During the 2nd ESW, First Lady of Ukraine Kateryna Yushchenko presented the exhibition “Repressed Spirituality”

2010-03-24 15:15

The exposition was created by the International Charitable Foundation “Ukraine 3000” as part of their program “Lessons of History” and was presented during the conference “Speaking about the past for the sake of the future: historical truth about the Soviet period.” The exhibition contains 20 posters and is composed of three thematic sections. The first section is a tour through history, showing the conditions of the loss of the Ukrainian metropolitanate and the nascence of the Moscow Patriarchate. Also presented here is the attitude of the Bolsheviks towards the Church, as well as the methods and reasons of the anti-church terror.

The second section covers the themes of the ruination of the churches and their later fates, the liquidation of the UAOC and the UGCC, the repressions of the clergy, the mechanism of the ruination of traditional Ukrainian ritual and the imposition of a new Soviet ritual, the pressures on the Church during the thaw, the underground activity of the UGCC, and the Ukrainian resistance to the anti-church measures taken by the Soviet authorities.

“As a result of the 80-year-long activities of the Soviet authorities, there was a complete repression of the clergy and laymen of the UAOC, 50% of Greek Catholic priests were liquidated, and those who were spared were forced to emigrate in order to save their lives, or to continue their activities underground. Hundreds of churches were destroyed; they had not only spiritual but also artistic meaning as monuments to Ukrainian heritage. We want to demonstrate all this in this exhibition, these enormous losses experienced by our spirituality and traditional culture,” stated the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Charitable Fund “Ukraine 3000,” Kateryna Yushchenko.

The final section acquaints the viewer with the results of the antireligious policy of the Soviet authorities for Ukrainian spirituality, with the history of the resurgence of the UGCC and the UAOC in Ukraine in 1988-1989, and with the reasons and conditions for the creation of the UCC – Kyiv and Moscow Patriarchates. According to the well-known community activist Ivan Hel, the Muscovite occupiers destroyed the Ukrainian intelligentsia en masse, not even speaking about the universally known fact of the genocide, the Holodomor, as a result of which more than 10 million Ukrainians died.

That same day, during the 2nd ESW, there was a presentation entitled “We Have Returned,” which was dedicated to the memory of the priests that were victims of the cruel terror of the NKVD and were tortured within the prison walls. It is significant that this exhibition took place at the memorial museum “Prison on Lontskoho Street,” where mass executions were carried out in Soviet times.