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Forced Conversion Reconsidered: New Perspectives on the "Reunification" of Ukrainian Greek Catholics with the Russian Orthodox Church: 1940s – 1980s

Sun, June 16, 9:00 to 10:45am, University of Zagreb, Hall D6

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

As soon as the Red Army assured its hold over Galicia in the course of World War II, a decision was taken to liquidate the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to which the majority of local population belonged. The decision was influenced by a number of considerations (from historical legacy to a geopolitical one) and led to the forced “reunification” of Ukrainian Greek Catholics with the Russian Orthodox Church, which was officially accomplished by the so-called Lviv Council (Sobor) of March 1946. The panel addresses complex consequences of the Lviv Council from three different angles. Natalia Shlikhta in her paper shows how the “reunification” led to the emergence of the “Church within the Church” within the official structure of the Moscow Patriarchate that precluded Greek Catholics’ true conversion into Orthodoxy. Svitlana Hurkina’s paper instead examines motivations of those Greek Catholics who openly rejected “reunification” seeing the preservation of the “true faith” as the prerequisite for church survival. Nadezhda Beliakova in her paper considers Greek Catholics as objects of high policies when she researches Moscow – Vatican relations within the Cold War context. All speakers agree that “reunification” was a complicated multilayered phenomenon whose study enables scholars to raise more general issues of forced conversion, cultural conflict, troubled identities, religion under communism, etc.

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