., 2000).

Vasyl Hryhorovych-Barskyi traveled to three parts of the world (Europe, Asia, Africa) and described local customs and life on his own initiative, his own resources, often being endangered. The young man’s desire for learning was strengthened and developed under the influence of his studies at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, where not only did he become acquainted with historical and geographical works but also were popular student journeys.

Source: Kyiv-Mohyla Academy Reflected in Names: XVII-XVIII, 2001.