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ONE PEOPLE OF GOD IN THE LAND ON THE HILLS OF KYIV

Discourse of His Beatitude, Lubomyr, Metropolitan of Kyiv-Halych, Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, on the occasion of the beginning of the return of the Metropolitan see to Kyiv

“Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (Ex 3:5) The Lord spoke these words to Moses when he led his flock of sheep to God’s mountain, Horeb. Moses, therefore, covered his face, realizing that he was in the Lord’s presence. According to the “Tale of Bygone Years”, St. Andrew witnessed to the holiness of the ground we stand on today, blessing the land of Kyiv and proclaiming, “on these hills the glory of God will shine.” We too with profound respect bow our heads down to this holy ground, aware of our particular responsibility before the Lord and the people.

Without doubt, the past grandeur and glory of Kyiv was associated with its Church. The city built on the winding banks of the Dnipro River was able to become “the mother of the cities of Rus’” and the “new Jerusalem” of the Slavs because its Church became the mother of all Christians in Eastern Europe. However, the history of the incarnation of the Word of God, of its Good News among our people, is not only marked with achievements and successes. It is also full of pain and suffering. Remembering with sincere grief this tragic experience, we do not wish to be hostages of days past. Rather, we are called to build a new future on the foundations of a thousand-year patrimony of faith in Christ, a faith that was given to our forefathers. Indeed, the pilgrim from Rome, Pope John Paul II, spoke well when, having visited the capital of Ukraine, he said, “But the Apostle’s vision does not concern only your past; its light shines also on the future of your country.” This future we, Ukrainian Christians, are called to see with our “eyes of the heart” and to cultivate with our own good hands.

In Ukraine today among those who identify themselves as sharers in the ancient Kyivan tradition, there is a growing realization, that “on our land, finally, our own land,” the new brightness of God’s glory can and indeed should shine from a unified Kyivan Church. Much persistent work and fervent prayers will be required in order to achieve a consensus regarding the ecclesial-theological, canonical-juridical, social-political and spiritual-cultural foundations of a unified Kyivan Church. However, the fact that today the primate of one of the heirs of the early Kyivan Metropolia - the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church - is returning to his see on the banks of Kyiv, is for us an opportune occasion to delineate the underlying principles which could lay the foundation for a common future vision of that unified Church.

1.The past, which we leave to God

Our common ancestral tradition reaches to the moment of the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine in 988. This tradition was characterized by its openness to the still-undivided centers of Christianity - Rome and Constantinople. Its subsequent thousand-year history has many complex and glorious pages. The discussion on which of these pages should be positively assessed, and which should not, has yet to be completed in professional historical circles. Taking this into account, we as representatives of one of the churches of the Kyivan tradition would not wish to propose our own denominational viewpoint in this presentation. We, therefore, leave the past to God in the hope that in the future Ukrainian Christians may reach a common view of their ecclesial history. Today, however, we would like to identify the most important of its conclusions, without entering into details.

1.History records a whole series of cases when the Kyivan Church clearly demonstrated an awareness of the undivided nature of the Body of Christ. We believe that this awareness exists to this day, and serves as a source of hope.

2.The consciousness of ecclesial communion with the Church of Rome in the general memory of the Kyivan Church may have undergone periods of temporary fading (especially when it was purposely being passed over in silence), however, it never disappeared completely. Today we express in our ecclesial memory only that which in it is preserved up to our day.

3.In the “exclusivist” ages of the past, association of the denominational branches of the Kyivan Church with different Christian centres resulted in considerable losses in regards to the spiritual and institutional expressions of Kyivan religiosity.

4.In times of suppressed nationhood, the social life of the Ukrainian churches underwent considerable distortion under the influence of foreign interests.

5.In the Church’s memory, an awareness of the deep unity of the ancient Church of Kyiv was never extinguished.

II. The present, which is our time for action

1)From jurisdictional dependence to ecclesial particularity

Thanks to the grace of God and because of its unity with Rome, our Church was able not only to survive in adverse historical circumstances, but indeed was able to enrich its ecclesial thought through constant dialogue with the Churches of the West. Naturally, the difficulties which the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church experienced in its relations with the Roman-rite Church, especially through various forms of jurisdictional subjugation, was reflected on the body of our Church in tangible hurts. However, it must be acknowledged that in periods of administrative weakness of the UGCC this subjugation played an important role in strengthening and even protecting the Church. Additionally, the mentioned hurt was balanced by an awareness of the special mission of the Eastern Catholic churches: to serve as a living reminder of those rudiments of exclusivism, which swirled and in part continue to swirl in the life of the Latin Church, but also were visible signs of an undivided Christianity.

