Ternopil scholars analyzed heritage of Sheptytskyy and Slipyy
The International Scientific and Practical Conference “Church in the context of national history and contemporary social realities” was held in Ternopil, Zarvanytsya and Zazdrist on 24-25 April 2015. The conference was dedicated to the 150th anniversary of birth of Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky and 70th anniversary of the release from prison of Patriarch Yosyp Slipyy, as reported by RISU journalist Volodymyr Moroz.
Therefore, the reports that have not been directly related to the theme, were projected onto the life of two prominent heads of the Greek Catholic Church of the twentieth century, their activities and the importance of their heritage. Overall, the conference had more than 60 speakers.
"The UGCC Synod of Bishops declared 2015 to be the year of Metropolitan Andriy. The Synod’s initiative was supported by public authorities, scientific and cultural community. A large number of activities scheduled throughout the year are intended to rediscover the figure of the Great Metropolitan for many Ukrainians. Today our scientific conference is one of such activities. Due to the discoveries of scholars and researchers, it will allow us not only to promote this figure, but also to discover unknown features of the great son of the Ukrainian people, which no exaggeration had created the whole "epoch" in the history of Ukraine ... His powerful figure had transferred our nation throughout two world wars. He did not lose courage and faith despite all the circumstances that historically were very often not favorable for Ukrainians. Today we see that his faith was not in vain, because Ukraine has survived in spite of everything,” said Archbishop, Metropolitan Vasyl Semeniuk in his speech.
Archbishop stressed the continuity of line of Andriy Sheptyts'kyi and Yosyp Slipyy.
“The Metropolitan was not mistaken in his choice. Patriarch Yosyp showed great example of invincibility, having endured with dignity the severe decades of prison. After his release, being in the West, he was a living witness of the persecuted Church in the USSR. His appearance in the West revived the religious life of the Ukrainian diaspora.
He continued the initiatives of his great predecessor, establishing everywhere the centers of Ukrainian cultural and religious life. The patriarch was a man who knew not rest, despite his old age. For many, he has long been a living symbol of indestructibility of the persecuted church that gave hope for its revival. In these days of Easter we remember that resurrection follows the cross,” said the hierarch.
Plenary and breakout sessions of the conference were held in Ternopil National Pedagogical University.
"We are talk to each other and our work is of practical value. Today in Ternopil region there is the dialogue between scholars and churches,” said the promoter of the conference, its organizing committee member, Doctor of History and Professor. Ella Bystrytska. “It is important that we have not only gathered to talk about important people, and the challenges that we face along with the Church, the state and civil society, and finally, about the unity of the Church, because this problem is closely related to issues of Ukrainian identity and our state.”
During the two plenary sessions 5 reports were delivered that disclosed not only what had been already studied, but emphasized the fact what would be needed to do in the future. In particular, Ph.D., Professor Anatoly Kolodnyy stressed that more attention should be paid to academic activity of Yosyp Slipyy aimed at revival of the Church in the diaspora.
Also the scholar calls "Let’s not actualize what’s not on the agenda today" regarding the union of the UOC-KP and UGCC, to which both denominations are not prepared, in contrast to the UOC-KP and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church.
“It is 1000 years from the death of the Holy Prince Volodymyr and Putin wants to launch his “Crimean Orthodoxy”, he explains. “They say that Volodymyr was baptized in Crimea. Saying the "Crimean font" was the first one and then come Kyiv, Novgorod and other citie. And here we must act. We must show that it was our baptism. After all, it was not the first baptism, because we have Askold.”
Unfortunately, still the history of the Church in Ukraine, and often the history of the UGCC are left at the mercy of those who instill the "Moscow Church" ideas, says professor Kolodnyy. However, Ukrainian society dire needs to realize and accept that the Orthodox believers should not feel good, if Greek Catholics are in trouble and Greek Catholics should not feel good, if the Orthodox are in trouble,” explains Ph.D Professor Peter Yarotskiy.
Interestingly enough, already in the two plenary sessions it was confirmed that secular scholars and scientists of the Churches have different views on the “Vatican’s Eastern policy.” This difference is a very strong incentive for further dialogue.
There were three sessions during the conference “Church in the context of national history and contemporary social realities”: “The historical context of religious formation characteristics and institutionalization of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church” (15 reports announced), “Prominent figures of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church” (26 reports announced) and "State - Church - Civil Society: Ukrainian context interaction (14 reports announced). There was no need to merge the sections for lack of speakers, as happens in some conferences.
In the evening of the first day, the participants of academic and cultural events went to St. Mary spiritual center in Zarvanytsya where they continued exchanging of ideas and plans for future cooperation. On 26 April, the Museum-Estate of Patriarch Yosyp Slipyy held the “Day of Patriarch Yosyp” with a Pontifical Liturgy and rich cultural program. In particular, the president of Roman society “Hagia Sophia” Fr Marco Yaroslav Semehen presented a commemorative medal of the Patriarch. The participants watched the documentary “Following the path of Patriarch’s sacrifice,” made a tour and listened to the Youth Choir of the Polytechnic University of Kyiv.
The scientific papers delivered in the conference were included in the collections. The publicshing house plans to distribute them in libraries.