Today, we want to put the glorious Lesia Ukrainka in the place of honor of Ukrainian modern culture. This was emphasized by the Father and Head of the UGCC during the presentation of the book Apocrypha by Lesia Ukrainka and Four Conversations about Lesia Ukrainka by His Beatitude Sviatoslav and Oksana Zabuzhko.
The presentation took place live on “Zhyve Television,” as well as via Zoom-conference. The conversation was moderated by Fr. Ihor Yatsiv, head of the UGCC Information Department.
At the beginning of the presentation, Mrs. Oksana Zabuzhko noted that the last 12 years of Lesia Ukrainka’s work had been marked by her dramatic and even conflicting relations with the Church. The path of the writer in this regard begins with the poem The Obsessed (Oderzhyma).
“His Beatitude has a brilliant literary taste and artistic feeling. He did what literary critics failed to do: he showed Lesia Ukrainka as a religious thinker,” she said.
In his speech, the Father and the Head of the UGCC, noted that Lesia Ukrainka to a large degree remains unknown in Ukraine. Today’s presentation is another attempt to draw the attention of Ukrainians to the great daughter of our nation.
This is another encouragement, says His Beatitude Sviatoslav, to read her works, make them alive and relevant in modern circumstances. This is the aim of our work and today’s presentation.
“In our conversations, we tried to help the reader understand the Christian images of Lesia Ukrainka because she lived and wrote in the context of the Christian worldview. Lesia Ukrainka used images of early Christianity. I tried to help the modern reader understand what she, in my opinion, wanted to say,” explained His Beatitude Sviatoslav.
I would like, says the Primate of the UGCC, that we try to read through Lesia Ukrainka’s figurative drama her message to modern Ukrainians. In his opinion, Lesia lived and thought according to the postulates of the Christian faith.
The book got its name from the poem What will give us strength? with the subtitle Apocrypha.
The protagonist of the poem is a poor carpenter who loses the meaning of life, self-respect, and strength. The events take place on the eve of the holiday.
“What gives him the strength and ability to find meaning in life again? It is respect for another person and for someone else’s pain,” the Primate of the UGCC emphasizes.
“To the question: where do we get strength? Lesia Ukrainka answers: from the power of love,” says His Beatitude Sviatoslav. And he explains that the cross in the Christian sense is a symbol of love, a symbol of God’s love for people.
“Lesia Ukrainka used the Gospel story to turn it into her message, her manifesto. Through the poem, she shows us how to find the meaning of life, work, even holiday – through love. I really hope that this idea will become a message to every Ukrainian who loses the sense of life due to the coronavirus,” summed up His Beatitude Sviatoslav.
Two experts joined the presentation: Olena Huseynova, writer, journalist, radio host, and Viktor Yelensky, theologian, publicist, doctor of philosophy.
The audience who joined the event through Zoom had the opportunity to personally ask their questions to the participants of the presentation. It is important to note that questions were heard from Italy, France, Germany, and Ukraine.
About the book
Lesia Ukrainka’s complex and deeply dramatic relations with Christianity, which form the core of her mature work, have never been the subject of professional theological analysis. Therefore, the meaning of the fierce “religious war” waged by the heroes of Lesya Ukrainka and by herself with the official Church remained unknown to the reader until today, when the Primate of the UGCC His Beatitude Sviatoslav and the writer Oksana Zabuzhko met to exchange views on Lesia Ukrainka’s stories devoted to evangelical and early Christian history. The proposed edition contains recordings of four such conversations, as well as the author’s texts which were analyzed.
The book is expected to be published after June 30.