Today, when the UGCC has re-established and developed its pastoral ministry, its ecclesial structures and its ever more intensive theological life, she senses that she is ready, according to Eastern Christian tradition, to see her structure raised to the rank of patriarchate. A decision to work towards the patriarchate was unanimously accepted at the Third Session of the Assembly of the UGCC in 2002, and also that same year was blessed by the Synod of Bishops. Thus our Church, responding to the call of the Holy Father to work together on a contemporary understanding of the principle of papal primacy, proposes to the Latin Church to adopt a communion model of relations between the churches. This is important not only because this model was characteristic of the mentioned relations at the time of the establishment of the Kyivan Church. The communion principle of unity has every chance of becoming the new proposal of the Roman Pontiff for the Orthodox churches, not only providing an opportunity to respect the ecclesial nature of the Eastern churches, but at the same time to remove from church life historical antagonisms and prejudices which prevent Catholic-Orthodox understanding.

Towards the end of the 20th century, the Orthodox churches of Ukraine also underwent the important experience of developing their own particularity. It is not the calling of the UGCC to evaluate which of the ways of achieving particularity are correct and best corresponding to current Orthodox ecclesiology. Both attempted paths, that is, the path of following proper canonical procedures, adopted not long ago by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), but also the path of a unilateral declaration of autocephalous status, adopted by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyivan Patriarchate) and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (and other autocephalous churches of the Orthodox world), are based on valid ecclesial and historical arguments, which cannot be simply ignored. Without engaging in the mentioned evaluation, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is in solidarity with those efforts on the part of the Orthodox churches which are directed towards the confirmation of their own particularity. The UGCC understands these efforts as signs of a valid process which is characteristic of all branches of the Kyivan Church active on the territory of Ukraine.

2)From equalizing exclusivism to communion-based complementarity

In the times of the division of the Kyivan Church, its denominational branches found themselves under various forms of dependence on important centers of Christianity -- Rome, Constantinople and Moscow. Complex relations between these centers led to the weakening and, finally, to the loss of unity of the Kyivan Church. The age of ecclesial exclusivism did not allow the Kyivan Church to attain that which she always sought, that is: unity and harmonious relations with the Christian world.

In today’s qualitatively different age, when inter-church relations are undergoing radical changes, that which earlier was a weakness of Ukrainian church life may prove to be its strength. Those denominational branches of the Kyivan Church which are historically close to one of the mentioned Christian centers do not need to lose their denominational ties, sanctified by time. Today we can state convincingly that the demands that this or that relationship be severed, as was often expressed throughout history, have proved to be inadequate. As was mentioned above, the change of jurisdictional subordination to sisterly communion could not only grant the possibility of retaining valuable aspects of existing relations, but these could enrich the common heritage of the Kyivan Church.

Thus, by returning the see of the Kyivan-Halych Metropolitanate to Kyiv, the UGCC brings with it the unique experience of communion with the Christian West and of openness to Christian Europe. On the basis of this experience, the UGCC is firmly convinced, that communion with the Church of Rome, as with the “rule of faith” (St. Ignatius of Antioch), can today become an expression of “Ecumenical Orthodoxy” of undivided Christianity, as it existed in the first millennium, as well as greatly benefit the common treasury of the Ukrainian Church.

In addition, our Church is bringing back to Kyiv the treasure of direct succession of the Kyivan-Halych metropolitan see. The uninterrupted ministry of metropolitans since the 11th century is the fundamental historical-canonical foundation of the particular character of the Kyivan Church.

Ukrainian Orthodox churches are the carriers of a Kyivan tradition shared in common with the UGCC, and they have indeed better preserved some of its elements. Therefore, all those better things which they have preserved of our common heritage should not be lost. On the contrary, it is the responsibility of each Church to ensure that the portion of our common treasure which it has preserved remains the patrimony of the Ukrainian people.

For the future Church of Kyiv, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church which is in communion with the Moscow Patriarchate has an important role to play. Having been for centuries a part of the Church of Moscow, as the Kyivan Metropolitanate, she contributed greatly towards the rise and development of the Moscow Patriarchate. At the same time, in being a part of a larger ecclesial context, she was the recipient of various spiritual and theological stimuli. In the formation of the future of the Kyivan Church, it will be important to retain everything that is positive in the experience of the UOC (MP), including the ability to build sisterly relations with the Church of Moscow.

