The Head of the UGCC in Gniezno: “Ideology of “The Russian World” is a legitimation of a modern colonialism through a Christian Church”

Tuesday, 15 March 2016, 15:48
The Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church His Beatitude Sviatoslav in his report “Ukraine-Poland-Russia: a possibility of peace and union” expressed his beliefs about a non-alternative of Ukrainian-Russian good-neighbourhood relations. This report was delivered during the conference in Gniezno on behalf of 1050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland with a slogan “Europe of new beginnings. Power of Christianity what sets free”.

The Major Archbishop believes experience got in the process of forming union between Ukraine and Poland might be very helpful in forming friendly relationships with Russians. “Observing a present situation from the perspective of relations among France, Germany and Poland after the World War II, we see there is no alternative for Ukrainian-Russian good-neighborhood relations. Both nations belong to the same geographical range of the Eastern Europe and no one can change a fact of their neighborhood”, said he.

However, added His Beatitude Sviatoslav, there are significant obstacles of an ideological character, that prevent the process of union move from its initial point.

Talking about Russian attitude toward Ukraine, His Beatitude Sviatoslav marked that Russian government does not acknowledge a right of Ukrainian people to exist with their own culture.

“Especially the recent years, - told the Head of the UGCC, - the highest Church and State worthy leaders proclaim Ukrainians and Russians to be one nation. Such a thesis and position in general make this dialogue impossible, as one cannot hold a conversation with those who do not have their own separation.

The representatives of state, as well as Church government of Moscow Patriarchy doubt a fact of Ukrainian Independent State existence. Exactly the fact of Ukrainian independence is considered to be West’s aggression and violence over a great Russian nation.  Thus, any actions directed onto destroying a Ukrainian independence, are claim to be a noble deed what is justified with theological views. It can be briefly presented with a statement, like God is One in Three Persons, similarly Russian nation exists in three inseparable figures: Great Russian, Belarussian and Little Russian, that is Ukrainian. In such circumstances a dialogue about a union and recognizing offences, mutually committed – is completely blocked”.

A present government of Russian Federation, proceeded he, is trying to reanimate old communist and geopolitical postulates and is unable to blame ill-legacy of communism not only in regard with Russian and Ukrainian people but also other countries – polish people, in particular. President of Russia announced that the biggest drama of the last decade of the 20th century was a dissolution of the Soviet Union. A situation was exacerbated when Russia displayed an aggression against Ukraine in 2014. Russia continues stating that war in Donbas is an internal conflict of Ukraine. An aggression against Ukraine has not only a political character but cultural as well. The ground of that are different types of a worldview. Russian political elites represent the way of thinking oriented on forming a Russian world.

“To my mind, this ideology of a Russian world is the last legitimation of a modern colonialism through a Christian Church”, is confident the Head of the Church.

Nevertheless, His Beatitude Sviatoslav thinks how inept it may sound but aspects for reaching agreement do exist, even during today’s military actions, being brought so cynically.

“Where do I get these convictions from? – says a spiritual leader of Greek-Catholics, - firstly, the Revolution of Dignity had no national character in itself and was not an anti-Russian operation, as it was a protest against violence, corruption and a new form of colonialism of a Russian government. Most of the activists of Maidan talked in Russian. Secondly, pro-European choice of Ukrainian society challenged new Russian ideology but never Russian people, neither their culture nor Russian Orthodox Church. Thirdly, approximately 60 per cents of soldiers, who are dying for free and independent Ukraine – are Russian speakers. And Russian philosophers and cultural figures who do not accept a setback of Russian political system up to the times of Soviet ideology, come to Ukraine, where they feel comfortable, as far as they are treated like independent citizens. Fourthly, despite official statistics indicates 80 per cents of support in Russia relates to a modern political vision of Russian government, there are significant doubts about its authenticity and objectiveness. While Russian principle of intimidation and constraint is turning back, people respond to interviewers as they used to do it at Stalin or Brezhnev’s times. Fifthly, common Russian citizens are not for the war with Ukraine. Wounds, people received after the World War II remain too deep. Still there is held a conviction no matter what happens, - only without a war”.

“I think the subconscious fear of society before a face of war makes Russian Federation government cover the fact of presence of a Russian army in Ukraine and seek an adjustment in other military forces, conducted by Russia”, thinks the Head of the UGCC.

According to His Beatitude Sviatoslav, striving for reducing a tension between Russian and Ukrainian relationships and mutual apologies together with union can turn out only after armed aggression ceases, relationships on intergovernmental level are regulated, and afterwards it is possible to start reunion between people.

“From a Russian side, - thinks the Major Archbishop, - there is a need in awareness of causing harm to the neighboring countries, but it seems unlikely in a situation that has occurred. In the Russian information space is popularized an opinion that Russia has never been an aggressor as well as making only “emancipatory” wars, including present actions on Crimea Coast and Donbas. So far Orthodox Church cannot play the role similar to the one which Catholic Church played in German-Polish-Ukrainian union, considering its union with a Russian government, instrumentalization of the Church in the name of propaganda of the “Russian World”, with a concept of an ecclesial unity what means complete subordination. Despite such differences and a whole dramatism and painful experiences there is a need to look for ways of restoring broaden good-neighboring relationships between our Churches, nations and countries. Russians observe the history of relations with other countries from their own perspective, often without paying attention periods, marked with a bitter grief”.

It is worth mentioning that during the Conference His Beatitude Sviatoslav met with a President of Poland, Andrzej Duda. Together they discussed a process of cooperation between Poland and Ukraine.

The UGCC Department of Information

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CHRISTMAS PASTORAL LETTER OF HIS BEATITUDE SVIATOSLAV 12 December

Most Reverend Archbishops and Metropolitans, God-loving Bishops, Very Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics, Dearly Beloved Brothers...

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