Orthodox Churches – UAOC http://uaoc.net/ Thu, 30 Jun 2022 23:13:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://uaoc.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/icon-1-150x150.png Orthodox Churches – UAOC http://uaoc.net/ 32 32 Ukraine’s Lviv symbolically votes to ban former Moscow-affiliated church https://uaoc.net/ukraines-lviv-symbolically-votes-to-ban-former-moscow-affiliated-church/ Thu, 30 Jun 2022 23:13:36 +0000 https://uaoc.net/ukraines-lviv-symbolically-votes-to-ban-former-moscow-affiliated-church/ By Max Hunder KYIV (Reuters) – The local council in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Thursday became the first to ban a branch of the Orthodox church that was until last month directly affiliated with Moscow. According to Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi, the council’s unanimous vote to ban the activity of the Ukrainian […]]]>

By Max Hunder

KYIV (Reuters) – The local council in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Thursday became the first to ban a branch of the Orthodox church that was until last month directly affiliated with Moscow.

According to Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi, the council’s unanimous vote to ban the activity of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) – which has long-standing ties with Moscow – was “political” and without legislative effect, because the rules on religious organizations are established at the national level. .

“It is a position that we have publicly expressed, and now the state bodies must get to work,” said Sadovyi, quoted by the city administration website.

The UOC, which until May reported to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, was the official representative of Orthodox Christianity in Ukraine until 2019, when the new Ukrainian Orthodox Church was officially recognized by the leaders of the Church in Istanbul.

A separate Ukrainian church, seen as an essential part of the newly independent Ukrainian state, was first proclaimed months after Ukraine gained independence from Soviet rule in 1991. It fought for years to be recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Istanbul before finally getting her wish in 2019.

Most lay worshipers have moved to the new church, but the majority of parishes have not, sparking tensions that came to a head after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

In late May, the Russia-affiliated church’s ruling synod voted to cut the church’s ties with Moscow in response to Patriarch Kirill’s blatant support for the war, described by the Kremlin as a ‘special military operation’. .

Most worshipers in Lviv, like much of western Ukraine, are Eastern Rite Catholics – tied to Rome but attending services similar to those in Orthodox churches.

According to the city council, only four churches in Lviv belong to the previously affiliated church in Moscow.

An aide to the metropolitan of the Lviv church told Reuters the church did not believe the ban applied to her because she was no longer loyal to Moscow.

However, Yuriy Lomaha, the city councilor who put forward the motion, said he considered Moscow’s public disavowal “wrong”.

“They’re going down this road to get less attention,” Lomaha told Reuters, reflecting wider mistrust in Ukrainian society of the church and its longstanding ties to the church. Moscow.

An April poll showed that 51% of Ukrainians polled wanted their government to ban the UOC, with considerably higher support in the west of the country.

(Reporting by Max Hunder; Editing by Ron Popeski and Richard Chang)

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Why Chinese Evangelism Begins With The Big Ba… https://uaoc.net/why-chinese-evangelism-begins-with-the-big-ba/ Tue, 28 Jun 2022 14:29:01 +0000 https://uaoc.net/why-chinese-evangelism-begins-with-the-big-ba/ This spring, a Canadian department organized a bu dao hui or “evangelism meeting”, for the Chinese diaspora. Their subject: science and faith. For an hour, the audience learned via the livestream how the Big Bang theory proved the beginning of time and space and the extreme complexity of biological systems and genetic coding indicated the […]]]>

This spring, a Canadian department organized a bu dao hui or “evangelism meeting”, for the Chinese diaspora. Their subject: science and faith. For an hour, the audience learned via the livestream how the Big Bang theory proved the beginning of time and space and the extreme complexity of biological systems and genetic coding indicated the existence of a creator and designer of the universe and of human life. They heard an explanation of “general revelation” and “special revelation.” And they received an invitation to the Gospel.

When the Zoom conference ended, many of the more than 200 viewers offered feedback in the form of a letter. Many “C’s” appeared on the screen, indicating “I am already a Christian”. However, there were also several “A’s”, meaning “I have accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord tonight”.

Using science as a hook to share the gospel has long been a way for Chinese Christians in North America to share their faith with their unbelieving friends. A significant number of China’s best-known evangelists have a scientific background and often speak in churches about the relationship between science and Christianity. Many churches believe that science-related lectures and discussions attract the attention of scholars, a belief that stems from a long history of shifting feelings among Chinese intellectuals about the relationship between science and the Christian faith in the country.

The missionaries arrive

Long before the Roman Catholic Church began sending missionaries to China in the 16th century, Chinese philosophy and worldview were dominated by Confucianism, Buddhism (with Chinese characteristics), and Taoism. Chinese intellectuals and officials did not value science and technology, and science was particularly underdeveloped. Although there were significant advances in some areas of technology in its earlier history, for example during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), China had fallen far behind in science and technology before the Ming dynasty (in the 14th century).

When Matteo Ricci and his fellow Jesuit missionaries to China first arrived in 1583, they quickly became known for their zeal in introduce scientific knowledge in China. Catholic missionaries (the best known after Ricci are Adam Schall and Ferdinand Verbiest) used this strategy to gain a foothold among the Chinese elite (who wanted to strengthen China by learning from the West) and achieve their ultimate goal of spreading their faith. They befriended the senior officers of the Emperor’s court and interacted with highly educated Chinese Confucianist officers-scholars (the most famous of whom was Xu Guangqi, who would later convert to Catholicism). They won respect for their impressive knowledge of astronomy, calendar making, mathematics, hydraulics and geography and became experts in special imperial commissions in science and technology. Their contribution to the development of China made much sympathy for Christianity, and their positive influence on Chinese society and culture is still remembered by Chinese intellectuals today.

Image: WikiMedia Commons

From left to right: Ferdinand Verbiest, Matteo Ricci and Adam Schall

Protestant missionaries started coming to China in the early 19th century and soon began to build hospitals and universities. Based on their belief in a holistic mission strategy, they contributed to the development of science and technology in China’s Ming and Qing dynasties, especially in medical science and science education. Many of the best universities and hospitals in China today have their roots in historic universities and hospitals established by Protestant missionaries.

Opposition and persecution

Despite these contributions, during the Ming (1388-1644) and Qing (1644-1912) dynasties, Christianity was mainly considered by Chinese intellectuals as a “foreign religion” harmful to Chinese culture and traditional beliefs, and missionaries as “tools of Western imperialism”. cultural invasion” with a hidden agenda. During times of political turmoil, rulers could fuel nationalist movements and encourage hostility toward Western missionaries. During the “Boxer Rebellion” of 1900, dozens of Western Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox missionaries and thousands of Chinese Christians were massacred throughout northern China.

