Languages

 

Анонси

IES invites to the 14-th Ecumenical Social Week, October 5-9, 2021

The annual international forum Ecumenical Social Week (ESW) unites the resources of the community, public authorities, mass media, social organizations, Churches, educators and youth organizations to discuss and solve social issues, in light of human values, religious social teaching, and the principles of sustainable development.

We invite attendees to discuss the Sustainable Development Goals, religious social teaching, and the creation of a platform for interdisciplinary exchange of experience and dialogue. We aim to establish communication between all the players of social change and, through their messages, to grasp today’s challenges, the ways of solving pressing issues, and the building of a just world.

Within the forum we shall hold diverse international events: conferences, seminars, discussion panels, and presentations in these fields:

- Environment (conservation of forests, biodiversity, terrestrial and marine ecosystems, end of the fossil fuel era, climate change, and sustainable cities);

- Economy and business (sustainable development and the contribution of business, European Green Deal);

- Ecumenical, interreligious dialogue and Sustainable Development Goals;

- Inclusivity;

- Issues regarding peacebuilding;

- Theological events; and other.

Keynote speakers:

Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ, Under-Secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development;

Dafina Gercheva, United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative in Ukraine;

Johan de Tavernier, Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies KU Leuven;

and others.

Organizers: Institute of Ecumenical Studies, Ukrainian Catholic University, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Lviv City Council

Main academic partner: KU Leuven

Sponsor of Ukrainian Christian Academic Society: Renovabis

Experts and partners: NGO “UCU Alumni”, Environmental Department of the Lviv City Council, International Charity Environment People Law, UCU Lviv Business School, UCU Institute of Religion and Society, Laudato Si' Movement (formerly Global Catholic Climate Movement), Emmaus Center for Support of Persons with Special Needs, WWF and others.

How to join?

Taking into consideration the COVID-19 restrictions, the number of attendees in the venue will be restricted. It is important for us to care for the health of one other, thus, all events will be also held online via ZOOM, and livestreams on social networks and YouTube.

To attend the forum and receive links to ZOOM and the livestreams, you must register by October 4, 2021.

You can find all the details at: www.esweek.org.ua

Project coordinator: Iryna Kitura, irakit@ucu.edu.ua

2021 IAMS Europe Webinars, 12 November 2021, 12:00-14:00 (CET)

Missions towards Human Dignity: Challenges from within and beyond the Black Sea region

“Having Hope” is a National Repentance Forum started on the 100th anniversary of the Russian Catastrophe in 1917. It is a call addressed at those whose hearts ache for the fate of Russia, Russian people and Russian church. The Forum calls those who participate to demand full deCommunization, to restore the best Russian traditions, to remember not only the honour and worth of every human person, but also a sense of nobility and generosity.

Kirill Mozgov is a Russian philologist and holds his BA in Theology from St Philaret Christian Orthodox Institute (SFI, Moscow) and his MA in Theology from the Russian Christian Academy of Humanities (RCHHA, St Petersburg). He is a lecturer History of Catechism and Church Slavonic. Kirill is also the Head of the SFI Publishing House. Since 2015 he is also the Head of St Seraphim Orthodox Brotherhood.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia saw an unprecedented interest in Christian faith and church life, with the hope to restore the religious aspect of human dignity. Yet, deprived of any religious upbringing, most people found it hard to enter the church. The practice of prolonged catechumenate that was developed in the Transfiguration Fellowship of Minor Orthodox Brotherhoods served to help those seeking God to discover the Scriptures and bring their life in accordance with the teaching of Christ. The presentation examines how the principles of catechumenal practice of the ancient church are applied in today’s Russia in order to restore human dignity.

Vladimir Yakuntsev holds his BA from St Philaret Christian Orthodox Institute (SFI, Moscow) and MA in Theology from the Russian Christian Academy of Humanities (RCHHA, St Petersburg). He is Head of the Research Centre for Mission and Catechesis at SFI and a lecturer in Missiology and Catechetics. From 2000 to 2020 he was also the Head of St Sergius Orthodox Brotherhood.

Zoom: https://wwu.zoom.us/j/96937117931; Code: summer

Ecumenism and Peacebuilding: a Platform for Overcoming the Ukrainian Crisis to create in Lviv

International experience in peacebuilding – for achieving just comprehension in Ukraine.

