Myroslav Marynovych, vice-rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University: "I believe that the star of Ukraine will shine"

Myroslav Marynovych is a dissident, human rights activist, founder of the Ukrainian Helsinki Union, vice-rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University... However, these and other titles do not reflect his true scale and size. He is a moral authority, whose opinion is listened to, whose word has weight. He sees and comprehends what is hidden from the majority and very clearly dissects what is happening in Ukraine.

His faith in Ukraine and in the people who live here is super important. In the interview, everything is about this, as well as about Ukrainian realities, the figure of Metropolitan Andrii and the future of our country.

- Myroslav, The First of December Initiative Group released a statement on the situation in the country with the rule of law. The failed "judicial" system, which both Ukrainian citizens and foreign investors are afraid of, distances us from the civilized world, in particular, from joining the European Union and NATO membership. But the Churches, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations are silent about this. To what extent should the Church be immersed in the social and political life of the country, separating from the state? How is it correct to apply the principle “Caesar's is Caesar's, but to God God's”?

- I would not like to fall into the trap of naked criticism, reproaching others for inaction, for it is my Christian duty to remember the “log in my own eye” (cf. Matt. 7:3). However, I could express the wish that all Churches in Ukraine be as bold in assessing threatening social realities as Metropolitan Andrii Sheptytskyi once was. If the formula "The Church is out of politics" is understood as a formula of detachment and silence, then this is fraught with the fact that the Churches will participate in politics on the side of the authorities. If we talk specifically about the rule of law, then who, if not the Churches, should remind society as a whole and those in power in particular the biblical: “Thus says the Lord: Do justice and truth, and save the robber from the hand of the oppressor, the stranger, the orphan and the widow do not oppress do not plunder, and do not shed innocent blood in this place!” (Jer 22:3). The only important thing is to find your own language of such caution, so as not to become like political slander.

- Myroslav, we recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of Ukraine's Independence. To what extent have the expectations of the fighters for Ukrainian independence, in particular yours, come true? And tell me, please, what period described in the Bible is Ukraine going through now?

- Comparing my rosy expectations in the past and today's realities, I would summarize as follows: illusions have disappeared - optimism remains. Yes, I see that our ancient weaknesses are becoming weights in our development. What helped people to survive during the time of enslavement (for example, corruption) today becomes a brake and reduces our chances. However, I believe in Ukraine and its chances, as long as there are people in it who can distinguish truth from deceit, good from evil, and have the courage to stand on the side of good. For the same reason, I do not believe in the Viktory of Putin and his regime, since they have relied on lies, hatred and violence. Sooner or later, the ground beneath them will sink.
If we look for a time frame in the Bible, then I will not be original and repeat that half-joke that was walking around Ukraine these weeks: we have already passed thirty years of Moses - there are still ten more . It takes at least two generations for an active population to shake off the ashes of slavery from their soles. However, it is not only the number as such that is important here. Between the exit from Egypt and the entry into the promised land, an event occurred that was of fundamental importance for the future life of the biblical people: Moses descended to Mount Sinai and received the tablets of the Covenant from God. In modern terms, the people received the Funds of a new social contract, according to which they now had to live. And specifically, this completely cut off the umbilical cord, with which the people were tied to the country of their own slavery. So, for thirty years we have been wandering through our deserts, but we have not yet climbed our Mount Sinai, and therefore we live according to the old quasi-Soviet social contract.

- Religious scholars say: they say, the Jewish people walked in the desert for forty years, because Israel came out of Egypt, and Egypt did not come out of Israel. Yes, in your opinion, can you say about the Ukrainians about the "scoop"? After all, as the well-known researcher of the Holodomor James Mace wrote, in 1991 the Ukrainian SSR gained independence...

- Agree. That was the point of my answer to the previous question. We should change the “package” of values that we lived by in Soviet times, that is, the values of survival, and agree that from now on we will live by the values that underlie human civilization. We can't think of anything smarter.

– In one of your interviews, you noted that you saw the Polish or Lithuanian ways of development for Ukraine. But it didn't happen. Why is Ukraine not where Poland is? One of the answers: because even under socialism there was a church and private property, but we don’t. Do you agree? Other arguments?

- Both countries had a path of development close to us, and we could and can draw on their experience in overcoming the communist legacy. At the same time, we are not talking about blind copying. We agree that the prerequisites you mentioned were of no small importance, and this distinguished them from us. Every nation is unique, and Ukrainians have their own set of characteristics. For example, the Poles today are mostly a mono-ethnic and mono-confessional nation, while Ukraine has a mosaic identity. In the past, when homogeneity of traits had an advantage, Ukrainians had no chance. Today, the principle of "unity in diversity" operates in the world, and Ukraine could receive great public energy if it could implement this principle consciously and effectively. But this requires overcoming certain stereotypes, and I still do not see an organized social force that would take this task as the basis of its activities. The creation of such power, perhaps, will take away from us those ten years that we lack until the completion of the number of Moses.

