How can the Churches contribute to a prosperous social life?


Concluding part of the paper that Sergii Bortnyk hold at the congress of Renovabis in Berlin, 15.09.2021. See the links to the full version in German and Ukrainian below.

… After these considerations on the subject, I would like to mention three specific aspects which give direct answers to the question in the title of my paper.

  1. Above all, it is obvious to me that the Churches are capable of contributing to a prosperous social life. I have not spoken here about charitable and social work of the Churches. But it is naturally a result of the Christian faith and has the potential to engage active lay people. These laity can serve as a link between the institutional structures of the Churches and the general public. The increase in believers involved in social work will motivate and engage the group of “mere Orthodox”.
  2. Especially for Ukraine it is important that the Orthodox Churches can also contribute to the unification of the country on the east-west axis. Nowadays in Ukraine we are experiencing a rather opposite tendency, that the state still wants to instrumentalize the religious milieu for its own goals. But the aforementioned set of “mere Orthodox” clearly shows that the politicization of ecclesiastical life is rather harmful.
  3. At the end, I have mentioned some passages from the Bible that can lead to the alienation of the faithful from broad society and public life. This alienation can happen precisely to those Christians who take their faith seriously but have not experienced sufficient catechesis. Here I see a danger, especially affecting my Church. That is why I advocate a well-maintained theology that binds faith and reason together.

In the terminology of Augustine of Hippo, as Christians, we have a dual identity of belonging to the earthly city and to the heavenly city. If we could bring these two parts together responsibly, it would be the greatest contribution of the Churches and their theologians to a prosperous social life.

P.S. The full version of the paper in German is available here –

The full version of the paper in Ukrainian is available here – wp-content/uploads/2021/09/vnesok_u_protsvitannya/