In the 1920s, the anti-christian movement broke out in China triggered by the 1919 May Fourth Movementadherence to Western ideas about democracy and science. Influenced by Marxism and other non-Christian Western thought, many progressive intellectuals seen Christianity both anti-democracy and anti-science.

After the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) led by Mao Zedong took power in 1949, the Communist government set up the so-called “Three-Self” churches (self-governance, self-sufficiency and self-propagation ) who were ready to break away from “imperialist” forces and cooperate with the CCP. The Three-Self churches became the government-sanctioned churches, and the government persecuted and imprisoned pastors and church leaders who refused to join the system. The nonconformist church eventually became the underground “house churches”. During the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), house churches and Three-Self churches were banned and destroyed as “old imperialist garbage”. Christianity has been criticized as imperialistic and anti-scientific and, ironically, even “western capitalist science” has been seen as “reactionary”. For the persecuted Chinese church at that time, science was naturally not a priority.

After Mao’s death, China opened its doors to the West. House churches began to grow at an incredibly rapid rate in the 1980s and 1990s and spread from the countryside to rapidly developing cities. Urban house churches had a significantly higher proportion of intellectuals and professionals in their congregations. The Christians of these churches inherited the pietism and fundamentalism of the traditional Christians of the country churches, but at the same time they had much more contact with the outside world (especially after the popularity of the Internet) and were more influenced by the Western theology and philosophy.

The arrival of the internet

After the CCP’s crackdown on the Tiananmen Square democracy movement in 1989, many disillusioned and heartbroken young Chinese intellectuals immigrated to the United States and Canada, and a significant number converted to Christianity. Most of these immigrants were graduate students and scholars in the natural sciences, so they had a particular interest in the relationship between science and Christianity.

As Internet access became commonplace in the 1990s (and before the creation of the Great Firewall), BBSes and online forums became a popular destination for Chinese Christians around the world to engage with non -believers and practicing internet evangelism and apologetics. The hottest debates were about science versus Christianity, specifically evolution versus creation, and whether “science has disproved God.” The controversy is not surprising given that China’s official ideology has been Marxism-Maoism (which has been referred to as “scientific socialism”) and that official education in China had indoctrinated students with anti-social dogmas. -religious.

Over the past two decades, the Chinese church’s most influential book of apologetics has been song of a wanderer (You Zi Yin), written by Li Cheng, an evangelist with a doctorate in biology. The book contains remarkably much discussion of science and faith, especially criticism of the theory of evolution, and it has been the number one choice for a book of apologies for Chinese churches and Christians to give to their research friends, many of whom have a scientific background, as a gift.

Apologetics and evangelism today

Today, urban house churches in China (which are even more persecuted) and diaspora Chinese churches outside of China continue to face the challenges of secularism and materialism. In their evangelism and apologetics, Chinese Christians still often encounter opposition from scientism and other modernist thought, as well as from postmodernism.

In mainstream society, the majority of scientists in China continue to regard Christian creationism (especially Young Earth creationism) as anti-science religious nonsense, denying the truth about evolution. However, the attitude toward science-related Christian apologetics among Chinese scholars today is not entirely hostile.

In July 2021, a video by the famous physicist Chen-Ning Yang, one of the few Chinese Nobel laureates and one of the most respected scientists among the Chinese, has been published on the Internet. In the video, Yang answered the audience’s question “Does God exist?”

“If you’re talking about an anthropomorphic ‘god’, I don’t think such a being exists. But if you ask me if there is a Creator of the Universe, I think there is,” he said. “Because it is no coincidence that the world has such a delicate structure… The laws of nature are so ordered, but the combinations are random, so any product with a purpose must be a product of a smart design.”

Although there is no other evidence indicating that Yang converted to Christianity, he seems to have become theist or deist because of new scientific discoveries.

Within Chinese churches, national or in the Diaspora, there is diversity in the views of Chinese Christians on creation versus evolution. Young Earth creationism is still the most accepted by Chinese Christians in China and abroad. Last year, ReFrame Ministries translated two pounds in Chinese discussing the debate between creation and evolution. One book presents diverse Christian perspectives on the issue, another focuses more on intelligent design. At the end of June 2022, the organization will publish another book, Above All Things: The Romance and War of Christianity and Sciencewritten in Chinese and co-authored by Jidian (myself) and Xiao Zao, two Chinese evangelists with scientific training (chemistry and physics).

There is still work to be done for Chinese Christians to overcome an anti-science mentality (mostly rooted in fundamentalism) and for the field of apologetics to learn to harness the goals of modern science evangelism. Christian apologetics and evangelism must be person-specific and be particularly sensitive to the cultural and historical background of the seeker. In this context, arguments of strategic scientific apologetics can carry particular weight, especially when engaging Chinese intellectuals. I hope the historical reflection in this article can benefit Christians in contextualizing their apologetic and evangelistic efforts.

Sean Cheng is editor of CT Asia

[ This article is also available in
简体中文 and
繁體中文. ]

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San Diego church leaders grapple with Supreme Court ruling https://uaoc.net/san-diego-church-leaders-grapple-with-supreme-court-ruling/ Mon, 27 Jun 2022 00:55:00 +0000 https://uaoc.net/san-diego-church-leaders-grapple-with-supreme-court-ruling/ Pastors in San Diego County struggled on Sunday to help their congregations understand last week’s Supreme Court ruling on abortion, a topic deeply felt by many people of faith. Most church leaders plan their sermons weeks in advance, often on a theme such as hope or salvation. But knowledgeable preachers know the importance of acknowledging […]]]>

Pastors in San Diego County struggled on Sunday to help their congregations understand last week’s Supreme Court ruling on abortion, a topic deeply felt by many people of faith.

Most church leaders plan their sermons weeks in advance, often on a theme such as hope or salvation. But knowledgeable preachers know the importance of acknowledging from the pulpit the major issues of the day and events in the lives of church members.

Friday’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, the case that legalized abortion in 1973, was one such example. The subject is deeply divisive, even among the faithful, and opinions vary like the colors of the rainbow.

David Jeremiah, pastor of the megachurch Shadow Mountain Community Church based in El Cajon, praised the Supreme Court for the positions it took last week on two things – gun rights and abortion.

“It’s been a great week for the freedoms we enjoy,” Jeremiah told a large congregation that responded with loud applause.

Shadow Mountain is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination and a strong supporter of anti-abortion views. The Sunday morning service was streamed live online and at six San Diego County auxiliary church campuses.