- Myroslav, as sociology testifies, every year about / more than 70% of Ukrainians recognize themselves as believers. Big percentage. It would seem that under him, Ukraine should already be a blessed country... Maybe we lack the practical embodiment of faith - what the Protestants call "work as for God"? Or what's the matter?

- I am happy that this percentage is so great, but following you I also notice that this number does not create a qualitative change in society. There are many factors involved here, but the most important, I think, is this one. Eastern Christianity has its age-old trap: it easily falls into the rite. This is the conviction that if I performed some rites or rituals, I fulfilled my duty to God. However, the rite is only a corset that supports our faith, but not faith as such. We fulfill our duty to God by keeping His commandments. Therefore, it is not so much the ceremonial attire of our faith that matters, but rather the gospel content of it.
Also influenced by our traditional despondency is that by our own actions we can change the structures of sin. They seem omnipotent to us, so during the week we obey those structures, and on Sunday we “agree” with God: “Lord, You see how hard life is for me and that I must obey. Forgive me, sinner! Therefore, it is very important for us, people, to realize that our “small” and supposedly imperceptible sin matters - that it is he, attached to millions of other “small” sins, that gives strength to this top. It is strong in its sinfulness because it feeds on our "little" sins. It's like a tree: it's big and broad, but it feeds on small and invisible roots.

- Myroslav Marynovich - author of the book "Metropolitan Andrii Sheptytskyi and the principle of "positive sum"". You often place the Metropolitan in our reality by publishing materials about him in top publications, thereby showing his scale and relevance. In your opinion, why is Vladyka Andrii not held in esteem by the world that he is worth of? This is somehow connected with the fact that Ukraine did not integrate its own heroes into itself (even on the anniversary of Independence, they were mentioned selectively), and even more so did not present them to the world, to neighboring countries with which cultural intersections.

– Metropolitan Andrii shares the fate of his people and is still in the shadows. There is something even mystical in this: the Metropolitan has long been a test for both Ukraine and the world. I believe that the star of Ukraine should not just come out of this shadow, but shine like a supernova that will illuminate everything around. The prototype of this effect was shown by our Ukrainian Maidans, which struck the world with their light. But before our star flashes, there must be important spiritual "reactions" in it, which should increase our spiritual power. And here the preaching of Metropolitan Andrii is simply irreplaceable. That is, Ukraine will burst into a supernova when Sheptytskyi himself flashes into a powerful star in our public consciousness.
And speaking on a practical level, Ukrainians are still deep in their historical pains and it is hard to enter into a dialogue with the world. It is more important for us to understand ourselves than to explain ourselves to other nations. And here is an eloquent illustration: the epistles of Metropolitan Andrii have not yet been translated into English.

- In this book there is a whole section “National Sphere”, and in it there are chapters “Sheptytskyi and Nationalism”, “Hatred and Patriotism”, “Strife and Enmity”, “Revenge and Terrorism”, where the Metropolitan warned against fratricide (in the Christian sense ), hatred, revenge. If we imagine him as our contemporary, what would be Sheptytskyi's reaction to the occupation of part of the east of the country, the annexation of Crimea, the war for the eighth year already ... He would agree with the calls of the Ukrainian authorities "Do not shoot!" (this is especially true of the occupation of the Crimea)? And what advice would you give?
- No, the advice "Don't shoot!" he wouldn't have given us. Despite the fact that Sheptytskyi was the author of the famous message “Thou shalt not kill,” he was not a pacifist, therefore, for example, he believed that the Zhovnirs, who defended their land and their homes in the First World War, were fulfilling the Christian duty “to give their lives for their friends.” ".

At the same time, on the issue of the occupied Donbass and the annexed Crimea, I think his position would be close to that of the well-known German Christian Democrat Konrad Adenauer. Germany was also dismembered after the war, and Adenauer, as chancellor of West Germany, could not immediately unite the German lands. But he knew: the fairer the order in the part under his control and the greater its well-being, the more attractive it will be for the eastern part. And so it really happened.

– “Free peoples live by science and inventions, while the colonized people live by traditions and cannot compete,” these words belong to Vladyka Andrii Sheptytskyi. Ukrainian society is often called patriarchal, not without reason. Yes, many people denied COVID-19, but vaccination was considered chipization? Not so long ago, an article was published in Ukrainska Pravda stating that many cancer patients are sure that molfars and sorcerers can cure them of cancer (literally, this statement of one of the Ukrainian oncologists was derived in title ) . Maybe we should conduct more educational and information campaigns among Ukrainians?

