"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Friday, June 22, 2018

Ukrainian Catholic and Russian Orthodox Perspectives on the Ps-Sobor of 1946

Last week, Daniel Galadza (author of this book which you must read) and I finished editing a volume we hope to see in print next year: The 'Lviv Sobor' of 1946: Arriving at a Common Narrative. It is a collection of scholarly papers given at a private conference we both attended at the University of Vienna (where Daniel teaches) and hosted by the Pro Oriente Foundation of that city in June 2016. This is just a shamelessly self-promoting and very advanced notice of the book. I will post more details as they are available.

What is this book about? As we said in our prospectus:
The volume consists of papers presented at an international conference in Vienna, Austria, in 2016, organized by Pro Oriente Stiftung and the University of Vienna, dealing with the 'Lviv Sobor' of 1946, a gathering of Greek-Catholic clergy in the Western Ukrainian city of Lviv organized with the help of the Soviet government, with the aim of liquidating the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church. Depending on whose perspective one accepts, the event is seen either as the 'reunion' of 'Uniates' to Orthodoxy or the perpetration of a violent act against human rights and freedom of conscience. Thus, one side views it as a church council, while the other sees it as a pseudo-synod.
Why look at a little-known event now more than 70 years old? The simple answer to that finds the old line very true: the past is never truly past in Eastern Europe at least, and so 1946 is a live issue in part because, in the minds of Russian Orthodox Christians at least, it is the righting of the "injustice" of the Union of Brest of 1595/96, that event which created the modern method of "uniatism" everybody (or almost everybody) has been reprobating for a quarter-century now.

1946 has not, until our book, been given a lot of attention apart from Bohdan Bociurkiw's pioneering monograph, published in 1996: The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Soviet State (1939-1950).

For its part, though, Brest has been subject to earlier scholarly treatments. The best two books for those looking to begin to understand these events and their context would be the collection of scholarly articles edited by B. Goren et al: Four Hundred Years Union of Brest (1596-1996) A Critical Re-evaluation.

The other important work is Borys Gudziak (who was in Vienna), Crisis and Reform: The Kyivan Metropolitanate, the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and the Genesis of the Union of Brest.

For those wanting wider and longer historical contexts, then two well-known historians who were in Vienna, one of whom contributes to our volume, have authored important works: Frank Sysyn and Serhii Plokhy.

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