An Opportunity to Learn — The Sheptytsky Institute Summer Program

For students at Lviv Theological Seminary, intensive courses in Eastern Christianity go hand in hand with the warm days of summer. From 30 June to 28 July, four students from Lviv Theological Seminary in Lviv, Ukraine, participated in the annual Sheptytsky Institute Summer Intensive program, held again at the Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic Monastery in Orangeville, Ontario. The students attended classes, participated in liturgies at nearby churches and spent time in the monastery with religious.

The Sheptytsky Institute is named after Metropolitan Archbishop Andrey Sheptytsky (1865-1944) who, as Archbishop of Lviv, led the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church from the age of 36 through Nazi and Soviet occupations and strove for Orthodox-Catholic reconciliation. Through the summer program, the students from Ukraine – much-needed future clergy and laypersons – are able to experience a wide range of ecumenical encounters that they would not find in Ukraine.

Comments of the four students on the summer program all share a common strain: they learned much and reached new levels of faith.

“It was so nice to pray with people in their churches, to share our experience, to tell one another about our churches…. Our knowledge of prayer became real theology,” said student Mariya Sakvuk.

Fifth-year Lviv student Halyna Korpalo commented, “here in Canada I understood that an ecumenical dialogue is possible.”

Another fifth-year student, Hanna Ivanyshyn, stressed that by worshipping with the religious, “I could learn how to imitate Christ and how to live as a Christian in the modern world. In the moments of common prayer or talk I felt like a member of one undivided Church which is the Body of Christ. Now I know that love unites us.”

About visiting different churches in the area, such as the Armenian, Coptic and Antiochian Orthodox Churches, Mariya Marko added, “truly I saw that there are more things between us that unite us, not separate us. Now I have many ideas, many plans, many dreams, and a very big desire to put them into action.”

Thanks to CNEWA’s donors, CNEWA has offered scholarships to Lviv students for the Sheptytsky Summer Intensive program for the past five years. An invaluable learning experience, the program is, in the words of the institute’s founder and director, Father Andriy Chirovsky, a “humble search for the Truth.”

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