The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate in various ways embody the idea of the autocephaly of the Kyivan Church, which is important for all. The attaining of that idea will make it possible for all denominational branches of the Kyivan Church to lose all remains of so-called “uniatistic” thinking, which finds expression in the affirmation that the Kyivan Church necessarily must be subject to other particular churches - be it of the East or of the West. For all, the experience gained by the UAOC in regards to its conciliar rule of government is important as well.

Therefore, to think about the unity of the Kyivan Church does not mean to renounce the treasure of communion with various Christian centers, but on the contrary -- it means that the shared spiritual patrimony of the Kyivan Church can be enriched by the gains of that communion. Not only would the denominational branches of the Kyivan Church be enriched by this, but her sisters, the particular churches of the East and West, would benefit as well. In addition, this would make possible the elimination of divisions, so detrimental to the Church, and allow for the embodiment of the contemporary ecclesial principle of “unity in diversity.”

3)From subjection to the state to social ministry

The fact that Ukrainian territories and consequently the different branches of the Kyivan Church found themselves within various political-state entities proved to be no less detrimental to the fate of the Kyivan Church. Each subsequent foreign power sought to remake the religious-ecclesial landscape of Ukraine according to its own notion. The different groups of the People of God in Ukraine were thus encouraged in their ecclesial thinking to conform to the political interests of the respective political power. At the same time, while avoiding negative leanings, the Ukrainian churches gained the important experience of supporting the struggle for national liberation of the Ukrainian people. The existence of an independent Ukrainian state today offers a unique occasion for its churches to reflect on their stance in regards to not only the phenomenon of Ukrainian statehood, but also to the historical forms of state enslavement in the past.

Also, all branches of the Kyivan Church in one manner or another suffered immeasurable evil due to the meddling in their internal affairs by authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, and even paid for their faithfulness to the commandments of Christ with great martyrdom of their servants and children. In striving to protect their own internal freedom, the Ukrainian churches accumulated an important store of both positive and negative experiences in regards to seeking acceptable relations between the Church and State. These relationships were fostered by the Kyivan Church already in the times of the first Kyivan State in the 10-13th centuries. The loss of statehood led to the transfer of certain attributes to the Church -- she became a symbol of statehood in an age of inter-statehood.

The fact of the renewal of Ukrainian statehood in 1991 has not been adequately assimilated into Ukrainian ecclesial consciousness, and therefore it has become necessary to once again delineate both the differences, as well as the spheres of cooperation (of “symphony”), between the Church and state in serving the People of God in Ukraine. In particular, due attention needs to be given to the tradition of internal freedom of the Church from influences and pressures on the part of state structures, a tradition established throughout the centuries in some of the branches of the Church of Kyiv. Subsequently, the reorientation of the Church to laboring for the people needs to be emphasized as well.

The coordinated efforts of the churches in these areas would help achieve important goals. Thus, first of all, the normalization of relations between the historical branches of the Kyivan Church and the establishment of civilized relations between Church and state would help prevent the unnecessary waste of resources on rivalries, between the individual churches, and between the churches and the state. In this manner the churches would also help consolidate the Ukrainian nation and facilitate the resolution of regional and ideological conflicts.

Second, the above-mentioned normalization of inter-church relations would prevent Ukraine from becoming an object of contest between influential powers, as has occurred so many times before. Each of the churches, in renouncing the tradition of subjugation to the political interests of foreign powers, could direct well-established, mutually beneficial relations with other peoples towards the good of one’s own nation. By introducing the peace of the Gospel and harmony in its relations, the Ukrainian churches would not only fulfil their Christian responsibility, but also respond to their typically European calling, intrinsic to this continent in its contemporary stage of development. Thus they would not only contribute towards the confirmation of Ukrainian statehood, but also would provide the ecclesial foundation for the understanding of Ukraine’s due place in the European home.

4)From an “ecumenism of ultimatums” to dialogue in partnership

Recently, the efforts of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to acquire the recognition of its patriarchal status by the Holy Father shook the entire corpus of Catholic-Orthodox relations. The Vatican received from the Orthodox churches protests, which were, unfortunately, formulated in terms of an ultimatum: the recognition by Rome of a UGCC patriarchate, in the view of these churches, would cause a break in relations between the Catholic Church and all of Orthodoxy.

Already earlier the efforts of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyivan Patriarchate to acquire recognition of autocephaly from the patriarch of Constantinople caused serious tensions in relations between the churches of Constantinople and Moscow. The latter issued ultimatum warnings that recognition of the canonical status of the mentioned churches would result in the breaking of eucharistic communion between the two Orthodox churches.

