German theologian to teach Christian ethics at Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv
Growing interest in religion – decreasing impact of Christian ethics? With this challenging question chosen as the topic of the inaugural lecture, German theologian Dr. Alois Buch started his teaching engagement in Ukraine as a Professor of Christian social sciences and contemporary ethics at the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) based in Lviv.
Professor Buch discussed the phenomenon which in its manifistations in Western Europe and USA is often called rediscovery of religion, re-sacralization, re-mythologization, re-spiritualisation or desecuralisation -- religion becoming new megatrend -- and asked the question: What is really rediscovered? God or projection? Is really religion coming back? And how it’s connected to ethics and moral life?
For the past 20 years Dr. Buch visited Ukraine 40 times as he was the director of the international philantropic foundation that supports many faith-based projects in Ukraine, including the Ukrainian Catholic University. After his retirement Dr. Buch accepted the offer of UCU’s rector the Rev. Borys Gudziak to contribute to the development of the University through teaching and research.
“UCU can set standards not only because of its value oriented activity and its aiming at the holistic excellence in providing scholarly social and spiritual formation but also because it’s based in Lviv with its cultural heritage and international orientation and this implies the bridging role which is both chance and challenge. This year I celebrated Christmas twice – at home according to Gregorian calendar and in Lviv according to Julian one. And I recalled when I was a child and we were celebrating Christmas: we were not allowed to enter the room with presents before mother lit the candle in a window in order to show that we are remembering church in persecution, including church in Ukraine. My mother would not imagine that many years after I’ll be invited to Ukraine to teach and to speak about all these ethical and spiritual issues,” noticed Dr. Buch.
About the Ukrainian Catholic University
The Ukrainian Catholic University was created as the successor to the Greek Catholic Theological Academy established during 1928-1929 by Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky in Lviv, at the time part of Poland. Josyf Slipyj became the academy's first rector. In 1944 it was closed down by the Soviet regime when the Ukrainian Catholic Church was repressed and went underground. During the Stalinist repression in Ukraine, students and staff were persecuted, exiled and martyred. The Ukrainian Catholic University in Rome, founded in 1963, continued the academy's functions under the leadership of Metropolitan Slipyj. In 1994, the original school was recreated under the name of Lviv Theological Academy, and in 1998, it became internationally recognized by the Congregation for Catholic Education. Then on June 28, 2002, the Academy was transformed into the Ukrainian Catholic University.