On August 4-5, 2021 at 5:00 pm. a two-day online seminar “Ecumenism and Peacebuilding: International Lessons for Ukraine” will take place. The Institute of Ecumenical Studies, in cooperation with both Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and international academic partners, intends to gather scholars and activists willing to ponder the relevance and applicability of foreign peacekeeping expertise.

Within the project, we shall organize an introductory two-day meeting-discussion, when the experts will present the situation in Ukraine, and also the international experience of the Church and religious organizations in the field of peacebuilding. The meeting participants will have an opportunity to debate and exchange thoughts regarding the prospects of the Church influence upon the creation of just peace in Ukraine and abroad.

“The role of churches and religious leaders is extremely important in creating a new approach to peacebuilding. Firstly, religion enjoys one of the highest ratings of social trust in Ukraine. This is notable in a society that generally suffers from a deficit of authority. This creates a window of opportunity for churches to act as forces of peace and reconciliation. Secondly, the churches and religions themselves would benefit from deepening their commitment to dialogue, since inter-denominational tensions occur. Thirdly, churches and religious communities in Ukraine—through their international networks, are connected to partners in countries which have vast expertise in peacebuilding and reconciliation” - Pavlo Smytsnyuk, IES director, defines.

Since 2014, Ukrainian society has been dealing with the realities of а hybrid war with Russia and Russia-backed separatists, marked by thousands of deaths and injuries, at least 1.5 million internally displaced persons, destroyed infrastructure, and social polarisation. This situation—completely novel to modern Ukraine—requires taking steps, through dialogue and academic research, in order to create a just peace, civic understanding, and lay the groundwork for the future reintegration of people from temporarily occupied territories. Due to the unprecedented nature of the situation and lack of peacebuilding expertise in Ukraine, it is important to apply relevant international experience in conflict resolution.

Program:

August 4

17:00-17:20 Dr. Yaroslav Hrytsak, a Ukrainian scholar, historian and publicist, Doctor in History, a professor at the Ukrainian Catholic University

17:20-18:00 Q&A. Discussion

August 5

17:00-17:20 Dr. Gerard Powers, Director, Catholic Peacebuilding Studies, an expert in peacebuilding in Europe, Latin America and the Philippines, professor of the Notre Dame University, USA

17:20-18:00 Q&A. Discussion

 

These meeting will become the starting point for further seminars on peacebuilding, that will take place online till November 2021.

Details: http://www.ecumenicalstudies.org.ua

Contact person: Iryna Kitura, irakit@ucu.edu.ua

Registration

Universal Authority in Flux: Primacy, Catholicity and World Governance

Joint panel by Institute of Ecumenical Studies, Ukrainian Catholic University and Superior Institute of Ecumenical Studies, Catholic Institute of Paris will be held on September 1, 2021

 

The event will take place in the first of September t 8.30am-10.45am.

Hybrid, DPL23.208/Philosophikum (Domplatz 23).

https://www.europeanacademyofreligion.org/euare2021

On March 27, 2020, Pope Francis appeared alone in a completely empty St. Peter’s Square to pray for the end of the pandemic. The event, described as Statio Orbis (the gathering of the world), was a moment in which the Pope appeared to be the only one who could speak on behalf of all humanity, asserting an authority that aspired to be totally universal. This panel aims to explore the question of universal authority—ecclesial and political—in the new context of technological development, ecological crisis, globalisation and ‘post-truth’. We approach this from a variety of angles. Several questions arise from the ecclesiological perspective. How this new context impacts the relationship between primacy and synodality, universality and particularity, the One and the Many? How does the fading of ecclesial mediation in the age of the internet reinforce the authority of the highest-ranking religious leaders? From the perspective of ecumenical theology, the question is of how the evolution of the universal and regional primacies affects their reception within and beyond their churches, and what reforms would enable such a reception? From the perspective of political theology, the question concerns the analogy between an articulation of universal leadership: Can primacy serve as a model in the discussion of changes in world governance, and vice-versa? What are the conditions of truth-telling in the age of fake news, from the perspective of universal leadership?

Chair:

Peter De Mey (KU Leuven)

Speakers:

Fáinche Ryan (Trinity College Dublin), “Prudentia, Parrhesia and Decision-making”

Amphilochios Miltos (Theological Academy of Volos), “Primacy and Territoriality”

Luc Forestier (Catholic Institute of Paris) “Catholicity or Universality? Towards an Ecumenical Form of Governance for the Global Church”

Pavlo Smytsnyuk (Ukrainian Catholic University) “The Uneasy Business of Universality: Western and Eastern Struggles with Catholicity”

Joint panel by Institute of Ecumenical Studies, Ukrainian Catholic University and Superior Institute of Ecumenical Studies, Catholic Institute of Paris.

