THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF ANDRIJ SHKIL
On the edge of the memory: Ukraine or Vatican: who gives due to the figure of Andrij Sheptitzkij?
When we turn to the search of the new information, concerned with the name of eighth metropolitan of Ukrainian Greco-catholic church of Andrij Sheptitzkij, we find out the last statement which sounds:
„The process of beatification of Andrij Sheptitzkij is successfully going on now ”.
We can hardly call correct the use of the word “successfully” in this context. The speech is about, what decides the special theological committee in Vatican, if Andrij Sheptitzkij can be canonized. This is the beatification, which traditionally rates as definite stage to the canonization. For the last act we need reliable wonders-for example miraculous healing, which happened to people, when they prayed to “candidate” to Saint.
And then it could be the real miracle in the homeland, when the appropriate respect against а background of mass announcement of heroes, born because of president decree, would be devoted to them, who are really worthy of it. Meanwhile the attention to the figures, of which Ukraine could be proud, is darkened of endless lists of “honoured” workers and “patriots”, which come from the uncertainty and are close for the official circles.
Ukraine does not think а lot about the buried saints. But the living sinners have too many honours from own country.
As for the metropolitan Andrij Sheptitskij, so the disregard to him does not cancel neither the featured ecserses of Lviv cinematographs (in Lviv is now shooting the film “The lord Andrij”), nor evidences of good deeds, created by metropolitan, about which we know from reliable sources (two years ago the former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Pole Adam Rotfeld, when he was in Lviv, told how Andrij Sheptitskij hid him - three-year-old child- in the terrible days of war).
The discussion, if Sheptitskij was “good” or “bad”, in other words collaborated with fascists or saved the Hebrews, until now is keeping up artificially. But this is not surprising, taking into account, that the speech is about country, where the role of UPA, the necessity of the Ukrainian language has been so keenly discussed, where the foundation of the State system diffused from within and the history of contributions in our sovereignty is not that, what has to be rewritten every day, this is de facto and doesn’t exist on the whole.
Under these conditions it’s difficult to uphold some thesis, when the adherents of superficial vision of events are appealing to phrase from epistle of metropolitan Sheptitskij of the 1 July 1941: „ We congratulate with pleasure and gratitude the triumphant German army, which occupied almost all country and liberated from enemies”. And it means all, the gladness of Sheptitskij, concerning to the invasion of “triumphant” German army in so many words discloses in him the antipode of all progressive mankind, who fought with fascism.
But why anybody in Europe except Andrij Sheptitskij didn’t dispute so emphatically to fascism, how he made after July 1941? Exactly Sheptitskij – one of the all confessors - appealed to SS Reichsfuhrer Himmler with the protests against the extermination of Jewish inhabitants in Galician. Exactly metropolitan demanded from the head of Gestapo to end the terror in Ukraine. Exactly Sheptitskij was the author of the letter to Pontiff Pius ХІІ – famous epistle „Don’t kill!” – where the political murders were denounced and where the warnings to organizers and executors of these offences about the excommunication were contained. This courage of Sheptitskij was unexampled. It turned for him into the searches of the occupants in Lviv cathedral of Saint Jury, when the Germans even revealed the corpse of the decedents.
Why then exactly to the consent of Sheptitskij many Jews hid in Greco-catholic cloisters and even in the residence of metropolitan? Sheptitskij together with his family saved from the death about 300 Jewish children (his sister Josepha in 1946 was arrested of the Soviet Union regime, one year later was arrested Clement - the brother of Sheptitskij). Metropolitan Andrij, as say the historical facts, kept the mission of rescuer in the secret of Greco-catholically clergy and not only because of mental and ethical demands to own activity. The circumstances needed secrecy, as even а part of priests was not without anti-semitism. (Later with greet respect and gratitude only а rabbi David Kagane spoke of Andrij Sheptytsky in „Diary of Lviv ghetto”).
A prisoner of conscience of Brezhnev period Myroslaw Marynowitsh answers such questions. At science conference in Lviv in 2005 Marynowitsh was evolving in his paper the thesis that the Хх-th century, when two singular monsters grappled in internecine battle – Hitler and Stalin „ demagnetized” traditional poles of good and evil. The world ceased to be bipolar, with clear division into black and white. So the personal drama of Andrij Sheptytsky and „Fate of his life” „were desperate quest of the least evil”.
Already in 1933, during the Golodomor, Andrij Sheptytsky determined the Soviet regime „based on injustice, deception, godlessness and deprivation of rights cannibal system” that „lead recently а rich land to total ruins”. At that time the more terrible news came from the East to the Galytshina, so in 1936 the metropolitan wrote his underworld work „Caution against а communist threat”, where the followings will be declared: „Bolshevism is turning into religion, into some materialistic pagan religion, that considers Lenin and similar to him as half-gods, and makes lie, deception, violence, terror, oppression of paupers, demoralization of children, humiliation of women, destruction of family, extermination of the peasants and leading to indigence of the whole nation for principles of its domination...”.
So already before the beginning of World War II the communist regime that ruled on the considerable part of Ukrainian territory gained for Sheptytsky the features of absolutely disaster. Very soon the ruling system of Germany was worth of similar estimation in his opinion. The metropolitan will write in above mentioned letter to the Pope Pius XII: “It represents something phenomenal, so as the first reaction on this monster is dumb astonishment. Where will lead this system the miserable German nation? It would be nothing else as а degeneration of humanity that had never been occurred in history”.
The wars – and Warld War II – came long ago to the end, but а label of а „collaborator“, even an „Accomplice of German-fascist occupants” remains on Andrij Sheptytsky. What is it? Political and human dullness or considered destruction of finally undecided Ukrainian State organization?
Myroslaw Marynowitsh believes that the thing is deeper, and the point of existent - in military system of collective security. „The fall of Berlin wall, in consequence of that а lot of ideological mirrors were smashed to smithereens, marked the beginning of European liberation. Status quo that protected the Europe is now more protecting itself. The figure of Sheptytsky is here also sign because it is warning just now of possibility for creation such world outlook level where double-headed disaster will find its doubtless conceptual explanation”, – he emphasized.
And while the world is growing to а new look at good and evil and those guises that imbibe these categories, Andrij Sheptytsky – а spiritual leader of the one from Ukrainian religious societies, that was taking up а post of а metropolitan during 44 years – is not enough investigated but well inherited personality.
„In every work and in every word I am looking only for good for people...”, – Andrij Sheptytsky was writing. Good can not be idle and does not pass unnoticed. Only its sprouts can be temporarily hided by an exuberant weed...