Thus has been drawn what would seem to be the critical lines of demarcation in contemporary inter-church relations, the crossing of which could undermine the achievements of the ecumenical dialogue reached thus far. The possibility of the failure of ecumenical efforts in the area of re-establishing unity between the East and the West will have an impact, and indeed already has an impact, on Ukrainian churches, given that their relations between one another to a great extent depend on the relations between the recognized centers of Christianity. The normalization of inter-church relations is, therefore, an imperative of the present historical moment.

These relations are marked by an inertia associated with schemes and models of the past, which delineated “spheres of influence.” Today, when the map of Europe has drastically changed, the schemes of the past are no longer effective. For one thing, they did not anticipate the existence of an independent Ukrainian state, or the possibility of one Ukrainian (Kyivan) Church. This would seem to be the root of the language of ultimatum in inter-church relations, with the ecumenical dialogue losing its most important and necessary component -- an openness of the churches to the needs of one another.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church proposes to its particular sister churches that they consider the superiority of a different manner of overcoming existing conflicts. Firstly, the particular circumstances of the Ukrainian ecclesial situation today should not be seen as a violation of the only possible inter-church order, but they should be seen as processes determined by the natural development of the Ukrainian churches. Given that the principles of sisterhood between the churches and of authentic ecumenism exclude a division of churches into important and unimportant, serious attention should be given to the internal needs of the mentioned churches, and their proposals should be given serious study.

Secondly, a stable Christian peace in Ukraine - a prerequisite for continued ecumenical dialogue - can be ensured only by way of taking into account the concerns of each of the interested parties. The benefit of such an approach is not only expressed by a basic culture of the Gospel, which can comprehend strength in weakness, but by the experience of contemporary civilization in the area of conflict resolution.

Third, instead of monopolistic efforts to resolve the problem of one particular church in Ukraine to the exclusive advantage of one particular confession, there ought to be a united effort of the entire Christian community. A civilized solution regarding the destiny of the Kyivan Church could become a true “laboratory of ecumenism” (John Paul II), free of ultimatums and realized via a spirit of collaboration and partnership. Harmonious, all embracing forms of unification of the Kyivan Church (e. g. - in the structure of one common patriarchate – a continuous aspiration of Ukrainians at least since the 17th century), by means of a unique openness to communion, could become an opportunity for Christian centers to meet on its territory to finally arrive at new ecumenical models of understanding. In this case, the possibility of such an agreement will not be realized in opposition to the important vital needs of the Ukrainian churches, but in accordance with the degree of readiness of Rome, Constantinople and Moscow to develop communion with Kyiv and in accordance to what degree Kyiv is ready to advance communion with them.

5)From mutual denominational conflict to a primacy of love

No one has yet measured the depth of trauma on Christian sensitivity brought on by polemical forms of theologizing and by proselytizing methods of pastoral ministry. The thousand-year practice of educating the faithful in the spirit of post-Schism Greek-Latin opposition, as well as the four hundred-year practice of a similar education in the spirit of post-Brest confrontation in Ukraine, has substantially obscured the icon of Gospel religiosity in the souls of Ukrainian Christians. The losses and defeats suffered by the Ukrainian churches on the road towards unity travelled up to now demonstrate that it is impossible to resolve the future fate of the Kyivan Church with such baggage in tow.

Today none of the Ukrainian churches can consider itself to be freed from responsibility for these spiritual losses. By returning the see of the Kyivan-Halych Metropolitanate of the UGCC to Kyiv, we repeat the words of apology expressed in 2001 in Lviv: “In your presence, Holy Father, in the name of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church we wish to ask forgiveness from the Lord, Creator and Father of us all, as also from those whom we, sons and daughters of this Church, may have wronged in any way. So that the horrible past may not hang over us and poison our life, we readily forgive those who in any way may have wronged us as well”.

We call on our brothers of the other Christian denominations to work together on the development of a Gospel culture in our relations, which will eliminate mutual animosity. Our dialogue will not be easy, but it is up to us to ensure that it be directed “towards peace, and not war.” (Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky) This would allow us to substitute the present practice of exchanging insults with a sincere exchange of spiritual gifts. We will not achieve success immediately; however, the experience of many Christian communities in Europe and the world demonstrate that it is possible.

