The Shaping Of The Ukrainian Catholic Church Through Myth, Ritual, And Classification

Date of Graduation

Summer 2002


Master of Arts in Religious Studies


Religious Studies

Committee Chair

Stanley Burgess


The work that follows is an examination of the Ukrainian Catholic Church through the various points in its history including the present. This undertaking is an application of the work of Bruce Lincoln as found in his book, Discourse and the Construction of Society: Comparative Studies of Myth, Ritual, and Classification, to the data of the UCC. The Ukrainian Catholic Church, as is the case with all Uniate churches, is an anomaly in the Catholic/Orthodox dichotomy. More than this, the Ukrainian Catholic Church, because of geographic and political dimensions, is also a church between East and West. Lincoln's theory is predicated on the idea that societies are formed and reformed on the basis of sentiments of affinity and estrangement. Discourse, specifically those of myth, ritual, and classification, is the tool used to evoke these sentiments and therefore construct and reconstruct societies. It is my contention that the societal construct of the Ukrainian Catholic Church is predicated on the use of sentiments of affinity and estrangement with its Catholic loyalties and Orthodox heritage. The Church's anomalous nature is at the core of the sentiments the Ukrainian Catholic Church uses. Its myths and rituals are a product of its anomalous nature between East and West, Catholic and Orthodox. In the East, sources of potential affinity with Orthodoxy have been overlooked while in the West, potential sources of estrangement with Orthodoxy have been overlooked, all in order to more clearly define the social borders of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. The UCC, like all societal constructs according to Lincoln's theory, is continually being reformed.

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© Alexandra Yaremko