Short biographies

Prof. Peter De Mey (Dendermonde, 1966) is full Professor of Roman-Catholic ecclesiology and ecumenism at the Research Unit Systematic Theology and the Study of Religions, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven. He is involved in the Centre for Ecumenical Research, the Centre for the Study of the Second Vatican Council, and the Louvain Center for Eastern and Oriental Christianity. During 2004-2010, he was secretary and then president of Societas Oecumenica, the European Society for Ecumenical Research. Since 2005 he is a member of the Board of the National Commission for Ecumenism (and its president since 2010) and copresident of the Dialogue Commission with the United Protestant Church in Belgium. Peter De Mey publishes regularly in periodicals and collective volumes about the development of the Catholic view on ecumenism prior to Vatican II, the redaction history and interpretation of Lumen Gentium, Unitatis Redintegratio and Orientalium Ecclesiarum, post-conciliar Roman Catholic ecclesiology and ecclesiological themes in the bilateral and multilateral ecumenical dialogue.

Dr Fáinche Ryan is a lecturer in Systematic Theology at the Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin where she was Director from 2016 - 2020. Her work centres on the theology of Thomas Aquinas, ecclesiology, in particular questions of ministry and leadership - and theological anthropology. Her current research is on truth-telling and the virtue of prudentia.

Archimandrite Amphilochios Miltos (born in Volos in 1983) has studied Greek Philology and Theology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. With a scholarship of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece and of the Catholic Committee for the Cultural cooperation of the Pontifical Council for the unity of the Christians, he did his postgraduate studies in Paris (2011-2017). He holds a Master’s Degree in History of Religions and a PhD in History (ParisSorbonne University); and Master’s Degree in dogmatic Theology and a PhD in Theology (Catholic Institute of Paris). His doctorate thesis (Catholic Collegiality and Orthodox Synodality) has been published in the collection of “Unam sanctam, nouvelle série” (Paris, Editions du Cerf). He serves as Secretary and parish priest of the Diocese of Demetrias (Volos, Greece) and is member of the Academic Team of the Volos Academy for the Theological Studies. He is also Member of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

Dr Luc Forestier, member of the French oratory, has been a student chaplain, parish priest, rector of a shrine, and professor of ecclesiology at the Theologicum, the Faculty of Theology and Religious Sciences at the Institut Catholique de Paris. Member of the Groupe des Dombes, he pursues his research in an ecumenical and interdisciplinary context on the reception of Vatican II, on synodality and ministries, as well as on the relations between Judaism and Christianity.

Dr Pavlo Smytsnyuk is the Director of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies at the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) in Lviv, and a Senior Lecturer at UCU’s Theology Faculty. He also lectures theology at St Thomas Aquinas Institute and Three Holy Hierarchs Theological Seminary in Kyiv. Pavlo studied Philosophy and Theology in Rome, Athens and St Petersburg, and holds a Doctorate from the University of Oxford. His main interests are in political theology, ecumenism, nationalism and religion, as well as colonial studies.

Seminar of the Ukrainian Christian Academic Society

Presentation of the Study by the Saint Irenaeus Joint Orthodox-Catholic Working Group «Serving Communion: Re-thinking the Relationship between Primacy and Synodality»

September 10, 2021 15.00-18.00 (Kyiv time).

Working languages: Ukrainian and English with simultaneous translation.

Presentation of the Study by the Saint Irenaeus Joint Orthodox-Catholic Working Group «Serving Communion: Re-thinking the Relationship between Primacy and Synodality»

Members of the St. Irenaeus group

  • Johannes Oeldemann, Director of the Johann-Adam-Möhler-Institut, Paderborn (Germany).
  • Rev Cyril Hovorun, Professor at Sankt Ignatios College, Stockholm School of Theology (Sweden).

Respondents:

  • Pavlo Smytsnyuk, Director of the UCU Institute of Ecumenical Studies Lviv (Ukraine).
  • Sergii Bortnyk, Lecturer at the Kyiv Theological Academy, member of the UOC Department of External Church Relations Kyiv (Ukraine).

