"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 10, 2016

Churches and States in Ukraine

Harvard University Press tells me that early in 2017 they are bringing out a collection of articles that reprints some essays previously published but still meriting attention: Churches and StatesStudies on the History of Christianity in Ukraine, ed., Halyna Hryn. About this collection we are told:
This book collects nine articles that originally appeared in the journal Harvard Ukrainian Studies and that arose from the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute’s Millennium Project, an initiative launched in the 1980s to celebrate one thousand years of the Christianization of Kyivan Rus´. The articles cover a wide array of subjects: the ecclesiastical structure of the Christian Church in Rus´ in its earliest period (Andrzej Poppe); the conflict between Orthodoxy and the Uniate Church from 1569 to 1700 (Teresa Chynczewska-Hennel); an account of the Uniate Church and the partitions of Poland (Larry Wolff); the transformation of the Greek Catholic Church under the Austrian Empire (1848–1914) (John-Paul Himka); the Greek Catholic Church in the period between the two World Wars (Andrew Sorokowski); a rethinking of the relationship of Church and society in Galician Ukraine from 1914 to 1944 (Bohdan Budurowycz); and the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine during the interwar period (Bohdan Bociurkiw). The book concludes with a bio-bibliography of Bohdan Bociurkiw, a scholar who devoted his career to the study of Ukrainian Church history (Andrii Krawchuk). These essays provide new insights and a fresh perspective to the discipline.
But you do not have to wait until next year to read on this topic. When I was in Vienna earlier this month, I was pleased to be able to meet Frank Sysyn and Serhii Plokhy, perhaps the two leading historians of Ukrainian Christianity and history generally, and authors of many books, including collections they have collaborated on such as Religion and Nation in Modern Ukraine, which I have read with great interest.

Plokhy is also the author of such studies as Yalta: the Price of Peace, which is a fascinating study of the infamous conference at the end of World War II which led, inter alia, to Soviet domination of Poland and Eastern Europe until 1991. For those who are students of the war, this is a book not to be missed.

More recently, Plokhy has authored The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine. I have not read it yet, but historian friends who have tell me it is magnificent, which is no surprise.

And then, mentioned above, and also much discussed at our conference in Vienna, is a study that has been out for 20 years now, but is no less valuable for that: Bohdan Bociurkiw's The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Soviet State (1939-1950). (Bociurkiw has a fascinating biography, some of it detailed here.)

So the areas, broadly, of church and state in a Ukrainian context continue to attract considerable scholarly attention, and this is very much welcome given the region's pivotal place in European history, past and present.

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