The spiritual disfigurement from Soviet radiation remains

02.12.2010, 15:23
The latest act of vandalism against the memorial plaque to Patriarch Slipyj in Kharkiv is another manifestation of the somber and pathological consequences of the Ukrainian political and spiritual revival of the 20th century.
The latest act of vandalism against the memorial plaque to Patriarch Slipyj in Kharkiv is another manifestation of the somber and pathological consequences of the Ukrainian political and spiritual revival of the 20th century.

The level of the sacrifice that Josyf Slipyj made for the Ukrainian people is not easily attained by people traumatized by history. The trauma of this injury lies in the fact that the wounds and fractures are not visible for they were on the bodies of earlier generations. Today there remains a definite spiritual disfigurement from Soviet radiation. Only Christian endurance and specific sacrifices can heal this historical syndrome. In time the descendents of those who committed this sad, aggressive act in Kharkiv will feel the shame. There remain few people today who justify the horror of the Stalinist atrocities, who reject the diagnosis of psychosis when there is talk about show trials and the self-accusation of communists who were executed during the purges.

In time there will no longer be those who deny the Holodomor genocide and the testimonies of martyrs and confessors of faith such as Josyf Slipyj. I can personally attest to the great spirit of this man whose blessing I first received when I was seven years old and with whom I met later when I was still a teenager. The three years I studied at the seminary in Rome in a small, intimate community under the omophor of Patriarch Josyf transformed me forever.

Patriarch Josyf belonged to those spiritually committed figures of the 20th century who were determined to resist the biggest threat to society – raging totalitarianism. They are sinking into oblivion, but the memory of the Patriarch is returning. It will endure and with God’s help heal the Ukrainian vandals.


Borys GUDZIAK

1 December 2010 KyivPost