The international conference on ‘Lviv Sobor’ held in Vienna
On 2–4 June 2016 an international conference “Arriving at a Common Narrative: The ‘Lviv Sobor’ of 1946 and Its Aftermath to the Present” gathered at the University of Vienna, Austria. Scholars from Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, USA, Vatican City—both Orthodox, from various jurisdictions, and Catholic, including Roman Catholics and Greco-Catholics—were invited by Pro Oriente, in cooperation with the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, to examine the circumstances of the “Lviv Sobor” from different perspectives.
Over the course of three days, the participants presented papers and discussed historical, theological, and canonical perspectives of the events of 1946, informs the official communique issued today by Pro Oriente. "The situation was examined in a broad context, starting from the nineteenth century until 1989. In discussion of the historical events, all sides concluded that political and geopolitical factors were decisive and played an exaggerated role in the planning and execution of the Sobor, whereas theological issues were marginal and overshadowed by political ideology", said organizers.
Yet they admit, that consensus was not reached on the role of certain aspects of the broad historical context, such as the relevance of the Union of Brest in 1596 in examining the “Lviv Sobor” of 1946. On the first evening of the conference, two public keynote addresses were presented at the Vienna Archbishop’s Palace by official representatives of the Russian Orthodox and Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Churches. The representative of the Russian Orthodox Church pointed out the strict connection between both events. The representative of the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church stressed the difference of their historical contexts, in particular the pressure of militant atheistic totalitarianism.
Official Russian Orthodox representatives were invited but did not attend in person, presenting their papers in absentia, thus making any kind of personal dialogue or conversation during the conference impossible.