“I remember back in 1973 when Roe vs. Wade happened…and the war that’s been going on until now,” Jeremiah said. “Sadly, 63 million children have died without any choice on their part in recent years.”

The Supreme Court’s June 24 decision leaves the matter up to individual states, he said, and “the battle is not over,” particularly in California, where abortions remain legal.

“I’m not an agitator, I’m not here to create a problem,” Jeremiah said. “I’m just here to tell you how grateful I am that we reached this milestone and how proud I am of the judges, with their own lives at stake, who came out and did the right thing.”

Mainstream churches such as First Presbyterian of Oceanside have taken a more moderate approach.

Reverend Mike Killeen, the senior pastor of First Presbyterian, said during his Sunday sermon that the issue of abortion is “uncomfortable and divisive”, and he asked members of the congregation to raise their hands. They had strong opinions about it. Many quickly raised their hands.

“There are people who are distraught and upset,” Killeen told her followers. “Other people who are at peace and rejoicing. Let us rise above division and come before our father in heaven and worship God.

In his sermon, Killeen said people often ask him why he doesn’t preach on “hot topics of the day” such as COVID-19, vaccinations and lockdowns.

“If I talk about it here (from the pulpit), there’s no room for a conversation,” he said. “This and all the other events of the past two years require a relational and crucial conversation. There is always another voice to be heard, someone on the other side of the story.

Killeen offered to meet as a group at the church later in the week with anyone who wanted to discuss the Supreme Court’s decision “as well as all the other events of the past two years.”

The recent decisions were bad news for St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in San Diego, where the congregation has a large number of LGBTQ members.

Particularly troubling were Judge Clarence Thomas’ comments on Friday that the court should then reconsider decisions on gay rights and birth control, said the Very Reverend Penny Bridges, Dean of St. Paul’s, who rewrote her Sunday morning sermon to respond to the latest developments. .

“There’s a lot of fear in my congregation…that marriage equality could be next,” Bridges said.

“I reminded them that the Episcopal Church strongly supports reproductive rights and gun control,” she said by phone Sunday afternoon. “It was a bad week for the church. God calls us to action…to put our energy in a positive way and not be discouraged by the dark times.

All life is sacred and any decision to terminate a pregnancy is tragic, Bridges said. But it is “a personal and private decision”, not that of politicians.

In addition, she said, the court’s decision “institutionalises inequality” by making it more difficult for minority women and those without financial resources to obtain the same health services as women. who have money.

“It feels like we’re trapped in a time machine that’s always spinning in reverse and won’t stop until we return to an era of unchallenged white male patriarchy,” she said. .

Cardinal-designate Robert McElroy of the Catholic Diocese of San Diego released a statement Friday praising the court’s decision.

“Today is a day to give thanks and celebrate,” McElroy said. “Catholic social teaching holds that life begins at conception, a belief shared by millions of Americans, regardless of religion.”

More work is needed in California, he said.

“Being pro-life requires more than opposing abortion,” he said in the statement. “It requires that we do everything we can to support families, to give them access to quality health care, affordable housing, good jobs and decent housing.

“It means making sure that parents and families have access to affordable childcare, so that being a parent does not force women and families to drop out of school or out of the workforce. . It also means reinvigorating our adoption system, to ensure there are options for women and families who are unable or unwilling, for whatever reason, to assume parental responsibilities,” McElroy said. “Support for children and families cannot stop at birth.”

Similar divisions emerged in religious groups across the country on Sunday.

American Catholics disagree on the right to abortion. Supporters include high-level members of the faith like President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who therefore face fellowship restrictions.

A Catholic priest in Pittsburgh called Sunday Friday a “day of great joy” because of the decision, although a few people left during his homily, according to The Associated Press. Meanwhile, a minister in New York mourned the decision, saying: ‘We are in shock’.

According to a religious landscape study by the Pew Research Center, a majority of adults of Buddhist, Hindu, historically Black Protestant, Jewish, Protestant, Muslim and Orthodox Christian faiths support legal abortion in all or most cases.

Rabbi Sarah DePaolo took time out at the start of Friday night’s Shabbat service at Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot in Irvine, Calif., to express her disappointment, urging community members to support each other and create a space for the fearful.

“One of the most upsetting things about this decision is that while it claims to represent believers, it does not represent our faith,” DePaolo said. “It does not reflect our Jewish law. It does not reflect our traditions. It does not reflect our community.

Most Evangelical Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, Pew Research Center study finds .

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WCC gathering in Geneva, first in years, preparation for Summer Assembly https://uaoc.net/wcc-gathering-in-geneva-first-in-years-preparation-for-summer-assembly/ Thu, 23 Jun 2022 16:23:23 +0000 https://uaoc.net/wcc-gathering-in-geneva-first-in-years-preparation-for-summer-assembly/ It was a long time coming. For the first time since 2018, the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches met in Geneva last week. For two of the three United Church of Christ ministries representatives, this was their first face-to-face meeting. The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches meets at the […]]]>

It was a long time coming. For the first time since 2018, the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches met in Geneva last week. For two of the three United Church of Christ ministries representatives, this was their first face-to-face meeting.

The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches meets at the Ecumenical Center in Geneva, Switzerland. Photo by Peter Williams/COE. Used with permission.

The Reverend Mark Pettis, Ecumenical and Interfaith Leader, and Joshua Baird, Global HOPE Team Leader, joined Associate General Minister Reverend Karen Georgia Thompson at the three-day meeting June 15-18.

The central committee usually meets every two years, serving as the main governing body of the WCC between assemblies. Due to the pandemic, the central committee met online in June 2021 and February 2022.

Morning Prayer, June 15, 2022, at the Ecumenical Center in Geneva, Switzerland. Photo by Peter Williams/COE. Used with permission.

“The experience of being at this (my first) central committee meeting gave me the opportunity to connect with colleagues from around the world, so that I could better understand their particular contexts,” Pettis said. While he said the work of a global ecumenical organization like the WCC is difficult – bringing people from such diverse backgrounds together – bringing these people together in the same space was more rewarding than the virtual meetings held during the pandemic. .

“This gathering makes it a lot more real in a way because when you hear about the challenges Ethiopia is facing (for example), you can hear people from Ethiopia,” he continued. “Also, although we spent a lot of time discussing how to respond to the war in Ukraine, in this room we were able to hear people from Ukraine and Russia. Such a context of encounter truly deepens and enriches the conversation.