III. The future in which we would like to believe

This is the view of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church regarding the most important and basic principles on which it could be possible to build a future vision of the Kyivan Church. Naturally, the listing and overview provided here of these principles cannot be considered exhaustive, and therefore we call on the faithful of our Church, as well as on people of good will of other churches and communities, to work on the further elaboration of this great goal. People today have a tendency to lose faith. We propose to change that to a renewed faith in God and in the holiness of the choice which our forefathers made that distant year of 988. In our opinion, the road to renewal of this faith lies, in particular, through the renewal of the one Kyivan Church in a united Patriarchate. Inspired by the example of the holy passion-bearers Borys and Hlib, she will purify her memory of the pain of historical wrongs and heal the deep wounds of divisions. The promise that this high calling is possible and attainable in the land on the Kyivan hills can be found in the words of the Almighty, spoken in similar circumstances to the prophet Ezekiel, “I will make them one nation upon the land, in the mountains of Israel… never again shall they be two nations, and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms… they will be my people and I their God.” (37,21-23)

The blessing of the Lord be upon you!

+ LUBOMYR

What are your comments?

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[What are your comments?]

Cardinal Lubomyr writes:

[Without doubt, the past grandeur and glory of Kyiv was associated with its Church. The city built on the winding banks of the Dnipro River was able to become “the mother of the cities of Rus’” and the “new Jerusalem” of the Slavs because its Church became the mother of all Christians in Eastern Europe.]

Reply:

When the heck did the Church of Kiev become the mother of all christians in Eastern Europe? The Carpatho Russians received their christianity fron Sts Cyril & Methodious in 863-864, not St Vladimir in 988. Which makes them Christians with a culture for over a century (124 years to be exact) before what is now Ukraine became christian. This means that they already had an established church while their Ukrainian neighbors were still bowing down before carved tree trunks!

Perhaps the good Cardinal can explain how a mother can be born 124 years after her child!

OrthoMan

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Carpatho-Rus' can be considered part of Central Europe, along with Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. In fact, it's politically correct to term them Central Europe, rather than Eastern Europe.

While Galicia is really part of that definition as well (generally the lands of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire are considered Central Europe), there's no doubt that Kiev is part of Eastern Europe.

--Tim

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Quote
Originally posted by OrthoMan:
[What are your comments?]

Cardinal Lubomyr writes:

[Without doubt, the past grandeur and glory of Kyiv was associated with its Church. The city built on the winding banks of the Dnipro River was able to become “the mother of the cities of Rus’” and the “new Jerusalem” of the Slavs because its Church became the mother of all Christians in Eastern Europe.]

Reply:

When the heck did the Church of Kiev become the mother of all christians in Eastern Europe? The Carpatho Russians received their christianity fron Sts Cyril & Methodious in 863-864, not St Vladimir in 988. Which makes them Christians with a culture for over a century (124 years to be exact) before what is now Ukraine became christian. This means that they already had an established church while their Ukrainian neighbors were still bowing down before carved tree trunks!

Perhaps the good Cardinal can explain how a mother can be born 124 years after her child!

OrthoMan
CHRIST IS RISEN!
TRULY HE IS RISEN!

Dear OrthoMan!

While your knowledge of history may be correct, and, please remember that St. Olha and others preceded St. Volodymyr as converts to Christianity, your tone once again lacks charity, without which no one will be swayed to your opinion, no matter how correct.

Perhaps this volume might be of use to you among your reference materials, for formulating future posts.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/bo...2BBL9FPNHJ&isbn=0883657813&itm=1

Gaudior, correctively

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Christ Is Risen! Indeed He Has Risen!


[While your knowledge of history may be correct, and, please remember that St. Olha and others preceded St. Volodymyr as converts to Christianity, your tone once again lacks charity, without which no one will be swayed to your opinion, no matter how correct.]

Not according to the private emails I have received in the past.

I'm sure there are many Eastern Europeans who would also disagree with the Cardianal's incorrect assesment of history. The Bulgarians are another example. And they can't be moved to central europe.

Sometimes the truth hurts, doesn't it?

OrthoMan

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No, the Bulgarians are in Southeastern Europe along with Romania, Greece, Serbia and Macedonia. (and, arguably, other states of the former Yugoslavia.) These are, essentially, the regions that were under Ottoman Turkish rule for an extended period.

They're sometimes broadly termed the Balkans.

The broad-brush approach to Eastern Europe and Western Europe is really Cold War thinking and has little to do with the different cultural-historical regions and their contemporary situations.

--Tim

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Christ is Risen!
Truly He is Risen!

