The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Soviet State (1939–1950)

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Description

Bohdan R. Bociurkiw’s book is a pioneering study of the suppression of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church under Stalinist rule. It is the fruit of a lifetime of painstaking research. The study takes into account all the most important publications on the subject. It draws on publications that have appeared in a great variety of religious, Ukrainian underground, Soviet and non-Soviet (especially émigré) journals, newspapers, propagandistic pamphlets, and leaflets.

Many of the Soviet archival materials from Communist Party and government (including KGB) repositories used by the author had been classified and have hitherto remained unknown to scholars and analysts. These sources have been supplemented by documents from ecclesiastical archives in Rome and Ukrainian church repositories in the West. Furthermore, the author availed himself of a number of oral informants, including victims and eyewitnesses of Soviet repressions against the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine, thereby including in his considerations vital insights that otherwise would not have been preserved.

Dr. Bociurkiw judiciously pieces together these disparate and scattered bits of information to narrate the planning, realization, and immediate consequences of the Soviet liquidation of the Greek Catholic Church. The book carefully analyzes Soviet policy toward the church from the first occupation of Galicia by the Red Army in 1939 through the liquidation of the institutional structures of the Greek Catholic Church in Galicia, Poland, and Transcarpathia in the mid- and late 1940s. The study shows what Soviet authorities sought to achieve through their policy toward the Greek Catholic Church in the context of preceding and contemporary Russian and Soviet nationalities policy and reveals the mechanism through which the Stalin regime sought to meet its objectives regarding Ukrainian Greek Catholics. In so doing the author identifies the main executors of the Kremlin-ordered “reunion” of the Greek Catholic Church with the state-controlled Moscow Patriarchate, including NKGB/MGB agents, officials, and propagandists, often hiding behind pseudonyms plausibly deciphered in the book, and ecclesiastical figures. Given the sensitivity of the subject matter, the perfidy of some actors on the stage, the heroism of others, and the difficulty of separating well-intended fiction and deliberate disinformation from documented facts, Bohdan Bociurkiw’s solid, well-informed, and balanced analysis of the Soviet attempt to liquidate the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine is a major accomplishment. This is a must read for anyone interested in the history of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church or in the suppression of religion under Soviet rule.

Additional information

Weight 1 kg
Dimensions 23 × 15.5 × 2 cm
Author

Format

Hardcover

Language

English

Year Published

2009

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