Reverend Dr Jerry Pillay has been elected as the new General Secretary of the World Council of Churches.
Photo by Peter Williams/COE. Used with permission.

During this central committee meetingthe final before the next World Council of Churches 11e General assembly later this summer Reverend Professor Jerry Pillay was elected as the new general secretary of the WCC. Pillay, a member of the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa, will begin his term on January 1, 2023.

“Ensuring that the leadership of the WCC was chosen ahead of the Assembly was an important task for us,” Thompson said, referring to the General Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany, August 31-September 8. questions with the staff present took these discussions much further than the virtual process would.

The committee also addressed many issues through statements, including:

“We live in particularly difficult times,” said Thompson. “Achieving consensus on the declaration on Ethiopia and the war in Ukraine addresses two critical issues for the global community. While a conversation about the Russian Orthodox Church was difficult, it was important to meet in person and have members of the ROC with us, as well as people from the Church in Ukraine.

The plenary session of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, June 15, at the Ecumenical Center in Geneva, Switzerland.
Photo by Peter Williams/COE. Used with permission.

Baird noted that the CCs Call for peace in Ukraine “linked to other crises around the world, including accelerating climate change and the growing threat of famine looming over millions of people.”

“With nearly 30 million people, including 850,000 refugees and 4.5 million internally displaced people requiring assistance in Ethiopia, central committee statements remind us that our attention cannot be focused solely on part of the world,” Baird said.

“As members of the global religious community, we are called to recognize the suffering of all of our neighbors and to respond to it as best we can. Through donations to One Great Hour of Sharing and the International Emergency Fund, the United Church of Christ has met and will continue to meet these needs, supporting the work of our global partners for emergency relief and Development.

During morning prayers on June 16, the WCC central committee blesses a quilt received from the Mennonite World Peace Festival, a symbol of a shared commitment to justice and peace. Photo by Marcelo Schneider/COE. Used with permission.

“Coming together in person has deepened engagement and broadened the topics of conversation outside of business sessions,” Baird said. “While technologies such as video conferencing platforms are wonderful, it was nice to meet in person and be freed from their constraints.”

More information on the WCC, the June gathering and preparations for 11e General assembly can be found here.

Content on ucc.org is copyrighted to the United Church of Christ National Framework and may be shared only in accordance with the guidelines outlined here.

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For Putin and the Catholic Church, history repeats itself – POLITICO https://uaoc.net/for-putin-and-the-catholic-church-history-repeats-itself-politico/ Tue, 21 Jun 2022 02:02:17 +0000 https://uaoc.net/for-putin-and-the-catholic-church-history-repeats-itself-politico/ Jamie Dettmer is Opinion Writer at POLITICO Europe. ROME — There are scholarly disputes over when and to whom Joseph Stalin first posed his rhetorical question about the power of the Roman Catholic Church — “how many divisions does the pope have?” He may have first asked the derogatory question during his 1944 meeting in […]]]>

Jamie Dettmer is Opinion Writer at POLITICO Europe.

ROME — There are scholarly disputes over when and to whom Joseph Stalin first posed his rhetorical question about the power of the Roman Catholic Church — “how many divisions does the pope have?”

He may have first asked the derogatory question during his 1944 meeting in Moscow with British warlord Winston Churchill. However, some historians argue that he crossed the line by rejecting a plea by French Foreign Minister Pierre Laval who, during a visit to the Russian capital in 1935, asked the communist autocrat if he could do something to improve the lives of Russian Catholics.

Be that as it may, the militarist Stalin didn’t consider the Catholic Church an enemy at the time – and today Russian President Vladimir Putin apparently doesn’t have to worry either, as few things seem to have changed.

In separate interviews with Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolic and Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in recent months, Pope Francis – the first Jesuit to become pope – openly echoed a Kremlin talking point, suggesting that the Ukraine’s war is a consequence of NATO’ barking at Russia’s door. He then blamed the ‘international arms industry’ for the conflict.

In interviews, Francis also questioned whether it was right for Western powers to arm Ukrainians. “I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do to supply the Ukrainian fighters,” he told Corriere della Sera, after explaining that he was trying to assess the roots of the conflict and the reasons behind it. push Putin to engage in such a brutal war.

“I have no way of telling if his rage was provoked,” he wondered aloud, “but I suspect it may have been facilitated by the attitude of the West.”

He told La Civiltà Cattolica: “I am simply against reducing complexity to distinguishing between good guys and bad guys, without reasoning about roots and interests, which are very complex.” Adding that Russia’s war in Ukraine was “perhaps somehow provoked or not prevented”.

In these declarations, many ambiguities hang over the words “perhaps” and “perhaps”. While laying the blame for the war on the shoulders of the West, they also offer Francis some protection against the accusation of blaming NATO outright for the invasion of Russia. And cynics might say that the pope’s interviews have been nothing more than exercises in the kind of philosophical casuistry that his religious missionary order has historically reproached for centuries.

That may be the case, but Francis’ comments have discouraged and offended many Ukrainians — including Catholics — who, along with others of their faith, are now debating the reasons for the pope’s opaque approach.

The remarks contrast sharply, for example, with the outspoken Catholic Primate Archbishop of Poland Wojciech Polak who in early June forcefully declared that the Church would always stand “on the side of the weaker” in a “war between David and Goliath.”

Their tone is also very different from Ukrainian clerics who have been unequivocal in their explicit censure of Putin and have lamented the destruction of 133 churches in Ukraine since February 24. noted Father Gregorio Semenkov after the bombing of a Catholic diocesan building in Kharkiv.

Some see Francis’ equivocations as tied to his long-standing ecumenical overtures to the Russian Orthodox Church and its leader, Patriarch Kirill, who has been a staunch defender of Putin and a staunch theological supporter of the invasion.

Francis has long pursued a goal of healing relations with the Russian Orthodox Church, advancing the work of his predecessor Benedict XVI in developing a relationship with Kirill. And where Benedict leveraged shared opposition to Western sexual mores and same-sex marriage in his advocacy, Francis focused more on protecting Christians in the Middle East.

The Pope is now reluctant to abandon his attempt to ease tensions between the two largest Christian denominations, which had split in the Great Schism of 1054. This split was as much about politics as it was about obscure but significant theological differences, including the ‘West. the church’s identification of the Son, Jesus Christ, as an additional point of origin of the Holy Spirit on par with God.

And when you are struggling with the so-called Filioque clause, perhaps it is better to drop the slightest political differences!

But others place Francis’ approach in an Argentinian Peronist past from which he “inherited a Third World-like critique” of the West, and is “more inclined to understand the anti-Americanism of Putin and Kirill “, according Italian sociologist Massimo Introvigne, founder of the Center for Studies on New Religions.

