By Andrzej Bajor


The surname MOZHAYSKI comes from the city of Mozhaysk (Mozhaisk, Mojaisk – west of Moscow). The possible variants of this surname are:  Mozhaysky, Mozayski, Mozajski, and some others.


The surname MOZAROWSKI comes from the village of Mozhary (Mozhari, Mozari – in the county of Ovruch, Ukraine). The possible variants of this surname are: Mozharovsky, Mozarivsky, Mozariwskyj, as well as many others.


          In the year 1389, just a few of days before his death, the latter saint of the Russian Orthodox Church and of the Greek Catholic Church, namely Dmitri Ivanovich Donskoy, the grand prince of Muscovy, divided his Princedom among his sons. His son, Andrei, received Mozhaysk and a few other towns.

          Andrei Dmitrievich Mozhayski had two sons. One of them, Ivan, in the year 1454, was forced to escape to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by his enemy Vasilyi the 2nd, the great prince of Muscovy.

          Ivan Andreievich Mozhayski had two sons:  Andrei Mozhayski, married to Princess Eudoksja Czartoryska, was a landowner and a judge in the Province of Kiev; and the younger son, Semen Mozhayski, later called Semen Starodubowski, was a significant person during his epoch.

          Semen Mozhayski (Starodubowski) received huge donations from the grand princes of Lithuania including Homel, Tchernikhov, Bransk, Karachev, and Starodub. In the year 1492, Semen was forwarded with the Lithuanian army on Muscovy and captured Mozhaysk for a while. However, in a couple of months he was forced again, like his father Ivan, to leave Mozhaysk, because a large Russian army commanded by Prince Patrikeev was launched on Mozhaysk by Ivan the 3rd, the grand prince of Muscovy.

 In the year 1497, Semen Mozhayski commanded his army during the war between Lithuania and Moldova. However, early in the year 1500, he joined Muscovy as an ally, thus becoming an enemy to his previous donor, Alexander of Lithuania. The reason for this is not clear. The war was declared by Ivan the 3rd  , who forwarded his troops directly on Starodub. Semen had given up his Princedom without a single shot, and after joining his troops with the Russian army the united forces were then forwarded on Smolensk, however, without success. The war between Muscovy and Lithuania (1500 – 1503) was ended with a peace treaty, and the Princedom of Starodub was joined to Muscovy. From this time on, Semen Mozhayski has been known to historians as

Semen Starodubowski.

 It is also not clear how it had happened that in the year 1501 Semen (Mozhayski) was mentioned (in Stryjkowski’s Chronicle) as a guest at the coronation ceremony of  Alexander as he became the King of Poland. Most likely the customary practices in the beginning of 16th century were different than today. Another explanation is that Semen was fighting against Alexander of Lithuania, but not against the same Alexander as the King of Poland.

          Semen Ivanovich Mozhayski (Starodubowski) died in Starodub in the year 1505. He had two sons:  Prince Vasilyi Starodubowski, who was related to Vasilyi the 3rd, the grand prince of Muscovy; and the younger son, Gavrila Mozhayski, who lived in Slovechno in the county of Mozyr (now in northern Ukraine in the county of Ovruch). Thanks to an agreement signed by Semen Starodubowski with Prince Semen Czartoryski in the year 1502, all the lands belonging previously to Andrei Mozhayski, including Slovechno, Mozharichi, Horodec (Gorodets), Listvin, and others, were given back to Semen Starodubowski, and later to his son Gavrila.

          Gavrila Semenovich Mozhayski married to Princess Anna Soltan, a relative to the greekcatholic archbishop of Kiev, had four sons : Andrei, Ivan, Stepan, and Opanas. Gavrila died in Mozharichi, later called Mozhary, around the year 1530. His four sons, in the year 1570, had already been mentioned as being the Mozhayskis-Mozarowskis. One of them, Opanas, in the year 1574, received confirmation of his rights to “the lands of Mozhary” from Henry the 4th (de Valois), the King of Poland. However, in this document he was mentioned as the “landowner Opanas Havrilovich Mozarowski”.

          Gavrila Semenovich Mozhayski, i.e., the great-great-grandson of Saint Dmitri Donskoy, is thus believed to be the ancestor of all the Mozhayskis and the Mozarowskis in the world.

          For approximately the next two centuries, the Mozhayski-Mozarowski family fought against the (catholic) Chapter of Wilno (Vilnius), which, probably due to an erroneous decision of the State Office of Lithuania, had also received rights to the lands called Kamienszczyzna, including Slovechno. The milestones of this struggle were several court trials, a couple of invasions of Lithuanian soldiers on Slovechno and Mozhary, and also a one invasion of the Mozhayskis-Mozarowskis on the lands undoubtedly belonging to the Chapter of Wilno.

          During a large battle of Mozhary in the year 1756, with approximately five thousand people on both sides, the Lithuanian soldiers commanded by Prince Poniatowski, brother of the later king of Poland, were, unfortunately, equipped with guns. The Mozhayskis-Mozarowskis and another noblemen from the county of Ovruch were crushed completely. After the battle, the Lithuanian soldiers killed their enemies in a cruel manner and  their corpses were given to wild beasts in the forest.  The Lithuanian soldiers also destroyed the cemetery of the Mozhayski-Mozarowski family in Mozhary. Very many Mozhayskis-Mozarowskis then spread all over Ukraine, sometimes in a panic escape from their enemies. Those who remained in Mozhary were suppressed by their conquerors.