Dear OrthoMan,

It was impossible to tell from your preceding whether you had received private e-mails indicating my statement about St. Olha's baptism being earlier was incorrect, or whether, you had received private e-mails from people saying it IS possible to use phrases like "what the heck?" and expect people to be other than digusted.

If you, as a good OrthoMan, will take the word of John Meyendorff in "Byzantium and the Rise of Russia" St. Vladimir's Seminary Press 1989 (page 5, to be precise):

"For the Byzantines, the 'baptism of the Russians' signified their integration into the epmire itself.

He speaks before it only in one line of the missionary work of Sts Cyril and Methodius in 863...due to their translations no language barrier was faced.

Page 4:

"The Kievan princess Olga, the Mother of Svyatoslav, personally adopted Christianity. During a visit to Constantinople, she was received with honour by Emperor Constantine VII. (957). Her grandson Vladimir, son of Svyatoslav, followed her example: he not only personally received baptism, but also made Christianity Russia's state religion."

A fact Meyendorff points out re: Russia at this time: (back to page 5)

"Neither were they facing the danger of Byzantine political domination, which was so heavily felt by the Southern Slavs in the eleventh and twelfth centuries: distance made Russia virtually inaccessible to Byzantine conquest. The adoption of Byzantine Christianity was in fact a free choice of the Russians and they always remembered it as such. In the Russian 'Primary Chronicle', written in Kiev in the eleventh century, and which served as a preface to all subsequent records of Russia's existence as a nation, generationsof Russians read the account of Vladimir's envoys to Constantinople, after their witnessing of the Byzantine liturgy in Haghia Sophia: 'They led us to the edifices where they worship their God, and we knew not whether we were in heaven, or on earth. For on earth there is no such splendour or such beauty, and we are at a loss how to describe it. We only know that there God dwells among men.'

So, yes, OrthoMan, Sts. Cyril and Methodius paved the way! Of course! BUT...just as St. Constantine, deathbed convert to Christianity is considered a saint for making Christianity the official religion of Byzantium (baptising it, if you will), so you have to accord the same status to Sts. Olga and Vladimir! Without their conversion as individuals (who were incidentally rulers) that well known scene which culminated in the "baptism" of Russia may never have taken place.

It is not unrealistic therefore for Met. Lubomyr to speak of Kyiv's history as the "mother of all Christians in Eastern Europe". We can say slightly exaggerated...yes. But the Slavic Orthodox Churches were influenced by the Russian Conversion...which most CERTAINLY happened due to the Kyivan rulers, Sts. Vladimir and Olga.

Mind, only a few years later came the schism....but that is another issue.

Gaudior, historically.

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I see it as a message of Faith, Hope and Charity, of repentance and forgiveness, and a timely call for Unity in the Body of Christ.

Antrodox


Antrodox

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[We can say slightly exaggerated...yes. But the Slavic Orthodox Churches were influenced by the Russian Conversion...which most CERTAINLY happened due to the Kyivan rulers, Sts. Vladimir and Olga. ]

Slightly exaggerated, though basically correct, is a bit of an understatement! Glad you finally see the reason for my response.

OrthoMan

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Quote
Originally posted by OrthoMan:
[What are your comments?]

Cardinal Lubomyr writes:

[Without doubt, the past grandeur and glory of Kyiv was associated with its Church. The city built on the winding banks of the Dnipro River was able to become “the mother of the cities of Rus'” and the “new Jerusalem” of the Slavs because its Church became the mother of all Christians in Eastern Europe.]

Reply:

When the heck did the Church of Kiev become the mother of all christians in Eastern Europe? The Carpatho Russians received their christianity fron Sts Cyril & Methodious in 863-864, not St Vladimir in 988. Which makes them Christians with a culture for over a century (124 years to be exact) before what is now Ukraine became christian. This means that they already had an established church while their Ukrainian neighbors were still bowing down before carved tree trunks!

Perhaps the good Cardinal can explain how a mother can be born 124 years after her child!

OrthoMan
Hrystos Voskres ! Vojistyno Voskres !

Dear Ortho-Man,

You bring up a good point, and I have asked myself some of these same questions. Here is a short answer to your question:

Christianity did not arrive in what is now Ukraine in 988, but over 9 centuries before.

In the first century, St-Andrew the Apostle (Patriarch mentions him) arrived in what is now Southern Ukraine and preached to the 'Scythians' who inhabited the area. The Chronicles mention the river 'Dnipro' where he also built parishes among the 'Slavs found to the North' (these were unfortunately all destroyed in the 3rd century).

