On Being Ukrainian Greek Catholic

As I work on my next two posts concerning Greek Catholicism in the West, I thought this would make interesting reading for those of you who follow such matters.



original article at RISU

I had known the work of theologians Fr Alexander Schmemann and Fr John Meyendorff years before it dawned on me that these famous representatives of the Russian Orthodox community in post-1917 France had surnames that sounded more German than Slavic. I have read that both men were, in fact, of noble Russian origin,yet I cannot help but wonderif their backgrounds were not – at least somewhere along the line – similar to my own, at least in ethnic terms. After all, my Mennonite-German grandparents came from Ukraine, my grandfather having suffered first-hand inthe political vacuum left by Bolshevik success in Moscow. Indeed, he fled the country around Dniepropetrovsk after losing his own family to the Makhnovshchina, and arrived in Manitoba, Canada only a couple of years before the Holodomor. To be clear, many generations of my ancestors’ sweat mingled with Ukrainian soil, before they added their…

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  1. Both men were Russified Baltic Germans of the noble rank, not Mennonite Volga Volksdeutche (most of whom were exterminated under both the Tzars in World War I and the job finished by Stalin in World War II, and who were peasants). They were also educated by the Russian rite Jesuits in the old St George’s school for Russian boys in Namur,which does tend to colour their theology rather heavily.

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