CNEWA Canada

Ukraine: The Laboratory of Ecumenism

As Russia continues its buildup of troops in Crimea and along the eastern Ukrainian border, Christians of all denominations in Ukraine continue their preparations to celebrate Easter in less than two weeks. Both in the geopolitical and religious realms, Ukraine’s current and unique situation is tenuous, requiring a delicate balance of diplomacy and cautious action. 

In her article published last December, Anna Nekrasova-Wilson offers some insight into the relations among the churches in Ukraine, and how the relationship among churches can help us understand how Ukrainians identify themselves and how ecumenical dialogue can contribute to peace throughout the country. Listen to her audio clip  or read the transcript below.

Ukraine is sometimes called the “laboratory of ecumenism,” but it has also often been perceived as the problem point in the global ecumenical movement. 

This article talks about the modern inter-Christian relations in Ukraine and the efforts in finding unity between the many churches of the Kiev tradition, the Church of Kiev. 

With the emergence of the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine, and the acquisition of autocephaly, there is a historical shift, and there is now a chance to establish the tone of relations between churches in Ukraine. 

We spoke with a number of representatives of the biggest churches about what unity means to them today and in what ways this unity is possible in the Ukrainian context. 

For decades, a number of initiatives have been working in Ukraine, aiming to bring Christians of the East and the West closer together and directly promoting better understanding between the various Christian denominations in the country. 

We asked the opinion of their founders and members about where Ukraine is in the coordinated system of the world ecumenical movement. What are the challenges on this path? And why is dialogue so important?

Anna Nekrasova-Wilson is a Kyiv-based journalist and producer from Ukraine, working with international media such as USA TODAY, Die Zeit, and The Wall Street Journal.

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