Still, Francis’ remarks weren’t good enough for Kirill, as the Russian Orthodox Church reprimanded him in May for using the wrong tone, after he urged Kirill not to turn into an ‘altar boy’. from the Kremlin and suggested neither he nor Kirill. should behave like “ecclesiastics of the state”.

But, of course, both are – and in the case of the Pope, he is the ruler of both the Vatican City State and the Holy See, with ultimate temporal responsibility for the global Church and of its 640 archdioceses, 2,851 dioceses, 221,000 parishes and nearly 4,000 cathedrals. .

Isn’t Francis simply doing what, institutionally, so many popes have done before: placing temporal interests above spiritual and moral imperatives and undermining the moral authority of the Church?

This was the case when the Church signed the Lateran Pacts with Benito Mussolini in 1929, also in the 1960s and 1970s when it continued “Ostpolitik” policies with the Soviet Union, avoiding any public condemnation of the persecution of Christians behind the Iron Curtain until Pope John Paul II.

It’s not just when it comes to Putin that Francis seems to be doing well. His approach to China has also sparked unease within the church, with prostration charges in Beijing by turning a blind eye to human rights violations in China.

So maybe none of this is so surprising after all.

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10 of Europe’s Most Enchanted Unsung Islands | European holidays https://uaoc.net/10-of-europes-most-enchanted-unsung-islands-european-holidays/ Sun, 19 Jun 2022 10:00:00 +0000 https://uaoc.net/10-of-europes-most-enchanted-unsung-islands-european-holidays/ Porquerolles, France The Côte d’Azur too hectic? Try peaceful Porquerolles, one of the islands of Hyères which is just a ferry ride from Hyères on the French mainland. With cars banned, the only way to get around this densely forested island is on foot or by bike, and the only sound is the crunch of […]]]>

Porquerolles, France

The Côte d’Azur too hectic? Try peaceful Porquerolles, one of the islands of Hyères which is just a ferry ride from Hyères on the French mainland. With cars banned, the only way to get around this densely forested island is on foot or by bike, and the only sound is the crunch of fragrant pine needles under your wheels. The best beaches, such as Plage d’Argent, run along the northern coast. They get busy in high season, but once the day trippers leave, peace reigns again. In the heart of the village, the Hôtel Résidence Les Mèdes offers rooms and apartments.
From £138 per night, hotel-les-medes.fr

Tabarca, Spain

Photography: John Hemmingsen/Getty Images

Tranquility is hard to find on the Costa Blanca. So head to Tabarca, 22 miles off Alicante, and you’ll discover an island whose waters are so clear it’s been declared the country’s first marine reserve. A 50-minute ferry ride brings you to this car-free paradise. Spend a few days snorkeling, eating fish stew at one of the beach shacks, and then wandering around the fortified walls that surround the town.
Hotel Isla Tabarca has B&B rooms from £78, hotelislatabarca.com

Bozcaada, Turkey

Bozcaada, Turkey
Photography: Muhammed Zeynel Ozturk/Getty Images

Rich in Greek and Turkish heritage, Bozcaada, off the west coast of Turkey, is where Istanbulus go to escape the summer heat. From its beaches, the Achaeans launched the ships that delivered the Trojan horse. Today, the Greek and Turkish cultures coexist harmoniously, mosques alongside Orthodox churches. The island, a short ferry ride from the port of Çanakkale, offers beachfront tavernas, a vineyard-covered hinterland and a bustling port town. Located on a hill overlooking the castle, Ela Tenedos Hotel offers rooms with sea views.
B&B rooms from £38, elatedosotel.com

La Graciosa, Canary Islands

La Graciosa, Canary Islands
Photograph: Getty Images

Three miles north of Lanzarote, tiny La Graciosa offers an entirely different Canarian scene: no cars, no noise and no crowds. Here you will find an idyllic marine reserve with sandy lanes, low-key restaurants, wild sand dunes and pristine beaches. Circle the island by hiking or renting a bike from the whitewashed port village of Caleta de Sebo. Spend your days watching fishermen mend nets at La Laja, or try the wilder emerald waters of Las Conchas to the north. A short walk from Caleta’s restaurants, Evita Beach Apartamentos offers apartments facing the sea.
From £192 per night, booking.com

Syros, Greece

Syros, Greece
Photograph: Getty Images

Forget glitzy Mykonos and instead take the 30-minute high-speed ferry to Syros, where you’ll find the perfect blend of liveliness and rural peace. Ermoupoli, the seaside capital of Syros, is bustling but without tourists. Neoclassical houses rise in tiers from the banks. Greeks linger on long taverna lunches here, and the landscape is varied – a wild interior, dotted with olive groves and orchards, as well as inconspicuous deserted beaches, many only accessible by boat. The new Aristide art eco-hotel has nine stylish rooms, alongside regular artist residencies.
B&B rooms including transfers, from £204, hotelaristide.com

Cabrera, Spain

Cabrera, Spain
Photography: Marco Simoni/Getty Images

Tiny Cabrera, six miles south of Mallorca, has a checkered past, from Berber pirates and Spanish soldiers to French prisoners of war. Today, nature is queen: this national park is a paradise for Caspian gulls, cormorants and lizards. Mix wildlife viewing with swimming in empty coves. Add a scramble around its medieval castle atop a crumbly hill, then dine at Cabrera’s canteen in Es Port and, for a cheap night, try the hostel.
Cabrera hostal has 12 rooms from £42 per night, for two people, hostalcabrera.es. Boats depart from Colonia de Sant Jordi in Mallorca, excursionsacabrera.es

Lastovo, Croatia

Lastovo, Croatia
Photo: Michaela Urban/Getty Images

It may take an arduous four-and-a-quarter-hour ferry crossing from Split to reach Lastovo, but this large Croatian island is so different from its touristy sister that you’ll be glad you made the effort. Spend your time strolling through the pine forests, admiring the island’s Venetian-style houses, then exploring some of its 38 churches or swimming in the transparent waters of Skrivena Luka Bay. There is only one hotel, the aptly named Solitudo, whose restaurant facing the sea serves delicious Dalmatian lobster.
B&B rooms from £57, hotel-solitudo.com

