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Lviv - On January 24, 2010, in Kyiv, in the St. Basil the Great Church (Voznesenskyj Uzviz, 7, near the Lviv Square), the Institute of Church History of the Ukrainian Catholic University will present the exhibition “Toward the Light of Resurrection through the Terrains of Catacombs.” The exhibition is devoted to the 20th anniversary of the emergence of the UGCC from the catacombs and its official legalization. The presentation of the exhibition will take place after the Divine Liturgy which will begin at 10:00 a.m. It is also possible to visit the exhibit after the prayer for Christian unity, which will begin the same day at 6:00 p.m. (An interdenominational prayer will take place as part of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity).

The exhibition includes materials from the institute, including memoirs of eyewitnesses and active participants of the underground which were collected during 1992-2009, documents of the state’s archives, and pictures from private collections. In the exhibition are shown the histories of representatives of Greek Catholic clergy, monasticism, and the laity – each of which had a unique human fate. All together they are the witnesses of deep Christian faith and unshakable loyalty to the Church and nation. The exhibition covers the period from 1939 to 1991 and represents the three important stages of the tragic, yet heroic, history of the UGCC of the 20th century: the violent liquidation, underground activity, and legalization in 1989.

The creators of the project hope the materials of the photo exhibit will summarize and present the position of the whole Church in the conditions of the persecution and expose the forms of resistance and underground activity of clergy and laity and their methods of struggle for the recognition of their rights.

“With this exhibition the Institute of Church History aims to express gratitude to the known and unknown martyrs and confessors of faith, who with their great deeds make it possible for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to regenerate on Ukrainian soil renewed and enriched,” remarked Fr. Andrey Mykhaleyko, PhD, director of the Institute of Church History, for the Information Department.

Information Department of the UGCC

Background information

In the 20th century millions of Ukrainians became victims not only of wars and armed conflicts but also totalitarian systems and the misanthropic ideas propagated by them. A victim of intentional religious persecution and conscious implantation of atheism became the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC). Violence against the rebellious church organized by the Soviet authority and its repressive organs was completed by the so-called Lviv “council” in 1946, where the church officially stopped to exist and “joined” the Russian Orthodox Church. Liquidated and forbidden by Stalin’s regime, the UGCC began a new page of history – the history of brave and heroic resistance, of unshakable spirit and greatness of faith for Christ and His final victory over the forces of darkness. The fight of Greek Catholics to protect their civil rights became not only a component of opposition again the totalitarian regime, but also the process of democratization and the Ukrainian national revival in the late 1980s.