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The election of His Beatitude Sviatoslav was a fantastic testimony for other Churches in Ukraine as well, Myroslav Marynovych

25.03.2021, 20:05
The election of His Beatitude Sviatoslav was a fantastic testimony for other Churches in Ukraine as well, Myroslav Marynovych - фото 1
The 10th anniversary of His Beatitude Sviatoslav is an important period in the life of the whole Church, in particular, the implementation of the strategy "Vibrant Parish - Meeting with the Living Christ." It is time to assess new challenges and think about a new development strategy in today's changing world. Myroslav Marynovych, a theologian, publicist, dissident, political prisoner, and now the UCU vice-rector, spoke about this and other issues in a “Good Conversation” program with Taras Babenchuk.

About the events of ten years ago - the resignation of Lubomyr Husar and election of Sviatoslav Shevchuk

When His Beatitude Lubomyr resigned in 2011, it came as a big surprise to many.

"I also learned about it from the press," says Myroslav Marynovych. – “…there was a feeling of gratitude to His Beatitude Lubomyr for his testimony - how to give away power, not to hold on to it. In a post-Soviet society this was a great testimony."

The next surprise for the general public was the election of a new Head of the UGCC: on March 23, 2011, the Synod of Bishops elected the youngest of the bishops, Sviatoslav Shevchuk.

"Yes, it was also a surprise, and, in a way, a testimony - the youngest bishop becomes the Patriarch. It meant that the Church was confident of herself - she felt her strength and could take such a step. In addition, it was a fantastic testimony for other Churches in Ukraine,” recalls the UCU vice-rector.

According to Mr. Myroslav, one of the main arguments for the bishops in choosing His Beatitude Sviatoslav was his excellent theological education, which was reflected in everything - his preaching, attitude, church life. "It was a very strong foundation, and everyone felt it," says Myroslav Marynovych.

On the importance of seeing the signs of the times and “the UGCC in a changing world”

During these 10 years, the UGCC has made significant steps in the development of her structures in Ukraine and the world: the creation of new metropolitanates, eparchies and exarchates, ordination of new bishops, and implementation of programs of various directions and levels. What does such active activity of the Church mean?

"As a layman, I will say: if His Beatitude Lubomyr restored the structures of the Church, then His Beatitude Sviatoslav took the next step, reflecting the new reality in which the Church lives. And this was very important, especially for the UGCC structures in the diaspora.

Myroslav Marynovych emphasizes that the issue of change, in particular, in the church sphere, is global.

"That's why we need to keep track of the signs of the times. And a lot will depend on how quickly we can read these new signs… Sooner or later the time of renewal will come ... If our old habits and traditions were not based on the Gospel, they will fall away by themselves. That's why it's so important to check yourself all the time to see if we recognize those signs of the times,” says the theologian.

On the relations of the UGCC with Rome

It is no secret that the Head of the UGCC, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, and Pope Francis have known each other for a long time. In this connection, at the time of the election of Bishop Sviatoslav as the Head of the Church, there were inflated expectations regarding the relations between Rome and the UGCC. In addition, over the years there have been significant changes in the Orthodox world - the shift of centers of influence from Moscow to Constantinople, and the Vatican must take into account all these factors.

"I can say that this impression - that Pope Francis has long been acquainted with His Beatitude Sviatoslav, and now everything will be easy - is very wrong."

Myroslav Marynovych explains: these are not the times when the Pope can lead the Church alone. And, secondly, the traditions of Ost politics in the Vatican are very strong. We need to move away from its erroneous logic. It takes time, but I think we will still see interesting decisions from the Pope."