Tinos, Greece

Tinos, Greece
Photograph: Aegean Photo/Alamy

Just 15 minutes by ferry from Mykonos is Tinos, an undiscovered Cycladic island with a fertile hinterland dotted with Venetian-style windmills and dovecotes, stunning villages and tourist-free beaches. Pilgrims regularly flock to Tinos to worship the healing icon of Panagia Evangelistria and it is the church that has saved the island from overdevelopment. There are pretty sleepy villages like Kardiani and Volax, but also a livelier scene with the tavernas and craft shops of Pyrgos.
Agali Bay Hotel offers B&B rooms from £69 including free transfers from the port, agalibay.com

Island of Batz, France

Island of Batz, France
Photograph: Thomas Stoiber/Alamy

Parisians love the Ile de Ré, but there’s another island off the Atlantic coast that’s cheaper, less fussy but just as appealing. Only 10 minutes from Roscoff, and only 3 km from east to west, the island of Batz is discreet and perfect for families. Hire bikes at the port, then head for the white sands of La Grève Blanche. Then climb the 198 steps of the island’s lighthouse for a panoramic view of the Brittany coast. There is a nautical base and pony rides at the Écuries de Batz. Les Herbes Folles near the port offers rooms with sea views.
Doubles, room only, from £64, hotel-iledebatz.com

Filicudi, Sicily

Filicudi, Sicily
Photograph: Getty Images

Taormina, Sicily, offers old-fashioned glamour, but it can get crowded with tourists, so why not head to the tiny Aeolian island of Filicudi instead? Here visitors can enjoy walks along ancient mule tracks or a more strenuous climb to the top of Fossa Felci, the island’s volcanic crater. Feast on pizzas at Da Nino, a trattoria overlooking the sea that also offers simple rooms at good value for one night. The direct ferry crossing from Milazzo in southern Sicily takes two hours and twenty minutes.
Da Nino offers B&B rooms with sea view and balconies from £42, filicudieolie.it

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Oakmont Greek Food Festival returns with a larger layout and more menu items than last year https://uaoc.net/oakmont-greek-food-festival-returns-with-a-larger-layout-and-more-menu-items-than-last-year/ Fri, 17 Jun 2022 02:31:00 +0000 https://uaoc.net/oakmont-greek-food-festival-returns-with-a-larger-layout-and-more-menu-items-than-last-year/ The Oakmont Greek Food Festival is back with a more substantial layout and menu. This marks the 48th year of the festival, presented by the Dormition of Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church at 12 Washington Ave. Food will be served from noon to 9 p.m. June 24-26. Live music and entertainment are expected to continue until […]]]>

The Oakmont Greek Food Festival is back with a more substantial layout and menu.

This marks the 48th year of the festival, presented by the Dormition of Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church at 12 Washington Ave.

Food will be served from noon to 9 p.m. June 24-26. Live music and entertainment are expected to continue until 11 a.m. each evening.

Event co-chair Andy Gavrilos said organizers had combined some of the aspects used during the pandemic with a more traditional layout that fans of the three-day fundraiser celebration might recognize.

“We’re getting back closer to our pre-covid format, but we’re implementing some things that we’ve learned over the last two years,” Gavrilos said. “We had to guard against a possible resurgence. This year, it’s a bit of a hybrid model.

The layout includes a large tent up front and more outdoor seating to complement indoor dining in the main hall. The pastries and honey balls will be in their traditional location, in the building across from the main lobby.

There will be three lines in the main hall for people to order everything except desserts, including gyros. Previous festivals featured a separate gyro line.

Signature dinners such as Chicken Alexis, Lamb Shanks, Pork Souvlaki and Legendary Church Gyros will be available while supplies last. Beef meatballs, green beans and rice pudding are back on the menu.

Returning desserts after a brief hiatus include apricot baklava; kataife, a mixture of nuts wrapped in shredded filo and baked; galatoboureko, a custard treat baked in filo; and kourambiethes, butter cookies topped with powdered sugar.

Also on the table will be pastry variety packs, a prepackaged selection of crowd favorites made in recent years to help takeout during the pandemic.

Planning for the festival began in January. Supply chain issues and inflation have impacted the festival. because most items cost $1 more than last year.

“Anyone who’s been to a grocery store can see what the prices have done,” Gavrilos said. “We did what we could to keep prices at last year’s levels, but obviously we had to increase some of them. It costs a lot more to get things.

Online ordering and curbside pickup are available. People must order by 8 p.m. the day before pickup. More information is available at us.orderspoon.com/oakmont-greekfest-online.

Customers can also purchase frozen half pans of spanakopita and pastitso. Each has at least 12 servings.

Tens of thousands of people have visited Oakmont for previous festivals. Gavrilos said he wasn’t sure what to expect this time around.

“We’re expecting a nice crowd,” Gavrilos said. “I don’t know if it will be 2019 levels, but I think it will be closer to that than last year. There are still people nervous about going out.

“Our expectation is that we are going to have a successful festival. All we’ve heard from people is that they’re thrilled that we’re getting back closer to normal. We look forward to seeing everyone again. »

Cash transactions are prohibited. Debit or credit cards will be accepted.

lost dancer

Among the thrills of the festival, besides the food, are the performances of Greek Odyssey dancers and junior Greek stars.

One person with whom parishioners and others will unfortunately not celebrate is the late Peter Papadakos.

Treasurer and longtime member of the Grecian Odyssey Dancers, Papadakos of East Pittsburgh died Jan. 14 of complications from covid and pneumonia. He was 66 years old.

Papadakos was a singer and head of the church’s music department.

Gavrilos said he would definitely be on people’s minds.

“Oakmont was his church,” Gavrilos said. “He has done many things not only for our church, but for other churches in the area as well as our Diocese of Pittsburgh. The dance group has already suffered losses. Probably not to the extent of Peter’s loss, but as we know the show has to go on when you’re in this business. Peter will be truly missed. I’m sure he will be on everyone’s mind.

There may be special recognition for Papadakos at the festival.

