In this episode I talk with Cyril Hovorun, an Orthodox priest from Ukraine, about how the war in his country is affecting the Ukrainian people. Fr. Hovorun also discusses the character and history of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, its relationship to the Byzantine Empire, and the way it was shaped by its encounter with Islam and the Ottoman Empire. He even discusses ancient Rus. So there’s a lot of interesting history in this podcast!
We also discuss the three major church bodies in Ukraine: The Russian Orthodox Church Moscow Patriarchate, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, and the Greek-Catholic Church. In 2018 the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey) recognized the Orthodox Church of Ukraine as autocephalous, that is, independent and self-governing. This has created conflict with the Orthodox Church in Moscow, which refuses to recognize the independence of the Ukrainian church. Fr. Hovorun explains what autocephaly is, and why the recognition of Ukrainian autocephaly is so significant and controversial.
Lastly, we discuss Fr. Hovorun’s book, Political Orthodoxies, in which he describes the ways in which the politicization of religion in Eastern Europe negatively impacts Orthodox churches. Fr. Hovorun talks about the positive and negative ways in which churches can connect themselves to national identity, and we look for ways to guard against the bad while strengthening the good.
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