Later that century, St-Andrew's disciple Pope Clement arrived in the Crimea where he was exiled. He preached to the Greek slaves and neigbhoring Slavic tribes. He died in 100 A.D.

There were Christian preachers in the Kyiv area throughout the 7 and 8 th centuries, and perhaps before spreading the gospels.

By the time that St-Cyril and Methodious arrived on what is now the territory of Ukraine in the mid 9 th century there were already some Christians in Kyiv-Rus. To help support this historic apostolic 'tradition', Sts-Cyril and Methodious brought with them relics of St-Andrew the Apostle who had preached in Ukraine in the early first century. There is little doubt that St-Cyril and Methodious did impress Grand Prince Askold of Kyiv-Rus who converted to the faith in 867. His conversion was predicated on the bible being traslated into Slavonic (with new alphabet) by the Saints for the people of Kyiv-Rus. Prince Askold's conversion was THE 'raison d'etre' for the two saints. It is speculated that he was so gratefull to the Roman Pontif Nicholas that he adopted his name - Nicholas. Prince Askold's name became Prince Nicholas.

By the mid 10 century, there were already many Christian communities and churches and which were mostly built by Grand Prince Ihor. There was also at least one bishop and an 'ambassador' in place from Constantinople. His wife, Grand Princes Olha converted once Ihor was dead in 954 - 955. By 977 her grandson Jaropolk had made arrangements for a Roman 'ambassador' to also be in place.

By 988, there were many churches, at least one bishop, ambassadors from Constantinople and Rome. In 988 Grand Prince Volodymyr of Kyiv-Rus made Christian Orthodoxy the official religion of the land by BRINGING ALL OF THE PEOPLE KYIV RUS to the banks of the Dnipro river and baptizing them. Kyiv became a Metropolinate directly subordinate to the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople.

What is so significant about this event is that Kyiv at this time was only rivaled by Constantinople in terms of size and importance. Paris and London were relatively speaking 'backwaters' at this time. By making Christian Orthodoxy THE religion for the people of Rus (Rusyns), he was able to convert a significant part of what is now Eastern (and for argument sake Central) Europe.

Grand Prince Volodymyr's son Yaroslav the Wise took things one step further by marrying of his 4 daughters to the kings of Norway, Germany, Hungary, and France and thereby helping to 'confirm' Chrisitianity as THE religion for Europe.

In a nutshell, the people of what is now Ukraine received Christianity before and during the 'preaching days' of St Cyrils and Methodius, but it was only in the mid 10 century that Christianity became THE official state religion for Kyiv-Rus thereby blocking any hope Islam making it's way in (and boy oh boy were they trying to push their way in).

To answer your question:

"how can a mother (Carpatho-Rus) be born 124 years after her child (Kyiv-Rus) ?

Answer:

The Kyiv-Rus became a 'mother' only when she adopted the Orthodox Christian faith in 988 as a STATE RELIGION for ALL her people. The children were born later when they too adopted the faith for ALL of their children as a state religion.

On a final note, the comment you made about worshiping logs would be funny if it were not so true. Grand Prince Volodymyr decided that all idols representing differing Gods (ie: God of Thunder) had to be thrown into the Dnipro before the baptismal so that the people could accept the only God - Jesus Christ. To make a long story short, not everyone was 'happy happy happy' about their idols (kinda of like logs) being thrown into the Dnipro. Let's just say there were some 'forced baptismals'.

Patriarch Lubomyr has outlined the action plan for the unification of the Ukrainian Churches in the next 1 to 2 years. I will light a candel in church this Sunday for this century old dream of the Rusyn-Ukrainians.

i Voskresaje Ukrajina !

Hritzko

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Dear Orthoman,

Christ is Risen!

I'm happy you remain consistent in your feelings toward us! smile

The Kyivan Church is a "light" as an historic ecclesial centre not only in terms of whether or not it gave birth to other centres or churches.

More importantly, it was a light in terms of how it inspired Christian faith and renewal in other churches.

St Paissy Velichkovsky and his renewal in accordance with Hesychasm and the Jesus Prayer, the work of the Siberian missionaries of Kyiv, the leadership of such Metropolitans as St Peter Mohyla and the like are examples.

St Peter Mohyla, as you know, was not in the least bit an ethnic Ukrainian/Ruthenian. He was of Roumanian ancestry from Moldavia and yet he could write concerning the Kyivan Church that it "is our Mother."

St Theodora of Sihla, St Pachomios the Romanian, and others who were not ethnically Eastern European, still saw in the Kyivan Church "their Mother" and so much so that they were buried, for example, among the Kyivan Caves Fathers. St Euphrosynia of Polotsk, a Belarusyan, was likewise buried there and there are other examples.

