The uprising led by Bohdan Khmelnytsky dealt a significant blow to the Kyivan Uniate Metropolitanate. On the one hand, many clergy members were killed, and all property was taken from the left-bank of the Dnipro River; on the other hand, these processes undermined any possibility of understanding in the future between the two parts of the former Kyivan Metropolitanate. The next calamity the Uniate Metropolitanate suffered when Russia’s troops entered Lithuanian lands during the reign of King Alexei Mikhailovich. Many Basilian monks and representatives of the white clergy were expelled or killed. Later the Lithuanian-Polish Commonwealth conquered some land in the Tsardom of Muscovy, but all the Uniate Metropolitanate’s cathedras could not be recovered.
In 1677 Lviv Bishop Joseph Shumlyansky secretly joined the union, and in 1679 the bishop of Przemysl Innocent Vinnitsa joined. In the dioceses of Lviv (1700), Przemysl (1693) and Lutsk (1702), the union was not adopted in haste, but for a long time the bishops explained to the clergy and nobility the need for such a step. After the transition of western dioceses into the union, Muscovy Tsar Peter I led his army into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth to capture Metropolitan Lev Zalenskyj. On July 11, 1705, in the Polotsk monastery he slew six monks and hanged the hegumen. Peter was unable to capture the metropolitan, but Volyn Bishop Dionysius Zhabokyitsky was imprisoned and later died in prison. A few years after these events, those who remained faithful to the Orthodox Church in the commonwealth started to look at the union more favorably. And in 1708 the Lviv Stauropegion Brotherhood joined to the Uniate metropolitanate and in 1712 the Pochayiv monastery, and in 1721 the Krekhiv monastery.
During the reign of Metropolitan Lev Kiszka in 1720 a metropolitan council was held in Zamość. The council introduced a commemoration of the pope during the liturgy, decided to add the Filioque to the Creed, and forbade Orthodox from taking communion. The synod also introduced a number of Latin practices into the worship of the Uniate Metropolitanate, and drew special attention to the education of priests, particularly in the field of moral theology and catechism of the laity. Part of the reasoning was to strengthen the internal order of the metropolitanate. The resolutions of the Synod of Zamość, which was attended by the papal nuncio Jerome Grimaldi, were approved by the See of Rome in 1724 and officially published in Latin.
After Lev Kiszka, the metropolitan became Atanasii Sheptytsky, who introduced a series of internal reforms and established a new seminary. He was succeeded by Metropolitan Florian Hrebnicky.
In the middle of the eighteenth century the Russian Empire repeatedly tried to influence the religious policy of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in order to restore the Orthodox dioceses, and hence its influence on them. In 1760s with provocation from the Russian Empire the Koliyivshchyna rebellion broke out. Under the leadership of Maksym Zalizniak, a former lay brother at the Motronynsky Orthodox monastery, the rebels committed pogroms against Poles, Jews and Uniate clergy. The massacre in Uman was especially massive. The reasons for the uprising, in addition to provocation by Russia, were internal reasons, namely the disadvantaged situation of Ukrainians in the commonwealth compared to the Poles.
All of the Uniate priests in Right-bank Ukraine after the rebellion were replaced by Orthodox ones, and after the entry of the Russian troops (they entered the territory of the commonwealth to suppress the Haydamaky rebellion, since Catherine said she did not support Maksym Zalizniak’s uprising), Catherine ordered the all parishes to be transferred to the Orthodox Church and priests who refused to be arrested. In the Kyiv region alone 1,200 churches were taken. After the first partition of Poland (1772) in almost all regions (eastern Belarusian lands) that were part of the Russian Empire most Uniate parishes were forcibly transferred to the subordination of the Synod of St. Petersburg. A ban was placed on printing books. Only synod printing houses had the right to publish. Along with the parishes, monasteries were closed and Basilian monks were forbidden to preach. The church lost about 145 monasteries. In 1795 Catherine II abolished Uniate dioceses, and Metropolitan Theodor Rostotsky was sent to St. Petersburg (he could have chosen Rome, but wanted to be closer to the flock), where he died in 1805.