More information about the event is available at dormitionpgh.org or by calling 412-828-4144.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, mdivittorio@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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ASIA/HOLY LAND – Expectations and questions from Jerusalem Church leaders ahead of Biden’s announced visit to the Middle East https://uaoc.net/asia-holy-land-expectations-and-questions-from-jerusalem-church-leaders-ahead-of-bidens-announced-visit-to-the-middle-east/ Wed, 15 Jun 2022 11:08:01 +0000 https://uaoc.net/asia-holy-land-expectations-and-questions-from-jerusalem-church-leaders-ahead-of-bidens-announced-visit-to-the-middle-east/ ASIA/HOLY LAND – Expectations and questions from Jerusalem Church leaders ahead of Biden’s announced visit to the Middle East Jerusalem (Agenzia Fides) – US President Joe Biden will travel to the Middle East from July 13 to 16, where he will visit Israel, Palestine and Saudi Arabia. The announcement of the US President’s visit has […]]]>

ASIA/HOLY LAND – Expectations and questions from Jerusalem Church leaders ahead of Biden’s announced visit to the Middle East

Jerusalem (Agenzia Fides) – US President Joe Biden will travel to the Middle East from July 13 to 16, where he will visit Israel, Palestine and Saudi Arabia. The announcement of the US President’s visit has drawn the attention of several senior representatives of the Churches and ecclesial communities of the Holy Land, at a time when unease is growing over the trials, events and intimidation which, particularly in Jerusalem, are disrupting the fragile balance of coexistence between different communities of faith, codified in the customary rules of the so-called “Status Quo”. The expectations and considerations of Christian representatives regarding Biden’s announced visit have been exposed in some interventions revived by news outlets such as the Jordanian newspaper Ad-Dustour.
Commenting on President Biden’s planned trip to the Middle East, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilus III, recalled that the strategies pursued by Israeli extremist groups have long put pressure on the ordinary life of local Christian communities. The impact of these strategies of intimidation – the patriarch hoped – could at least be mitigated if the nations of the world, and in particular the United States, concretely showed their distance from the Israeli extremist organizations. “We hope that President Biden’s visit,” Thephilos remarked, “will encourage the search for solutions to the emergencies facing Palestinians, Christians and Muslims, including violations against
churches and monasteries perpetrated by groups extremists, in the silence of the official Israeli authorities”. King Abdullah II of Jordan and the Hashemite dynasty – the patriarch added – are devoting themselves to their role as guarantors and protectors of the Christian and Islamic holy places in Jerusalem, but they cannot be left alone in their commitment to avoid any alteration by political and military means factors and customs that determine the delicate multi-ethnic and multi-religious coexistence in the Holy City. Archbishop Yasser Ayyash, Patriarchal Vicar of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church for Jerusalem, hoped that President Biden would also include on the agenda of his visit to Israel the issue of intimidation perpetrated by extremist groups against institutions and Christian realities in the Holy Land. A phenomenon that contributes to increasing the exodus of Christians from the Holy Land to Western countries, despite the efforts made by local communities to support families and individuals in difficulty and thus try to stem the migratory flow, to avoid dissipation progressive Christian presence in the city where Jesus died and rose again.
Hosam Naoum, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Jerusalem, Jordan and the Middle East, also recalled that the Council of Patriarchs and Heads of Churches of Jerusalem has been working for years to raise awareness in the international community of the pitfalls that endanger the presence Christianity in Jerusalem and throughout the Holy Land. On Friday June 10, Hadi Amr, the official of the American State Department in charge of the Israeli-Palestinian dossier, had met with Patriarch Theophilos who, on behalf of the patriarchs and heads of churches of Jerusalem, had presented him with data and considerations on the structure and the conjunctural factors, processes and events that weigh negatively on the ordinary life of local Christian communities. Announcing Mr. Biden’s upcoming visit to the Middle East, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre noted that this tour will be an opportunity to reiterate Washington’s support for the security and prosperity of the Middle East. ‘Israel. The American president will also meet with the leaders of the Palestinian National Authority and, on this occasion – added the spokesman – will be able to confirm “Washington’s support for a two-state solution guaranteeing the security, freedom and equality of chances for the Palestinian people”. “. During his stopover in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Biden will also meet in Jeddah the leaders of this country which “for 80 years – noted the White House spokesman – has been a key strategic partner for the United States “. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 06/15/2022)


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]]> WCC denounces military aggression against Ukraine https://uaoc.net/wcc-denounces-military-aggression-against-ukraine/ Mon, 13 Jun 2022 22:03:26 +0000 https://uaoc.net/wcc-denounces-military-aggression-against-ukraine/ WCC delegates at the 10 June discussion Source: world council of churches Senior representatives of World Council of Churches (WCC) member churches from several neighboring European countries directly affected by the current conflict joined the recent second WCC ecumenical roundtable on the situation in Ukraine. It took place on June 10 at the Ecumenical Institute […]]]>

WCC delegates at the 10 June discussion

Source: world council of churches

Senior representatives of World Council of Churches (WCC) member churches from several neighboring European countries directly affected by the current conflict joined the recent second WCC ecumenical roundtable on the situation in Ukraine.

It took place on June 10 at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland, and the following statement was written.

“With very deep sadness and regret, we again missed the presence of representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church, due to very recent changes in the hierarchy of the Moscow Patriarchate, which had nevertheless committed to take part in our rally,” read one post. of the round table. “Clearly, the absence of these key counterparts has been a fundamental obstacle to the purpose for which we have come together – that of dialogue and mutual consultation.”

The participants strongly reaffirmed the common ecumenical position expressed by the participants of the first round table, in particular the rejection of war against the will of God and the use of lethal military force as a means of resolving disputes – in Ukraine or elsewhere.

“We reiterate our denunciation of the unjustified and illegal military aggression launched by the leadership of the Russian Federation against the people of the sovereign state of Ukraine,” the message read. “We call again for an immediate ceasefire and for dialogue and negotiations as the only morally acceptable course.”

Participants again raised the consequences of war for the poor and vulnerable around the world, especially given the escalating global food crisis and accelerated trajectory to climate catastrophe.

“Despite the absence of our dialogue partners from Russia at this meeting, we re-emphasize the crucial importance of the WCC as a platform for encounter and dialogue between the churches and communities most directly affected by this war. “, we read in the message. “This is the key and unique contribution that the global ecumenical movement can make to the peaceful resolution of this crisis for which we all hope and pray.”

The round table underlined that the call to dialogue, to encounter and to the search for mutual understanding is the very essence of ecumenism. “Division and exclusion are the antithesis of our movement’s goal,” the message read.

“Nevertheless, we strongly reject the apparent instrumentalization of religious language by political and religious leaders to support an armed invasion of a sovereign country. There is an urgent need to help reverse the trend of division, confrontation and conflict. , and to help heal the deep wounds created in the global community by this brutal ongoing war.”