Registration

IES will hold an Online Ecumenical School for Dialogue on July 5-16, 2021

The Final Application Deadline is May 31, 2021.

Institute of Ecumenical Studies at the Ukrainian Catholic University is organizing an Online Ecumenical School for Dialogue 2021 “Ukraine at the Crossroad between East and West: Religious, Social and Geopolitical Dimensions” for those interested in theology, philosophy, humanities, politics, history and reconciliation.

ESD will last for 13 days (three hours per day: 16:00-19:00 CET) and will consist of online lectures, discussions, seminars, video-presentations and virtual excursions.

ESD offers 4 ECTS credits for participation at the school’s online events and homework.

Working language – English!

Goals of the School:

- to study key political, social and religious processes occurring in Ukraine and throughout the region;

- to introduce various aspects of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine (geopolitical, ethnic, religious, ideological);

- to investigate the inter-denominational experience of the 2014 Maidan Revolution (The Revolution of Dignity) and its impact on the dialogue and cooperation within broader society;

- to study the ecumenical situation in Ukraine, marked by the challenges of the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue;

- to study the implications of the creation of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the reaction of the Russian Orthodox church to it, and the implications for the inter-Orthodox unity;

- to evaluate Eastern Christian contributions to the field of ecumenism and peacebuilding;

- to discuss creative proposals in order to deal with the situation of conflicts and wars, and cultivate an atmosphere of trust between the Churches, societies and states;

- to foster an understanding of Ukraine and its neighbours, in order to understand Europe better, by engaging with the insider perspectives.

More Information

Contacts: Rev. Roman Fihas, Coordinator romano@ucu.edu.ua

To enroll in ESD, please submit the Application Form

The First Application Deadline: April 25, 2021.

The First Notification of Admission: April 27, 2021.

The Final Application Deadline: May 31, 2021.

The Final Notification of Admission: June 5, 2021.

ESD 2021 is free this year due to the support of the Mainz Diocese (Germany).


Christmas Greetings 2020-21

United in joy – united in faith!

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Is. 9.6

Let the grace of the newborn Messiah fills our hearts with joy and peace.

Wishing you Merry Christmas!

The team of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies.

International Forum 13th Ecumenical Social Week

"Hear the Cry of the Earth: Integral Ecology in Action" 7-10 October 2020, Lviv, Ukraine

Keynote speakers: Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prof. Jürgen Moltmann, Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis.

The annual Ecumenical Social Week (ESW) international forum addresses urgent social issues based on universal values ​​and the Church's social doctrine and, in this way, promotes ecumenical dialogue in the social sphere. It brings together the resources of the community, churches and religious organisations, government, the media, academics and educators, and social and youth organisations.

This year's forum is dedicated to the topic of integral ecology. The connection of spiritual, ethical, political, economic, and social approaches in solving environmental problems is the essence of integral ecology.

ESW seeks to involve experts in the discussion of environmental problems and to create a platform for the interdisciplinary exchange of experience and dialogue. We wish to establish communication between all agents of environmental change and, through their messages, to ‘hear the cry of the Earth’.

Organisers: Institute of Ecumenical Studies at the Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv City Council, Lviv Regional Council, Lviv Polytechnic National University, UGCC Ecological Bureau, the public organisation “Center of Eco-Theology and Sustainable Development”, the “Clean City” initiative, and the Christian churches of Lviv.

To attend the English-speaking sessions online (via ZOOM), please register.

Registration deadline is October, 6.

If you have any questions - irakit@ucu.edu.ua, visit our website www.esweek.org.ua/en

Program of the 13-th Ecumenical Social Week.

 

Easter Greetings 2020

Institute of Ecumenical Studies congratulates with the bright feast of Jesus Christ's Resurrection

The Institute of Ecumenical Studies of the Ukrainian Catholic University sincerely congratulates all its friends with the bright feast of Jesus Christ's Resurrection.

Let the Easter light, that conquers any darkness, illuminate our life, overcome separation, and bring us joy of unity.

“We want to be an example of how people of different backgrounds can come together”: An Interview with Fr. Dr. Roman Fihas

Fr. Dr. Roman Fihas is a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest and co-ordinator of the English-language Distance Learning Master’s Program in Ecumenical Studies at the Ukrainian Catholic University. In late 2018 he discussed the activities and ethos of this vibrant university while showing the East-West Church Report around its campus in the western city of Lviv. The conversation took place in English.