- It is necessary that the correct social elevators work. If those who are accustomed to deceiving and “stepping on corpses” climb up the stairs, then honest people will rarely have recognition. If "clairvoyants" gain public attention and popularity, then sober realists will be pushed to the sidelines. As long as in our minds the measure of success in life will be "cars" and "cottages" in the Bahamas, or a stunning win at roulette, until then the social pyramid will be turned upside down, and everyone will strive for success at any cost - and even now. And then all the "magicians" and their political speakers - populists - will come in handy. Of course, educational campaigns are important, but it is even more important to have positive examples that others will follow.

- You are the vice-rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University, where talented and gifted youth study. Are you in favor of her continuing her education/internship abroad after graduation, from where, by the way, she may not return to Ukraine (after all, you can present Ukraine anywhere), or change the country here, where, by the way, social elevators do not quite work or do not work at all, what did you say?

- It is clear that I am for our graduates to stay in Ukraine. That is why we are trying to improve education at UCU so that applicants do not leave to study abroad. However, globalization has its own laws and the migration of people cannot be stopped by prohibitions or public condemnation. You should make your own attractive - and this is the only way to reduce the "brain drain" from Ukraine.

– We are talking about external European integration. Has intra-Ukrainian integration, in your opinion, taken place?

- There is neither one nor the other, that is, we are still far from those declared goals. Although, on the other hand, we do not stand still and have moved forward. If we talk about intra-Ukrainian integration, then the Ukrainian Maidans significantly contributed to it. They had a fantastic feeling of "the only family", and this is not forgotten even when the enthusiasm fades. But what is needed for the future is a united and dynamic social and political force that will resist this experience of unity and develop it. And he will develop a state policy of social integration, as Germany developed after unification.

As for external European integration, Ukrainians, of course, have more and more experience of getting to know Europe and the world, but this is mainly consumer experience. So far, we are only using Europe, and are not entering into an essential cultural dialogue with it. And for such a dialogue to take place, it is necessary that the Ukrainian nation acquire a clear national and cultural subjectivity, and that “ordinary” people become its ambassadors.

- Now we are witnessing a trend that you, in your book about Sheptytskyi, call the “zero sum” (win-lose) principle, when the world, one might say, is localized: countries are increasingly oriented towards their own strengths and partnerships with neighboring countries instead of global associations. In Ukraine, too, rhetoric about self-reliance began to sound. So on what basis, narratives to build a “Ukrainian home”, in your opinion?

- You are right: the world is becoming more and more infected with national egoism, and the rhetoric of cooperation is relegated to the sidelines. This is a very disturbing trend that threatens humanity with new major crises. After the Second World War, wiping the bloody sweat, mankind unanimously said: Never again! ("Never again!"). Today, more and more politicians are leaning towards Putin's well-known formula: "We can repeat it!" Nothing good will come of it. But we, Ukrainians, are not worth the monkey of some modern political leaders. Ukraine will survive as a security only on the basis of “unity in diversity”, and at the heart of such a model is the principle of “positive sum” (win-win), when everyone benefits from cooperation.

- Advise TOP 5 books from Myroslav Marynovych, which are worth reading in the autumn-winter evenings to make them cozy?

- When I want a cozy evening, I read the stories of Agatha Christie, which I already know almost by heart. But everyone has their own comfort, so the choice of a book for relaxation is an individual choice. Another thing is compulsory reading and re-reading in order to develop certain unchanging principles. First of all, this is the Bible, which is difficult for many, but the more you immerse yourself in it, the richer your spiritual world becomes. The second book is the Ukrainian "Bible", that is, "Kobzar". Shevchenko's word acts like a tuning fork, and our many-voiced Ukrainian "choir" will not sing in the same key if mothers do not teach their children from childhood to pick up this key from Shevchenko's word. And finally, my own choice - "The Three Musketeers" by Dumas. It was this book in my youth that taught me to value friendship and not change it. I'm not sinless, but that's how I try to live.

– What feeds your interest in life, saturates your sharp mind, allows you to preserve God's peace?

- For my age, my life has been “given away again” so many times that it is interesting to me, if only simply because I could never see all these events. In addition, I am interested in the Lord's pedagogy, that is, how the Lord works in human life. They say that an apple fell on Newton's head and he discovered the law of gravity. Various "accidents" fall on our heads, but we, as a rule, are not able to discover the laws of God's world order in them. So watching God's plan for this world unfold fills my mind. God's peace comes from trust in His Providence. In the camp, the KGB officer told me: “If you don’t repent, then you will never return to Ukraine.” I did not repent - and yet I returned. After being fired, another KGB officer told me: “Now perestroika is underway in the country, you can work freely. But, of course, if you don’t change your position, then you won’t go abroad.” I have not changed - and have already traveled half the world. So, it is not "the powers that be" who are the masters of History, but the Lord God.

Interviewed by Nadia Tysiachna

The interview was prepared for Ukrinform with the assistance of the Peace and Development Foundation .
https://www.ukrinform.u a/rubric-society/3334523-Myroslav-marinovic-vicerektor-ukrainskogo-katolickogo-universitetu.html