Lviv: International scientific conference devoted to the Second Vatican Council

2012-07-17 15:30

The main purpose of the conference was to help Christians in Ukraine understand and appreciate the importance of the decrees of the Second Vatican Council for the development of the Christ's Church and Eastern Catholic Churches in particular. The decrees of the Council stay particularly relevant to us because for a long time the documents, paragraphes and spirit of the Council were unavailable for Ukrainians who were in the underground on the time of its holding.

The conference began with a foreword by the rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University Fr. Borys Gudziak who recalled the historical and social circumstances of the time in which the Second Vatican Council acted. According to his words it was "a time of powerful, deep, exciting changes in world culture. When television appeared, when already airplanes became available to ordinary people, when popular culture has been subjected to the rock music shocks, then the Catholic Church under the leadership of the blessed Pope John XXIII in these months was preparing the first session of the Second Vatican Council".

Major Archbishop Emeritus of Kyiv-Halych of the UGCC, Lubomyr (Husar) spoke on the great, significant event that took place in the history of the Catholic Church and its echo in Ukraine. He called participants to take a spiritual advantage of the teaching which the Lord has given through the Council. At the same time he expressed his own request: "Council should be accepted. I think we have not yet done it".

The honored guests of the conference were: Mons. Thomas Edward Hallikson, Apostolic Nuncio in Ukraine; Mons. Mieczyslaw Mokshytskyy, Metropolitan of Lviv of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine; Mgr. Milan (Shashik), Bishop Ordinary of Mukachevo Greek Catholic diocese; Mgr. Cyril (Vasil) Secretary of the Congregation for Eastern Churches; Mitred Archpriest Fr. Dr Iwan Dacko, President of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies, Catholic University and President of the Society for Ukrainian Catholics "Saint Sophia" in Rome.

Fr. Iwan Dacko reminded us the state of the Ukrainian hierarchy at the time of the Council. "The only Ukraine-carrier at that time was Joseph Slipy", as all the other bishops in Ukraine were wiped out. Fr. Iwan analyzed several sources which had information of the Second Vatican Council and its relevant discussions and noted the lack of information for Ukrainians, as "then we had no theological journal ... the Council found us completely perplexed and unprepared". According to the speaker the Second Vatican Council initiated a new ecumenical movement: "Christians began to talk in an atmosphere of mutual understanding and respect".

Another speaker Victor Yelensky, President of the Ukrainian Association of Religious Freedom focused on reforms envisaged by the Council: "The revolution made by the Council, was unexpected for many people. Already for long time the curia have not looked as strong as it was in 1962. Neither the conservatives nor the modernists expected that the Council would last a long time and predicted that it would only put the seal on the solutions prepared already long time ago".

Conference participants had an opportunity to ask questions and share their own views on the Second Vatican Council.

A fruitful discussion about our readyness to understand and accept the bold decrees of the Second Vatican Council completed the first day of the conference. Next two days participants worked in sections: theological, ecumenical, ecclesiological and socio-historical.