It is striking how many worship services there are in churches in Lviv, and the significant number of young people attending. Is this a growing trend?

It started in 1991, when Ukraine obtained independence and the Greek Catholic Church was coming out from underground. There was a religious boom—people were witnessing that they were against the totalitarian regime, and so to be religious was popular. Almost everyone came to church! Right now, this boom is diminishing a little, but we still have a lot of people attending church. Compared with central or eastern Ukraine, the number is much higher. This is because we only had 50 years of the Communist regime here, while the central and eastern parts of Ukraine had 20 years more—one more generation.

So in Lviv, for example we have around 80 Greek Catholic churches. On Sundays in the big parishes they have a liturgy—which lasts between one and two hours—every two hours, starting from the morning until about six or seven in the evening. In the suburb of Sykhiv there is one parish dedicated to the Nativity of the Mother of God where eight or 10 priests minister. It has a catechetical school where around 1,500 pupils attend classes at least once a week. This church was built up from scratch. It is a very lively parish, offering assistance to those dependent on alcohol or drugs, general counseling services, and various programs for young people. Some parishes are more active, some less. Sometimes, of course, the older generation is more represented in church than the young. But usually people have a tradition of going to church.

Did you yourself grow up in a Christian family?

My parents are Christian but they were not so religious. They baptized my brother and me, but there were no Greek Catholic churches open for them to go to. Maybe once a year they attended some liturgy, but not often.

So you came to active faith after the collapse of the Soviet Union?

Yes. We started to attend liturgies in the 1990s when Ukraine had become independent and churches began to open. I then attended a Greek Catholic lyceum here in Lviv which had a very positive atmosphere—I had many friends and studied a lot of theological topics. This study of theology was like a revelation to me. It brought me to an understanding of my faith as more than just a custom. Afterwards I felt a calling to be a priest and I decided to go to seminary here. That study lasts seven years, and I graduated in 2004.

We now have around 200 seminarians in Lviv. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church also has three seminaries in the cities of Kyiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Ternopil. Greek Catholic monastic religious orders, such as the Basilians and Redemptorists, have their own seminaries as well.

I am a married priest—I have three children. We live in the Collegium building along with the students, here on campus. This is because we are trying to offer students a program of personal formation as well as study. They receive knowledge, but their personal formation and intercommunication are also important.

What is your teaching role here?

I work at the Institute of Ecumenical Studies, which was founded in 2004 by Fr. Iwan Dacko—who was a secretary to Patriarch and Cardinal Josyf Slipyj in Rome—together with Dr. Antoine Arjakovsky, an Orthodox professor from Paris. Ecumenism is a priority for our university. On the territory of Ukraine we have two Orthodox Churches, as well as two Catholic Churches—Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic. We have Protestants, also Jews, Muslims, and other religions. So dialogue is very important. We believe that if we want peace and to find one another, we must work towards this together.

We have a master’s program in Ecumenical Studies on campus and via distance learning, including in English. We see this as one way of spreading ecumenical awareness. We also see great potential for ecumenism in social issues.

By that, do you mean separate churches working together in different social spheres, rather than discussing ways to overcome doctrinal differences?

Yes, and in most cases this works much better than dialogue at a high level! For example, once a year we organize an ecumenical social week where we gather representatives of the different churches and business representatives from Lviv city and region. We discuss important issues that we need to influence or change. In 2018 we discussed youth—how young people find their place in the world, their challenges in following a calling to a particular profession, positive experiences that the Church has had in communicating with young people.

Is the Ukrainian Catholic University primarily intended for Greek Catholic students and theological study, or does it have a broader remit?

Everything started from theology, but we understood that we could not hide this treasure and keep it for ourselves. So the university is an open community anchored in this Christian background. We have students of IT and business analysis, journalism, history, social pedagogy, psychology, and other subjects, as well as theology.

Does the university belong to the state system or is it private?

Our university is a private university, although all our programs—from theology to IT—are accredited by the state. But we do not receive any finance from the state. All our funding comes from private donors around the world.

Does that mean that students either have to pay from their own funds or take on loans? Are the fees the same for every subject?

We would like the legal situation to change so that state educational funding goes not to institutions but to individual students, and so to wherever each student decides to study. In the meantime, students have to pay, but around one third of our students have scholarships—we have schemes that support students. Even those who do pay for their studies themselves pay only around 20 or 30 percent of what the university has to spend—we cannot make the fees very high, because otherwise people would be unable to come. However, the rate for IT is around three times higher than subjects such as history and theology, because those students will easily find a well-paying job after they graduate.

