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Whilst those reading the article have probably always lived in a very democratic environment which promotes and facilitates growth and development of NGOs and democratic values, it somehow turned out that “Obnova” during its long history has always needed to push its way out of the bubble of comfort. Being one of the oldest Christian organisations in Ukraine, it was founded in 1930 in Lviv as the initiative of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky and rector of the Lviv Theological Academy Rev. Josyf Slipy. Obnova’s first spiritual leader was Rev. Mykola Konrad. (now blessed)

During the meeting

Presentation of the meeting

   What was so powerfully witnessed during the Revolution of Dignity was the emergence of a new modality of communication, which we might call a language of values. It was very spontaneously and beautifully born from the spirit and ethos of the solidarity of the Maidan community. The very name “Revolution of Dignity” aptly reflects our growing ability to communicate in a language which enables us to transcend the differences among ourselves not by simply ignoring them but rather by respectfully allowing them to unfold and enrich our dialog.

I would like to start my brief presentation with the lines of the famous poem by German Protestant pastor Martin Niemӧller: 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

The similarities of the current geopolitical situation to the one prevailing before World War II are so striking, convincing and widespread that they are almost inescapable.

About the way religion is used both to construct and resist a new East–West divide. 

             Nov. 4 Fordham University’s Orthodox Christian Studies Center hosted an international panel of experts to discuss the complicated role of religion in the current Ukrainian – Russian conflict. Claims of religious underpinnings got a completely different take in the well argued panel discussion. Olena Nikolayenko (pol. science, Fordham U) gave statistical overview in which economy has been dominant in the Donbas region and not religion as some would want us to believe. 

      There were a number of concepts presented and specially interesting was the instrumentalization of religious institutions by political powers. The other – Russky myr (Russian world) – as it is related to it with its overarching cultural link. 

JECI-MIEC wanted to go to Ukraine and have a Colloquium there… unfortunately, we had to cancel this event. It was planned that the event started on Sunday, 23rd of March – since we could not come to Ukraine, we propose to hold a prayer on that day in your movement. Ideally at 19:00am so that you can be sure, that elsewhere in Europe as well, students are joining your prayer – (but: if 19:00am is no good time, feel free to choose another time or even date).

On November 28th the heads of European Union member states will gather in Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, for a summit of the “Eastern Partnership”. This project was championed by Poland and Sweden in 2008 as a way of engaging with six former Soviet republics (Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia) after Russia blocked Georgia’s and Ukraine’s path to NATO. The success or failure of this venture depends on whether Ukraine, by far the largest and most important of the six, signs an association and free-trade agreement with the EU.


Federation of Ukrainian Catholic academic and student associations

Presentation of the movement

           “Obnova” was established in 2001 in Ternopil. It comes from the “Obnova” established in 1930 in Lviv, and the “Obnova” Federations, which existed in the diaspora during the Soviet times. During 1939-1989 the activity of the Catholic Church and its laity structures was forbidden, except for small communities.

           “Obnova” has kept its relations with PAX ROMANA since 1931. Federations of “Obnova” associations participated actively in the activities of PAX ROMANA in the diaspora till mid 1970s.