Full post at: www.oikoumene.org/resources/documents/message-from-participants-in-the-second-ecumenical-round-table-on-ukraine

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Ukrainians are using 3D technology to preserve hundreds of cultural artifacts in a digital archive, away from Russian attacks https://uaoc.net/ukrainians-are-using-3d-technology-to-preserve-hundreds-of-cultural-artifacts-in-a-digital-archive-away-from-russian-attacks/ Sun, 12 Jun 2022 05:04:25 +0000 https://uaoc.net/ukrainians-are-using-3d-technology-to-preserve-hundreds-of-cultural-artifacts-in-a-digital-archive-away-from-russian-attacks/ An exploded Russian tank near Kyiv, a monument to Ukrainian writer Borys Hrinchenko, a building destroyed by artillery and a slide in a children’s playground covered in graffiti. In Ukraine, these objects are among hundreds of landmarks, cultural sites, monuments and everyday objects that civilians have scanned on cellphones through an app called Polycam. The […]]]>

An exploded Russian tank near Kyiv, a monument to Ukrainian writer Borys Hrinchenko, a building destroyed by artillery and a slide in a children’s playground covered in graffiti.

In Ukraine, these objects are among hundreds of landmarks, cultural sites, monuments and everyday objects that civilians have scanned on cellphones through an app called Polycam. The app’s software generates a detailed 3D model that will live permanently in a digital archive as part of an initiative called Backup Ukraine.

The project, launched in April shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, aims to digitally preserve the country’s cultural heritage, away from the reach of Russian attacks. According to the creators of the project, the scans are of such high quality that they can be projected into a physical space to explore for educational purposes and can also be used to reconstruct destroyed cultural artifacts.

Backup Ukraine is the brainchild of VICE creative agency Virtue Worldwide, which has partnered with Blue Shield Denmark, a group that helps protect world cultural heritage sites, and the Danish National Commission for UNESCO .

“What we wanted to fight against was the deliberate destruction of Ukrainian heritage as an act of terror, of national intimidation. It turned out to be very, very real,” said Tao Thomsen, creative director of Virtue Worldwide and co-creator of Backup Ukraine. .

Ukrainian Ministry of Culture documented 367 war crimes against the country’s cultural heritage as of May 27, including the destruction of 29 museums, 133 churches, 66 theaters and libraries and a century-old Jewish cemetery, according to its website.

With Backup Ukraine, for the first time in history, a country’s artifacts are documented in augmented reality during an ongoing war, a precedent that has sparked conversations about how this technology can be used in other countries in conflict or at war. The team is also exploring the possibility of creating 3D models of destroyed churches and buildings that have not been scanned, using digital images from the past.

“We’ve set a precedent here in terms of protecting cultural artifacts and a model, a system that people can use as conflict develops,” said Iain Thomas, group creative director at Virtue Worldwide and co-creator. of the project.

“One of the most amazing things is that people are scanning monuments, statues and sculptures, but they are also scanning small aspects of their lives – things they own, appreciate and cherish,” Thomas said.

Relief Ukraine turns into movement

Backup Ukraine’s team is integrating local project managers to “slowly transfer ownership to the Ukrainians themselves”, and 150 people have joined as volunteers, scanning up to 10 culturally relevant heritage items each day, it said. Thomsen said. Since its launch, more than 6,000 people in Ukraine have downloaded the Polycam app to access digital archives.

Max Kamynin, a Kyiv resident and architect, says he volunteered for the initiative about a month ago and allocates three to four days a week to do scans, during which he aims to create 15 to 20 high quality scans. Before each scanning day, Kamynin makes a list of monuments, historical buildings or objects destroyed by Russian forces and follows the route, he says.

“Now a lot of big monuments are covered with bags, so I can’t scan them. But that doesn’t really bother me because Ukraine is very rich in history and you can always find something interesting to scan,” did he declare.

It took Kamynin about an hour to scan the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Pirogoshcha, an Orthodox cathedral in Kyiv, originally built in 1132. It was the first building in Kyiv constructed entirely of brick without using of stone, according to the church’s website. The church was destroyed in 1935 during the Soviet era, but was later rebuilt in the late 1900s.

Kamynin made a 3D scan of the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Pirogoshcha, an Orthodox cathedral in Kyiv, originally built in 1132. Credit: Courtesy of Maxim Kamynin

“Tall buildings are harder to scan than sculptures or monuments,” Kamynin said. “You should go around the whole building and if possible use a drone to improve the scan.”

The creators of Backup Ukraine say it has turned into a movement, as Ukrainian civilians increasingly recognize the importance of protecting their country’s history, art and culture and turn to its coming.

“We advise people not to scan in areas where there is immediate conflict,” Thomsen said. “There is a risk of slippage every time you go out in a country very much at war. We cannot ignore it. And yet, people still go out by the dozen every day to scan. This proves to me that the pride of this is a very strong driving factor.”

Hundreds of cultural heritage sites destroyed

Since the start of the war, Ukraine’s cultural sector has scrambled to protect churches, museums, statues and works of art as they continue to suffer damage.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on UNESCO to withdraw Russia from its membership because it has destroyed “so many monuments, cultural and social sites in Europe since World War II”. CNN previously reported.
Kamynin created a 3D scan of one of the destroyed buildings in Borodyanka, Ukraine using the Polycam app.

Kamynin created a 3D scan of one of the destroyed buildings in Borodyanka, Ukraine using the Polycam app. Credit: Courtesy of Maxim Kamynin

One of Borodyanka's destroyed buildings that was 3D scanned.

One of Borodyanka’s destroyed buildings that was 3D scanned. Credit: Courtesy of Maxim Kamynin

Backup Ukraine leaders are in regular contact with the Heritage Emergency Rescue Initiative – a Ukrainian initiative under the Ministry of Culture – and coordinate with professionals in the 3D scanning industry, in Ukraine and around the world, to digitize at a faster rate and on a larger scale.

The project partners are also in talks with local departments of the Ministry of Culture on the digitization of high-level heritage sites on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, in particular the historic center of Lviv and the Cathedral of St. -Sophie of Kyiv, according to Thomsen.

The 3D digitization of Ukraine’s cultural heritage is a “fantastic educational tool”, said Yuri Shevchuk, professor of Ukrainian language at Columbia University.

“What is being done now is almost like making Ukrainian history indelible, resistant to time,” said Shevchuk, originally from Ukraine. “You can use it as an education for students but also for Ukrainians themselves and for the world. The project also causes us, as Ukrainians, to rethink and rediscover what has been largely unnoticed.”

Shevchuk says projects like Backup Ukraine serve a larger purpose in countering Russian aggression and propaganda that fails to recognize Ukraine’s unique cultural identity and territorial sovereignty.

“Ukraine, its identity and achievement simply do not exist [to Russia]but that they are a variety of Russian civilization,” Shevchuk said. “These attributes of Ukrainian identity like culture, language, literature, music and architecture are really something that marks Ukrainians as being original, inimitable and unlike any other nation.”

They must be preserved, he says.

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