October 3, 2016
Andriy Zelinsky, Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest, military chaplain, theologian, author, public figure, graduate of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, was the keynote speaker at the traditional annual lecture dedicated to the meaning of personal spiritual values. Father Zelinsky presented the , “How to return to the future. Spirituality in the present day. “
He discussed in particular the changes and challenges taking place on a global scale, where Ukraine is placed at the epicenter, and how the world can adequately meet this challenge. “We live in a world we don’t understand, in an uncertain world, a world that is unstable. But this is not the end, this is a new beginning. It is on our own ability to reinterpret events that we depend on to define how we will live with you tomorrow “, said Father Andriy. He emphasized his conviction that love is the driving force that will reformat social relationships so that each human being will be free to develop in a renewed society. “Love is a reality that creates, it is the only force capable to generate new energy. Love is the ability to offer itself to become love in the life of another”.
Finally, Father Andrew addressed the students: “Be true to yourselves, be alive, live fully, and live in such a way so that others who are with you would want to live too”.
Father Zelinsky has served as military chaplain for the past eight years. When the shooting with Russia started , Zelinsky was one of the first priests to access the eastern part of the country. “More than 40 percent of my friends are over there, fighting for this country,” he said. “I knew I had to be there. When you see your friends getting killed, the presence of a military chaplain can’t be underestimated.”
Zelinsky said many generals trained by the Soviet army may accept the importance of faith, but they don’t really understand it. Yet the young men fighting the war, he said, find comfort in the Masses, confession, spiritual guidance, and the distraction from the daily bombings the rotating chaplains provide.
“I organized language courses (he’s fluent in English and Italian, but not only as a distraction,” Zelinsky said. “I was trying to share with them ideas that would help them. I was trying to give them hope.”