The last lover of the Empress – Іван Корсак

And the metropolitan told that a priest made an air-balloon for flights more than fifty years ago, and a clerk Kryakutniy from Nerehta made the same air-balloon for himself in 1731 in Russia. God let a man learn secrets of nature deeper, He gave him a mind for this, and there are no limits for this learning. God will take care himself about what is not given to know. It doesn’t matter if people fly by air-balloons, with help of wings, by unknown means, it’s not important, let only human mind be not lazy. Maybe our descendants will fly faster than any bird?”

Broyher Feophilakt began to tell ordinary people and wave his hands next day: “If I’m fed up with this life and the metropolitan allows, I’ll make wings and fly to fertile lands” – and he tried to show with his hands how he would float under clouds.

People only observed Feophilakt’s hands which had to bring him to promised lands.

“Can the lord bless this?” – They asked each other again to make sure.

“He’ll let me! He lets everybody!” – A monk crossed himself for verification widely, so as he was showing his flight.

People had been blowing for a long time, considering gimmick which they heard from a monk, they believed and didn’t believe in Feophilakt’s boast, but rumours were already spreading, people were retailing news, adding something from them, because this life was too depressing.

The metropolitan Arceniy’s words about descendants flying faster than any bird would come true, and a descendant of his family Levko Matsievich would gain the world glory as a pilot, air and water engineer. He would erupt like a dazzling meteor on the horizon of human memory; he would manage to do so much till his age of thirty tree years. Levko Makarovich Matsievich would master the science of shipbuilding in Germany, aviation in France, in a famous Anry Farman’s aviation club, where he would certification of a pilot; Matsievich would fulfil the first night flights, give projects of fourteen submarines, first aircraft carrier for 25 planes in the world, prepare a book on aeronautics, and die in the skies over St. Petersburg in front of the crowd of 175,000 thousand people. “Our best aviator died” – the press would write – “he was appointed to the leaders of the aviation business by fate.” More than one hundred thousand of his fans would see him on his last journey, and his friend Simon Petlura would put circlet of flowers from Ukrainian Community among three hundred fifty wreaths, he would tell a report about life of his famous countryman and friend at the party of honoring the memory. And Levko Matsievich would organize workers’ theater with Ukrainian repertoire in Sevastopol; carry out the celebration of anniversaries of Taras Shevchenko. Eugene Raht would write about him and his friends, “They were revolutionaries at heart, dreamed of separation of Mala Rus.” A photo of opening a monument to Ivan Kotlyarevskiy in Poltava. Nickolay Mihnovskiy, the author of a programme “Independent Ukraine”, was standing near Levko Matsievich, Michael Starytskyi, Eugene Chikalenko, Nikolai Arkas, Sergey Efremov, Elena Pchilka, Michael Kotsjubinsky, Lesia Ukrainka.

They are standing together among famous people of Ukrainian history.

Alexander Oles printed an obituary to L. Matsievich in the newspaper “Sovet” obituary on the 1st of October, 1910, “He was ours in spirit and in blood. Ukrainian Community must honor his memory independently from the rest. People are collecting donations for the monument to Matsievich. This comforting message can only please us, but not calm.

We must honor Matsievich’s memory ourselves, with feeling of deep surprise and pride, and erect a bust of him, at least, in the heart of Ukraine, Kiev.

Lev Makarovich was ours; Ukrainian, our companion and he would remain ornament and honor, first of all of our forgotten nation.”

And Nikolay Voronoy would express his vision of Lev Makarovich in such a way, “Matsievich’s fame spread throughout the world, but Ukraine has the honor that one of its sons wrote his name down in scrolls of human progress.”


Stepan Ivanovich Sheshkovskiy was entering the empress’s hall so as if he were walking with bare heels on a red-hot floor, he didn’t want to go, but whether an invisible force, or duty, or fear of self-force pushed him in the back; if he didn’t report, he would be guilty.

“Your Majesty, there is an annoying news” – he inhaled air, as if he was about to dive – “metropolitan Arceniy’s letters are found in some towns, I’m sorry, the Lier’s letters… Letters are delivered here and now it is being checked if they are true… Our people took them in Pskov, Kholmogory, Novgorod, Yaroslavl, Rostov. By the way, this lier appeals to You too, asking to conduct the most thorough investigation of the murder of Ivan Antonovich. If it isn’t done, Your Majesty will be considered an accomplice of the murder.”

After a long silence, to Stepan Ivanovich’s surprise, the empress’s face remained immovable, she only drank a small sip of water.

“Who guarded the Lier?”

“Four soldiers and one officer.”

“Officer must be reduced to the ranks, whips and servitude are for soldiers.”

Sheshkovskiy was surprised at the empress’s calmness from annoying news but this calmness had neither part nor lot in indifference, the empress managed to control herself constrainedly. She could expect resistance to her intentions everywhere – from courtiers with their endless intrigues, from army where soldiers were underfeed and officers had not seen their pay for half-year, from tribal nobility in the province, who considered themselves to be autocratic kings, having right to pardon and punish up to death, but she didn’t expect this from Russian clergy, tamed by Peter I long ago, lured and intimidated. And not even from the whole clergy but from one man who was aged, suffered from scurvy, bald, wrinkled, and flattened. She could negotiate and bargain with everybody, by gold, by hot and thirsty body, by manors, ranks, but she was helpless only with one man. Name of Arceniy Matsievich stuck as a constant threat, indestructible and overwhelming, he was hidden in a hole which was far away from active world, but he managed to rile water even from there.

It was out of place, especially because they didn’t have to waste time with church reforms – who knew, maybe unrest would break out. Only one hundred and sixty one monasteries remained in Russia from seven hundred and thirty two, and only thirty nine convents from two hundred and twenty two. She knows whom to give lands taken from monasteries and churches, but now seven eights from this four million encome goes to treasury, as chancellor reported. Despite disagreements of Synod, new Synod public prosecutor Melissino forces reforms: he insists on reducing of Lents, banning bringing icons into houses, to allow the bishops to marry, to cancel the wake of dead, to allow more than three marriages, to ban to communicate children under ten.

“Not to stop Lier’s case” – the empress interrupted her thoughts – “and Mirovich, how does he conduct himself?”

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