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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Мостиська/Mościska


Last piccie from my Ukrainian weekend break last month. I still haven't written about the granny pushing hams down her trousers just before the passport control on the Polish side (going there). Or the bit just like on TV with people sellotaping packets of cigarettes around their legs and bodies under (helpfully baggy) shell suit trousers. The folk ambling about with vodka bottles under their arms when you reach the bazaar and minibus stop on the Polish side. Spending three hours standing to get back into Poland, and that after skipping the queue in front of both the Polish and Ukrainian passport controls by talking the soldiers beseechingly into letting me through. Or the fabulous beetroot salad (cooked grated beetroot, crushed garlic, chopped walnuts and mayonnaise). Or the great thing with fried grated carrot and chopped onion to go with liver.
This is the Orthodox church in Mostyska. It was apparently once a Polish=Latin Rite Catholic church, but was sold to the Orthodox about 300 years ago. I didn't get them in this picture, but there are (quite new) Stations of the Cross on the walls, not exactly a classical Orthodox or even GC devotion that I know of.
The most interesting thing about the trip (apart from edibly gorgeous children of my friend etc) was the relationships between the RCs, GCs and Orthodox. For example, as in Polish, a Byzantine-rite church is called a cerkiew, and a Latin-rite church a kosćiół. The distinction is between the rites, not the schismatic/not schismatic. And as I noted below, which Byzantine-rite church one attends can be decided by the presence or otherwise of central heating, a big new building, or in parts of the former USSR where there is a greater lack of priests, what kind of priest first comes to your village. The summer camp below had Orthodox and GC kids on it: as my friends pointed out, it was on a level so basic that probably the average Mere Christian proddy child could have gone on it. But when you get on a bit with the catechesis, it is easier to use Orthodox material than RC stuff, because as the CCC (1075) itself says, mystagogy is tied to the language of the rite. You live in one rite, one calendar, and one way one learns the Faith is by making one's rite ever more one's own. I am not talking about theology per se here. Of course there is a language issue as well, since there basically RC=Polish, Byzantine=Ukrainian. Me priest friend did say that he thinks that the RCs in general have "a deeper piety. I don't know how one could account for that trend, if it is not just a case of the grass being greener. And that for many people, they know that they are GC "because we have the Pope", but that in fact is about as far as it goes in terms of knowledge of the faith. (Sounds like NI?) Except that, fisticuffs apart, there is not the sectarianism. I got the impression that the punters would happily all un-Muscovite. Or most of them, anyway. Am orthodox priest from Buciv was in fact going to pope, but then he was offered a bishopric, so he went to the monastery one day, and was bishoped the next.