The life of the Uniate Kyivan Metropolitanate on the territory of the Russian Empire temporarily improved under the reign of Emperor Paul I, who opposed the forcible annexation of the Uniate parishes to Orthodoxy, and the Uniate Kyivan Metropolitanate was renewed. Many believers who were forcibly converted to the Orthodox Church returned to the Uniate Church. Three dioceses were restored within Russia: Polotsk, Lutsk and Brest. However, the next Russian emperor, Alexander I, tried to intervene in the Uniate Metropolitanate life as well as in the Roman Catholic Church. Specifically, in 1806 he appointed Irakly Lisovsky as metropolitan. (Management boards were established for the Catholics of both rites within the empire. A separate department for Latin and Eastern Rite existed.) But neither he nor his successor, Grygoriy Kokhanovych, were officially recognized by the Roman See (Lisovsky was regarded as the administrator of the metropolitanate). At the same time, the metropolitanate faced a threat of being converted to the Roman Church, which appealed to the Latin bishops. Due to the efforts Lisovsky and his successors, however, this was avoided. Lisovsky successively defended the autonomy of the Kyivan Metropolitanate, which at that time did not have sympathy in Rome.
Grygoriy Kokhanovych’s successor, Yosaf Bulgak, like his predecessors, was not recognized in Rome as the metropolitan. Bulgak was only an apostolic legate and was the last head of the Uniate Church in the Russian Empire. During his reign and with the assistance of the government he priest Iosif Semashko distanced himself from the Uniate clergy. He was one of the auditors of the Uniate board, which managed the metropolitanate, and members of which were loyal to the Russian authorities. In 1827, Semashko developed a plan to transfer the Uniate Metropolitanate into the Orthodox Church and submitted it for approval to Tsar Nicholas II, who, unlike his predecessors, did not tolerate the Uniates. The plan consisted in gradually adopting ritual practices of the metropolitanate to synodal standards as well as in reforming the metropolitanate administration. It was proposed to liquidate the metropolitanate and leave the two dioceses and concentrate their management in the hands of people faithful to the state. At the same time, Semashko zealously fought against the spread of the influence of the Basilian monasteries. In 1829 he was became bishop of Mstislav on the recommendation of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1831 the Pochayiv monastery was taken from the Basilians, and in 1832 the novitiate was liquidated. In 1834, Anthony Zubko, a supporter of Semashko’s, was appointed to the Brest cathedra.
The methods developed by Semashko were not too successful, but after the death of Bulgak, who strongly opposed the move to the Orthodox Church, activists from the metropolitanate and the imperial state government took decisive action. Troops entered villages with the Uniate parishes, recalcitrant priests were deported to Siberia, and some joined the Orthodox Church. On February 12, 1839, in Polotsk three bishops – Semashko, Zubko, and Vasilii Luzhynsky – officially declared their transfer to the Russian Orthodox Church. All priests who did not agree were forbidden from practicing their ministry. Thus the Uniate Metropolitanate of the territory of Russia was entirely eliminated.
The Kholm diocese, which was in the Warsaw kingdom, was not abolished in 1839. After the Polish uprising, however, the Russian authorities took it upon themselves to eliminate the diocese. Pro-Russian priest Voynitsky was appointed to manage the diocese. He was not recognized by Rome, which instead appointed Mykailo Kuzemsky. The latter the Russian authorities arrested and sent to Galicia. He was replaced by a Russophile from Galicia, Markel Popel, who introduces the commemoration of the Holy Synod and rejects the commemoration of the bishop of Rome. In 1874 in the village of Pratulyn, the church community, which did not want to join the Orthodox Church, gathered before the church and tried to prevent the priest appointed by Popel from entering. In response, the military men who came to the village opened fire killing 13 and wounding 180; and 580 people were taken to Siberia. All who died were canonized by the Catholic Church as martyrs on October 6, 1996.
But eventually signatures were collected for the transfer of the Kholm diocese to the Russian Orthodox Church. The formal accession took place on May 11, 1875. Two hundred Galician Russophiles replaced the dissenting priests.