‘Maidan theology’ can be called the ‘theology from within’, as it was shaped within the critical setting and under society pressure. Such theology is formed, or, to be more precise, is re-formed, not in parallel (spiritual, academic, church), but in a single social reality, not through rejection and adjustment, but through justification and life transformation. The role of Church on Maidan was not to bring there something that belongs to the position of the Church and to give it to people, but to gain knowledge there and learn from it. “God revealed himself through many events of our lives…, doesn’t it mean that He is addressing us through the event on Maidan?” [23, 58], these are the introductory words of the theological paper on the reflection of Maidan as a place and event of God’s revelation.
‘Maidan theology’ has become the first significant manifestation of Ukrainian theology. What was unachievable for attempts in offices by various denominational theologians, gained its life as a result of the event of social reality outside the church walls. Only where courageous, free, creative theological pondering of the Church meets real needs and spiritual requirements of community, can appear something authentic, worthy of our attention, and useful for both the Church and the world. What can be said about ‘Maidan theology’ is that it has its particular character. It has a unique national character, as well as humanistic character, European character, alongside with the firm character. This peculiarity of the character was subtly noticed by a Catholic philosopher and theologian George Weigel. Talking about inability of the West to stand for its core principles, cultural unseriousness, a lack of reality-contact, postmodern deracination about the objective truth, he appeals to his western colleagues to listen to the truths that form the moral and cultural foundation of the Western experiment in democracy, of which Maidan reminds, among them – the inalienable dignity and value of the human person; the equality of all before the law; the relationship between the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, courage, and moderation to democratic public life; the accountability of positive law to a higher moral law; at bottom, the truth that only a virtuous person can be free, for only those living courageously and prudently can make self-governance work .
According to his opinion, “The Church best serves the common good by forming the men and women who form the civil culture – the civil society – that makes democracy possible” . The Church in Ukraine did not make this objective, Maidan made it for the Church. The outcome is ‘Maidan theology’ as an attempt to meet the requirement of community, not only in terms of prospective European integration or future democracy, but also about spiritual foundation of social life and personal existential, human nature, the common good, values and senses, faith, hope, love.
First, it is a matter of social theology and theology of social (in this case, of social crisis). ‘Maidan theology’ emerges as an attempt to spot theological sense of social transformations. This theology is not confined inside churches or seminaries, this theology is overwhelming and socio-practical, i.e. theology of the Kingdom, as it can be visible in various areas of human reality. Such theology correlates well with modern approaches in sociology of religion, where researches speak of ‘re-privatization’ and ‘return’ of religion, of moving borderlines between secular and religious. For instance, Yurii Chernomorets suggests looking at the events on Maidan in the framework of post-secular paradigm: “The borders between ‘secular’ and ‘sacred’ have fallen, and we turned out once and forever to be in a unified cultural dimension. The symbols of this process are the presence of churches on Maidan, hospital in Mikhailovsky monastery, attempts of Pan-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations to facilitate negotiations between the conflicting sides. And nowadays there are no borders between the church and the society. Churches in Ukraine have become, first and foremost, a part of civil community, and only after that they are still a sacred authority” .
It is an established fact that for the first time in the post-Soviet context the Church and community, theology and life were bound together. ‘Maidan theology’ did not become another ideological movement among ‘theologies of…’, it became a practical guideline for the Church and Christians as individuals.
It was born on Maidan, and it was intended for Maidan, for civil life and Christian activeness beyond the church walls. It liberated theology from being confined to its own typical problems and returned to lively and dynamic reality.
Second, this theology is critical towards itself, social reality and its interpretations. ‘Maidan theology’ was based on critical hermeneutics, it questioned the interpretations, which justified and supported status quo. This theology created a demand for a prophetic understanding of the future as an open horizon of human responsibility. According to Myroslav Marynovych, the Church has nearly lost understanding of itself and its vision of future “The Church shares prophetic role of Christ with the gift of foreseeing the future. It implies the ability to see the first gleam of light, when everything is surrounded with darkness…The Church has almost lost its ability to feel a breath even of the nearest future. It was particularly evident in those days of crisis”. Therefore, the events on Maidan are, first of all, applied to the Church. “To be the Church in the time of crisis” basically means to be honest towards ourselves and, by doing so, to be the Church” .
Third, this movement is not denominational or inter-confessional. ‘Maidan theology’ was built on the intuition of new ecclesiology of open and united Church of ‘mere Christians’. The Christians of Maidan did not reject their binds with traditions; instead, they were looking for a community beyond the church walls, which was not connected with any church bureaucracy.
As it was rightly noticed by the president of Ukrainian Catholic University, Borys Gudziak, “The clear social requirement is relevant not only for Maidan, but also for the future of all Ukrainian churches. In Maidan Churches stood together. Pastorship ministry of many churches is especially worth mentioning. Pope Francis said, ‘Pastors should be ‘shepherds living with the smell of the sheep’. Those frosty nights Ukrainian priests spent together with the parishioners. They lived with the smell of burning tires and campfires” .
Maidan theology was the first national experience of live ecumenical theology, ecumenism in action. It is difficult to overestimate the consequences of such experience for every church, which had it. The story of Maidan is the story of aligned struggle and aligned ecumenical victory. It is easier to remember the story of the common success than the ones of separate confessions, which were not quite successful. In any case, the foundation of Maidan theology and any other possible theology after Maidan will be an ecumenical narrative of aligned fight and victory.
TO BE CONTINUED