A Small Light in a Dark Time; The War in Ukraine and Its Religious Roots

“I am trying to find the lightness in dark times.”

~Vitaliy Osmolovskyy


In light of the global events, we are presenting our Graduate Theological Union panel discussion, The War in Ukraine and Its Religious Roots, in order to offer our GTUx community a resource to better understand and build empathy for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. This well-researched historical and cultural presentation and panel discussion offers rich narrative, thought provoking content, and immediate perspectives on the crisis. 

In this panel discussion, Thomas Cattoi, (Associate Professor of Christology and Cultures, Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University, GTU) presents an in-depth historical and cultural context of Ukrainian history over the past several hundred years up to the present day. 

John Klentos (Associate Professor of Eastern Orthodox Christian Studies, Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute, GTU) explores the independence and marrying of church and state, centering on major events like the fall of Constantinople, the Bolshevik revolution, and the fall of the Soviet Union. His presentation explores the tensions that come from tying nationalistic identities and political agendas to the church.

To end, Vitaliy Osmolovskyy (SJ, doctoral student at JST-SCU, Coordinator of Jesuit Outreach to Ukrainian Refugees in Poland) offers a moving narrative of the refugee crisis and the personal experiences of the war. As he says, “I’m trying . . . trying to not be angry, to find the lightness in dark times, always trying.” 

You can watch the full lecture, The War in Ukraine and Its Religious Roots, as a GTUx Lecture here.