What is life like for students at the university?

We have around 2,000 students here. There is currently room for around 300 to live on campus in the Collegium building, alongside mentors such as myself. In this building there is also a chapel, and the Emmaus Center for people with special needs. There are places such as workshops for their own activities, but we are also able to meet with them over tea and help them with anything required due to their special needs. This is the spirituality of Jean Vanier, the French founder of L’Arche, who dedicated his life to living with such people and who recognized their special gifts. For example, they teach us transparency—what they want to say, they say without any masks. This is something very positive—we have only just started to learn how to interact with such people in Ukraine.

We also have a small convent; there are three nuns who live in the Collegium building. The students liaise with them in organizing different events.

You also have a splendid new library here in the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Center, opened in 2017.

Yes, it must be a big surprise to come here and to see all these buildings! This is probably the first library to be built in Ukraine in the past 25 years. It was built in order to attract young people to come and meet with books! It also hosts famous speakers and different cultural events. Anyone can join the library for 50 hryvnia [around $2] a year. The cafeteria and children’s room are also open to all.

How would you describe the ethos of the university?

Our founder and president, Borys Gudziak [as of June 2019 overseeing all Ukrainian Greek Catholics in the USA as Archeparch of Philadelphia] says that we build our identity on three Ss. In Ukrainian, they are svidchyty, sluzhyty, and spilkuvatysya.

Svidchyty is “witnessing,” above all the witness of our New Martyrs, who with their lives witnessed that it is possible to know truth and to stand for truth. It is also important for us to be witnesses to the truth in this 21st century.

Sluzhyty is “serving.” As Jesus came to serve us, so we will serve Him. If we want to see changes, we also have to be aware that we will have to put in a lot of service.

Spilkuvatysya means communication. In the USSR people did not trust one another, because your neighbor could go to the KGB and say bad things about you, and you could be imprisoned. Communication was ruined. But at this university we invite many different people to this campus to build up communication and trust between people. We want to be an example of how people of different backgrounds can come together to create a unique university.

So the university is not only for practicing Christians?

Yes. But being in a community which prays gives people the time and space to get a taste of the Christian faith. Sometimes working here seems like sowing grain. You do not know what the fruit will be in one, five or 10 years time. There are some who do not practice, and there are some cases when people come here without any religious background and who become Christians. It just depends.

What was your experience of Ukraine’s recent past—the pro-democracy Maidan demonstrations of 2013-14 in Kyiv?

What we experienced during those three months of Maidan was something very rare. There was sweetness, but also fear. We had no idea how it would all turn out. Many of the people at Maidan said they could not come back home, because the regime would know where to find them and they would be finished. So everyone knew that they had to press on. But the spirit of Maidan was not against somebody: it was for freedom, for change, and against corruption. There was also constant service. It was a cold winter, and people constantly asked those coming to Maidan if they needed something to eat and then brought food, or told them where they could find something to keep warm if they were cold. It was like the early Church, when everyone helped each other.

I understand one of the UCU staff was among those killed in the demonstrations.

Bohdan Solchanyk. He was a history lecturer at the Ivan Franko National University in Lviv, but he also taught here. He was killed in the final days of Maidan, aged just 28. It was a tragedy.

Do you think the determination for change is still strong?

During Maidan it seemed as if we were taking part in a sprint over a short distance, because we were running very fast. We thought we had reached the finish line, but then we realized that we needed to keep going forward. There was disappointment for about a year after Maidan, because we did not see immediate change. But then we understood that we were actually running a marathon. All those steps may look very easy, but time is needed.

We also understood that it is very important to follow this path and not to stop—to be faithful to the end. There is the problem of populism now—not only a Ukrainian problem!—and it is easy to blame somebody as guilty, or to say that you just have to change this or that and then we will have paradise! [Laughs] In Ukraine we are also in a bad economic situation because we lost seven percent of our territory, and the continuing war demands a lot of resources. But we have made progress in areas such as education and medicine; we have begun to live as an independent state.

Bohdan Solchanyk and others who died are an example telling us not to step back; we have to move forward. We have good examples and we have—not saints, but people who help us to continue our progress. We still have a lot of work to do. We just started to change our country.

The interview is republished with permission of the East-West Church Report https://www.eastwestreport.org/subscribe