The Kyivan Church is not an "ethnic" centre, but saw itself very much like another "Rome" or "Jerusalem."

The Church of Moscow never disagreed with this historic patrimony and indeed sees itself as carrying it on or, to be more precise, as being the embodiment and inheritor of that tradition.

This is why, to this day, when a new Patriarch of Moscow is enthroned, only the Metropolitan of Kyiv is designated to place his miter on his head as the representative of the most ancient of the Sees of Orthodox Rus'.

Russian Orthodox writers on this very topic refer to Kyiv in the same way - the mother of all the cities of Rus' and its ecclesial centre. I find them on Russian Orthodox sites regularly.

Moscow asserts itself to be, in other words, what Kyiv was. For you to criticize what Husar said is, at the same time, to criticize what the Russian Orthodox Church has always believed about the Kyivan tradition which is its own as well.

Alex

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Alex, my dear friend...Christ Is Risen!

You write -

Russian Orthodox writers on this very topic refer to Kyiv in the same way - the mother of all the cities of Rus' and its ecclesial centre. I find them on Russian Orthodox sites regularly.

Moscow asserts itself to be, in other words, what Kyiv was. For you to criticize what Husar said is, at the same time, to criticize what the Russian Orthodox Church has always believed about the Kyivan tradition which is its own as well.

My Reply:

To say that 'Kiev is the mother of all the cities of Rus' and to insinuate that (*) 'Kiev is the mother of all Eastern Europeans' is entirely two different things my friend.

(*) Quote from Cardinal Husar - 'because its Church became the mother of all Christians in Eastern Europe.'

I have never heard the Moscow Patriarchate say or insinuate it is the mother church OF ALL CHRISTIANS IN EASTERN EUROPE.

Orthodoc

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Quote
I have never heard the Moscow Patriarchate say or insinuate it is the mother church OF ALL CHRISTIANS IN EASTERN EUROPE.
Actions speak louder than words.

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Dear Ortho-Man,
Perhaps you should attend a performance of Iolanthe!
Christ is Risen.

Incognitus

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Oh yeah,

Well St. Methodius was the Bishop of BRNO!!!! The Emperor Rostislav is the one who asked for missionaries.

The MORAVIANS are the guys. Ukrainians are just Eastern Moravians anyway. You Ukrainians should love, embrace and cherish your identity as almost-Moravians who received your faith from the greatest of all empires, the Great Moravian Empire. It makes you almost as good. Ukrainians should be making pilgrimages to the holy sites in Brno, since that's where they all got their faith.

And for those claiming Ukrainians stopped the Turks, HAH! It was the GREAT MORAVIAN EMPIRE! (Wait, no, it was the Serbs . . . or the Croats . . . no, actually I'm pretty sure the Bulgarians take credit for that).

Why, you should all be screaming for the return of the Bishop of Moravia as an EASTERN PATRIARCH OF ALL SLAVS, as St. Methodius definitely intended. biggrin

At' žije MORAVA!


I'm being sarcastic. Some of the historical generalizations here are about as weak as the ones I threw up (as in my hands in absolute surrender). Southern Slavs were Christianized through as complex a process as the "Ukrainians" or Northern, Eastern, Western or other ___ Insert Over-Generalized Moniker Here ____ Slavs.

Christianity, as well as other linguistic and cultural practices, were and are exchanged regularly. To claim one "group" is somehow "above" or "motherly" to the others is patronizing at best. Look at the varied sources of Znamenny and Prostopinije!

Some accepted Christianity at one time and others at another. Some are now Muslims and atheists (which group here is going to jump up and claim credit for all those Slavs). Some received a great deal from non-Slavic cultures. Some of these were transmitted north, south, east and west. It was a dynamic time for all Slavic peoples and they all contributed in some way. There are Croat villages in the Czech Republic and Slovaks in Vojvodina. That kind of exchange has been the rule, not the exception.

I don't like either the Russians' or the Ukrainians' creative use of history to make one or the other the "mother" of all other Slavs. What happened and does happen is too complicated for such a fantastic claim. It's not just nationalistic. It's nationalistic at the expense of other national groups, history, and the truth. That is bad nationalism. That's "We're better than you because . . ." nationalism. That's the kind of thing that starts real live trouble that kills real live people.

Every nation has a right to be proud of its heritage, but not of over exaggerating themselves to being the source of the Christian faith. After all, we all get our faith from one and the same source.

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