Interchurch contacts as part of cultural cooperation between the USSR and SFRY (1950-80-ies years)

G. Sagan

Abstract


Introduction. Interchurch relations have always been an important form of cooperation in the field of culture and, depending on geopolitical circumstances, they have their own specifics. Such relations promote mutual spiritual enrichment of nations, strengthening the authority of Churches. The specificity of the Ukrainian-Yugoslav relations was that in times of political confrontation between two political leaders (Tito and Stalin), it was the Orthodox Church that made it possible to communicate, to solve the pressing issues of culture, science and the like.


Purpose. The purpose of this research is to describe the interchurch contacts, especially the clergy and parishioners of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) with the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC). Define the role of the USSR and SFRY authorities performed in this process.


Results. Interchurch relations between Yugoslavs and Ukrainians had a long history, which defined their specificity. Firstly, among the Slavic countries Yugoslavia was first in the quantitative and qualitative content of the Orthodox community’s visits in Ukraine. Secondly, Yugoslav representatives were impressed by the religiosity of the Ukrainian people, which did not decrease, even despite the ideological taboos. Thirdly, by visiting Ukrainian cities, the clergy and faithful of the Serbian Orthodox Church noted great spiritual and material support, which at one time was provided by Kyiv for the preservation of Orthodoxy among Yugoslavs.


Originality. After the Second World War the Serbian Orthodox Church (Serbian OC, SOC) went through formidable difficulties of development (increase of separatist movements), the same as Orthodoxy in Ukraine in 20-40-ies of the twentieth century, thus they were constantly looking for the new forms of cooperation with other Orthodox Churches, especially those who have had similar problems. The most common form of cooperation with Ukraine was the visits of Yugoslav clergy and pilgrims. Considerable interest of the Russian Orthodox Church’s clergy (Russian OC, ROC) and the USSR’s political leadership in cooperation with SOC can be explained by their interest in countering activities, established in the territory of Yugoslavia, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCA), which from its inception has taken a very hostile position to both the ROC (up to the proclamation of anathemas) and the Soviet authorities in general.


 


Conclusion. To develop cooperation between Ukraine and the new independent states in the Balkans modern politicians and scientists should use the historical facts of interchurch cooperation that took place between the Ukrainians and orthodox Christians of Yugoslavia. Moreover, ignorance of the role of Kyiv in strengthening of the SOC position, increases Russophobic moods in the Balkans and does not boost their relations with Ukraine in all directions.


Keywords


interchurch copulas, cultural collaboration, Ukraine, Yugoslavia

References


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