Ecumenism as an art of small steps

2021-04-13 18:00

On April 8-9, 2021, the UCU Institute of Ecumenical Studies in cooperation with the UGCC Patriarchal Commission on Interreligious and Interfaith Relations held an open practical online seminar “Nurturing Friendly Interfaith Relations: Examples of Successful Cooperation” within the Ecumenical Formation Program for priests the heads of the ecumenical UGCC commissions and for all those interested in ecumenical issues.

Speakers and participants of the online seminar during two days shared their positive experience of interfaith cooperation in various fields. Reports were made by:

  • Rev. Marko Blaza SJ, Polish Jesuit priest, Doctor of Theology, Professor of the Catholic Academy in Warsaw, UCU lecturer, triritualist (has the right to celebrate in the Byzantine-Ukrainian, Byzantine-Romanian and Latin rites);
  • Rev. Ivan Rybaruk, pastor of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin in the village of Kryvorivnya OCU, co-organizer of the “Lay Movement for the Unity of the Church and People of Ukraine: East and West under the Protection of the Mother of God”;
  • André Pawliw, Archdeacon in the Benedictine monastery in Chevetogne (Belgium);
  • Rev. Stepan Myshkovsky, headed the UGCC Commission for Youth Affairs in Lviv, frontman of the PopryVse band, co-founder of the Taizé prayer meetings in Lviv;
  • Rev. Matey Havryliv OSBM, underground Basilian priest, liturgist;
  • Konstantin Sigov, philosopher and public figure, director of the Center for European Humanities Studies of the National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” and research and publishing association “Spirit and Letter”, consultant on religion and strategic planning of the State Service of Ukraine for Ethnopolitics and Freedom of Conscience;
  • Rev. Ivan Kurylets, a spiritual leader and a member of the community of St. Egidio, which takes care of homeless and needy people in Lviv.

Annoying cases of interfaith misunderstanding, prejudice or hostility often hinder the development of good neighborly relations between representatives of Christian denominations in parishes. Conversely, examples of openness to others, successful joint interfaith activities and implemented projects, common prayer can be the beginning of friendly relations and mutual enrichment. The seminar participants expressed confidence that the great goal of the Church unity should be achieved through small, simple but effective manifestations of respect, forgiveness, dialogue and cooperation between Christians.

In conclusion, the staff of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies, together with all participants of the seminar, congratulated Father Dr. Iwan Dacko, President of the IES, on his 50th anniversary of priestly ordinations received from the hands of Patriarch Joseph (Slipyj).


The Ecumenical Formation Program is a long-term educational and formative program developed jointly by IES and the UGCC Patriarchal Commission on Interfaith and Interreligious Relations for priests, members of the UGCC ecumenical eparchial commissions and those interested in the Christian unity, in order to understand better modern ecumenical processes in Ukraine and in the world, and to promote the practical initiatives of inter-Christian dialogue and understanding. EFP is supported in part by the Subcommittee to Aid the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.