The Institute of Ecumenical Studies celebrated its 7th anniversary

2011-07-07 12:30

During the seminar “The 7th anniversary of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies: Summary of activities and prospects for development,” an adviser to the Mayor of Lviv, Bohdan Pankevych, on behalf of Mayor Andriy Sadovyi awarded Dr. Antoine Arjakovsky the Golden Arms of Lviv for his significant contribution to spreading of ecumenism and Christian values in the public sphere.

During the occasion, a summary of the IES’s activities at UCU was given and a film about the institute and its projects was shown. “I want to thank God that seven years ago He gave us an idea in person of Antoine Arjakovsky to establish the IES at UCU,” said the president of the IES, Rev. Ivan Dacko. “Now Antoine is handing on his heavy yet well-used baton to his successor ‘so that all may be one.’” In his turn, UCU Rector Rev. Borys Gudziak, PhD, thanked Antoine Arjakovsky for all the work that has been done and expressed his wish that there be great ambitious projects which require development and which would be implemented, and stressed the importance and value of friendship in the ecumenical movement. Bishop Venedykt, auxiliary bishop of the UGCC in Lviv, expressing his gratitude to Antoine Arjakovsky, said: “In the 11th century, our Church was shattered with a great disaster – separation. This wound has been bleeding up to the present. The task and calling given by God is to witness about unity, in particular on the ground of the UGCC. Antoine Arjakovsky is a special example of unity. We thank you that you have tried to awaken this spirit of love, to remind us about our identity and calling.”

For the seven years of the institute’s existence, Antoine Arjakovsky has tried to adhere to this position: “I believed that the establishment of the IES was God’s will and I began to serve and to work for unity. Now I am leaving because the time has come for the IES to start a new period, because I have already fulfilled my mission in Ukraine – there are many people at the IES with excellent ecumenical experience.”

It should be noted that an IES fund of more than 450,000 US dollars has been established thanks to the support of numerous donors, in particular the organizations l’OEuvre d’Orient and l’Arche. The other sponsors of the IES are Bradley Foundation, Renovabis, Kerk in Actie, Communicantes, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the World Council of Churches, the UCEF in the USA, and many other donors. In addition, on October 1st, during the Ecumenical Social Week, the first meeting of the executive committee of the institute’s donors will be arranged. Halyna Bokhonko will carry out the functions of the director of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies.

Antoine Arjakovsky is returning to France, since a spiritual revival is underway there. “I was invited to Paris to the Collège des Bernardins which was created in 1245. I will work there as Research Director for “Freedom, Society and Peace”. I want to revive that which is urgent today – the relations between democracy and spirituality. But I will also keep contact with the Ukrainian Catholic University and be a member of the new executive board of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies that will meet regularly in Lviv. ”