          During the last battle held in Mozhary in the year 1773, the Lithuanian soldiers killed many Mozhayskis-Mozarowskis and burnt the village, including the catholic and the orthodox churches. They also killed the priests of both churches, who tried to intercede for the defeated. The Mozhayskis-Mozarowskis, for approximately 30 years, were then treated like peasants.

          In the beginning of 19th century, i.e. in the times of revision of the titles of nobility by the tsarist government, a couple of the (Mozhayskis)-Mozarowskis had undertaken an attempt to receive the official confirmation of nobility. These included: Teodor Tymofiej Mozayskiy-Mozarowski (1802) in the name of himself, his brother, and his cousins; Szymon (Semen) Mozarowski (1802) in the name of himself and of his three brothers : Ignacy (Ignatius), Pawel (Paul), and Wawrzyniec (Laurence); and the three sons of Prokop Mozarowski (1811) : Alexander, Grzegorz (Gregory), and Bazyli (Vasily).

          The last court summons of the Mozhayskis-Mozarowskis against the Chapter of Wilno occurred most probably in the year 1764 (www.bkpan.poznan.pl/ELITY/SEJM1764/s27.htm).  Later, in the year 1775, the Chapter of Wilno sold the lands of Kamienszczyzna to Count Wincenty Potocki. The ruling of the court was unfavorable for this family; however, taken as late as in the beginning of 19th century. A revision of this ruling was made at St. Petersburg. On January 19th, 1820, the decision of the Senate of the Russian Empire, later confirmed by the Emperor Nicolai the 1st, was as follows :

1.     The lands called “Klucz Sloweczanski” or “Wolosc Sloweczanska”, known earlier as “Kamienszczyzna” become the property of Count Potocki.

2.     The Mozarowskis, i.e. the men who laid the court summons against the Chapter of Wilno, are confirmed as being noblemen according to the state regulations. (They were treated like peasants by Count Potocki – A.B.).

3.     The lands and houses, which were either possessed  or utilized by the Mozarowskis, became their own property and were excluded from the lands owned by Count Potocki.

4.     The Governor of Wohlynia became obliged to call a special committee for solving all of the practical problems. Such a committee, presided over by Baraniecki, and two judges:  Kazimierz Stefanski, from Zhitomir, and Leon Bajkowski, from Ovruch, began their activities in Mozhary on January 4th, 1822. The committee, within a few months, had questioned both of the parties, i.e. the Mozarowskis (20 witnesses) and Count Potocki (24 witnesses), and revised the documents returned from St. Petersburg, and also sent from Zhitomir. In its decision, also confirmed by the Governor of Wohlynia as late as on 19th July, 1829, the committee determined the land possessions of the Mozarowski family at Mozhary (and most probably also at the nearby village of Werpa – A.B.),  confirmed the precise register of those people who were using the name (Mozhayski)-Mozarowski, and those who were entitled to be called as noblemen.

   By the way, very many people had tried to suggest to the committee - like the descendants of  German settlers, later officially recognized as Germanchuk (or Hermanczuk) - that they are also the members of the Mozarowski family.

          The (Mozhayskis)-Mozarowskis living in Mozhary in 19th century, and having usually 10-15 hectars (25-35 acres) of farming land per one family, were only slightly richer compared to the peasants. It is quite probable that, not later than in the middle of 19th century, all of the active and educated (Mozhayskis)-Mozarowskis had left Mozhary for Zhitomir, Kiev, Kremenec, and a couple   of other cities in Ukraine. Two families are known to have emigrated to the Province of Lodomeria of the Austrian Empire.

 In the 1st half of 19th century, reading and writing was not a frequent case among those Mozarowskis who lived in villages and smaller cities. However, evidence exists that, even in the time of Stalin, a certain feeling of nobility was observed among the Mozarowskis living in Mozhary. During the collectivisation, an incredible thing had happened. Four years after establishing the 1st kolkhoz (mainly by peasants), the remaining private farmers (mainly the Mozarowskis and other members of the gentry) were forced by the Communist Party to join it. However, instead of joining it, in the year 1933, they had established their own – one might say – “an aristocratic kolkhoz”. It was odd, but, nevertheless, it was not illegal, even according to the communist regulations. So after the year 1933, and until 1950, the two kolkhozes - instead of one - were functioning in Mozhary.

          From private communications with 11 Mozarowski families from Ukraine, USA and Canada, I have learnt that eight of them, i.e. more than 70%, lost their fathers or grandfathers in the 1930’s, killed by Stalin.


This is then, very shortly, the history of the Mozhayski-Mozarowski family (the coat-of-arms of this family, i.e. of  the princes of Mozhaysk, is “Pogonia var. No. 3”), the descendants of Rurik (the 1st Russian prince), St. Vladimir the Great (Prince of Kiev), St. Alexander Nevskoy (Prince of Novgorod), and St. Dmitri Donskoy (the Grand Prince of Muscovy). The most prominent member of this family was Alexander Fedorovich Mozhaysky, a Russian admiral and a constructor of the 1st Russian airplane (www.airforce.ru/staff/who_is_who/m/m1.htm); and currently, Lieutenant-general Volodymyr Mykolayovych Mozharovski, the 1st Deputy Commander of the Land Forces of Ukraine (www.up.pims.org/CA-PfP/eng/ukraine/army/mozharovsky.htm).