Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ukrainian author of the one of the first state constitutions in Europe

Pylyp Orlyk (1672–1742) was a Zaporozhian Cossacks’Hetman in exile, diplomat, secretary and close associate of Hetman Ivan Mazepa. Pylyp Orlyk was born in a family of Czech origin. Orlyk first studied at the Jesuit College in Vilnius and until 1694 at Kyiv Mohyla Academy. In 1698 he was appointed secretary of the consistory of Kyiv Metropolia. In 1699 he became a senior member of Hetman Ivan Mazepa's General Military Chancellery and 1706 was appointed general chancellor and at that position he was Mazepa's closest aide, facilitated Mazepa's secret correspondence with the Poles and Swedes, and assisted Mazepa in his efforts to form an anti-Russian coalition. After the Battle of Poltava in 1709, he escaped together with Hetman Ivan Mazepa and Swedish king Charles XII to Bender in the Principality of Moldavia, where Mazepa soon died. Pylyp Orlyk was then chosen as a Hetman in exile by the Cossacks and the Swedish king Charles XII. While in Bender Orlyk wrote one of the first state constitutions in Europe (preserving in the National Archives of Sweden, see photo). This Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk was confirmed by Charles XII and it also names him as the protector of Ukraine. Between 1711 and 1714, together with Crimean Tatars and small groups of Ukrainian Cossacks, Orlyk carried out unsuccessful raids into Right-bank Ukraine. Afterwards, Pylyp Orlyk now together with several other Cossacks followed the Swedish king Charles XII to Sweden via Vienna and Stralsund. Orlyk with his wife Hanna Hertsyk and six children arrived in Ystad, Sweden on the new year's day of 1716. They now lived in the city of Kristianstad for some years. Orlyk and his family left Stockholm in 1720 but as late as 1747 his widow and children received financial support from the Parliament of Sweden. Orlyk wrote numerous proclamations and essays about Ukraine including the 1710 Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk.
Orlik’s son Yakiv was born 1711 in Bender, Ottoman Empire. His fate is unknown but it is known for certain that his godfather was king Charles XII of Sweden.
Orlyk’s daughter Anastasiya married the Swedish nobleman and officer Johan Stenflycht (1681–1758) in 1723. Their son Carl Gustaf (b.1724) served as a captain in the French regiment Royal Pologne.
Orlyk’s son Hryhor was born in 1702 in Baturyn, Ukraine. His godfather was Hetman Ivan Mazepa. He studied at Lund University 1717–1718. After leaving Sweden in 1720 he first lived with his mother in Krakow, Poland. He later became a Lieutenant General in France where he called himself comte d'Orlik. Although he kept the contact with Sweden and in 1742 he also visited Stockholm. He was killed in 1759 at the Battle of Minden in Germany where he also is buried.
Learn more about Pylyp Orlyk at