Ukrainians, Russians, and the Holy See, 1900-1939: Metropolitan Sheptytsky’s “Orthodox Catholic” Project and Its Post-Confessional Challenge


ACLS Fellowship Program




The current conflict between Ukraine and Russia cannot be understood without considering its religious context, including the history of confessional tensions along the Christian East-West divide. A fruitful way to examine this history is by studying the figure who was at the front lines of those debates and conflicts, Ukrainian Metropolitan Sheptytsky. Against the backdrop of a confessional worldview that postulated Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy as two mutually exclusive and inimical denominational blocs, Sheptytsky’s inter-confessional Orthodox-Catholic project proposed a courageous theological vision that, by its very nature, resisted being captured under a single denominational category and challenged the confessionalist geopolitics of the period. The study narrates a history of Sheptytsky’s activities based on archival documents and examines ideas of Christian unity and Christian politics debated in the writings of Sheptytsky and his interlocutors.