JP2 Lectures // Antoine Arjakovsky: “Religion and Politics, from Totalitarianism to Democracy – the Case of Ukraine”

On Wednesday, December 21, 2022, the fifth “JP2 Lecture” in the 2022/23 academic year titled: “Religion and Politics, from Totalitarianism to Democracy – the Case of Ukraine,” was given by prof. Antoine Arjakovsky. Fr. Cezary Binkiewicz OP, director of the St. John Paul II Institute of Culture at the Angelicum, and Fr. Michał Paluch OP, professor at the Angelicum’s Faculty of Theology, introduced the audience gathered in the room and online to the subject.

The lecture started from the examination of what was exemplary and prophetic in Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Centesimus annus, published on May 1, 1991. Subsequently, the reasons for Ukraine’s success in establishing a democratic state were explained, together with an analysis of Russia’s choice to go back to the old ways of the Empire and to establish a neo-facist state, despite its supposed passing from a totalitarian regime to a democratic regime after the collapse of the USSR. The lecture concluded by way of proposing, with the help of ecumenical metaphysics and the social doctrines of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, the possible ways out of the war which today pits Russia against Ukraine and, more generally, against the democratic world.

Antoine Arjakovsky is a French historian, with a doctorate in History from EHESS (School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Paris). He worked for the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs between 1989 and 2002 and was the Director of the French University of Moscow (Collège universitaire Français de Moscou), the deputy Director of the French Institute of Ukraine and the Founder of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies of Lviv. Today, he is Research Director at the Collège des Bernardins in Paris, president of the Association of Christian Philosophers, Administrator of the “Semaines Sociales de France” and Administrator of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience in Prague.

He has written several books on the history of Russia and Ukraine, in particular Russia-Ukraine: from war to peace? (Parole et Silence, 2014); and Occident-Russie: Comment sortir du conflit? (Balland, 2018). His latest publications: Towards an Ecumenical Metaphysics (in 3 volumes) and “Qu’est-ce que l’oecuménisme?” (Cerf, 2022). Healso participated in the collective work: Stéphane Courtois, Galia Ackerman, Le livre noir de Vladimir Poutine (Laffont, 2022).

He is also the initiator of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission between Russia and Ukraine, that published a peace plan between Russia and Ukraine in December 2019:

Photos: Stefano Dal Pozzolo