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  • 20
    MAJ

    History in Service of Religion: Uses of the Past by Orthodox Churches in Ukraine

    Advanced seminar arranged by the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University.

    Speaker: Yuliya Yurchuk, Södertörn University.

    Diskussant: Kateryna Zorya, Södertörn University.

    Chair: Julia Malitska, Södertörn University.
     

    Ukrainian case is quite specific in regard to religious situation. There are four main churches in Ukraine: the
    Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate (UOC (KP)) which was established in 1992; the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP) which is closely connected to Russian Orthodox Church (ROC); Orthodox Autocephalous Church (OAC) and the Greek Catholic Church (GCC). The latter two were banned during the Soviet period and re-established themselves in Ukraine in 1990s. All newly (re)established churches were competing with the Moscow Patriarchate for (re)gaining both church property and believers. In such a highly competitive environment, the Churches took active standpoints in politics, including history politics. 

    In my presentation I trace the uses of the past mainly by Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate and by Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate. I start with 1988 when the Orthodox Church was celebrating the millennium of the Baptism of the Rus’ (at that point there was no separate Ukrainian Orthodox Church) and end with the year 2018 when the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople de facto promised granting the autocephaly to Ukrainian Church. Throughout the time of co-existence of UOC (KP) and UOC (MP), the past played an important role for both Churches for legitimizing their power and building alliances with political authorities. In the discussion on autocephaly, the past is used as the main reference in Churches’ claims for their exclusive right to be the only Orthodox Church on the territory of Ukraine. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople also uses the references to the past as the main explanation on his (possible) decision to recognize the independence of Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

    In the studies on the uses of the past, the use of the past by religious institutions is widely overseen. In my research, I want to highlight how the institutions which are widely regarded to be the most traditional ones and most rigid in face of changes, are actually not that rigid when it comes to reacting and aligning to the fast changing political and social contexts. Tracing the uses of the past by the Churches can help us see this.

    Yuliya Yurchuk is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of History and Contemporary Studies at
    Södertörn University, Sweden. She is the author of the book “Reordering of Meaningful Worlds: Memory of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in Post-Soviet Ukraine” . Her ongoing
    research deals with memory and religion in Ukraine funded by the Baltic Sea Foundation. She specializes in memory studies, the study of nationalism in East European countries, and postcolonial studies. Her recent publications include “Special Volumes on Memory of Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists”, in Journal of Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society, 3:2, 2017 and 4:2, 2018 (co-edited with Andreas Umland); “Memory Politics in Contemporary Ukraine. Reflections from the post-colonial perspective” forthcoming 2019 in Memory Studies (co-authored with Barbara Törnquist-Plewa); “Reclaiming the Past, Confronting the Past: OUN-UPA Memory Politics and Nation-Building in Ukraine (1991-2016)”, in War and Memory in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, ed. Julie Fedor, Markku Kangaspuro, Jussi Lassila, and Tatiana Zhurzhenko, Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies, 2017.

    Tid och plats

    När: måndag 20 maj kl. 13:00-14:30

    Vad: högre seminarium

    Var: Room MA 796, CBEES, Södertörn University

    Arrangeras av: The Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University.

    Evenemangsspråk: engelska