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The imprint of ‘these little ones’

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Comparing the main points of ‘Maidan theology’ with the experience and reflections of the young Protestant leaders, there are still questions about peculiarities. What was peculiar about Maidan experience, that made it different from other critical situations in the history of Ukraine and of the world? What is special about Maidan ecumenism and social theology? What was different about the Protestant version of the ‘Maidan theology’? What new things did ‘the Ukrainian liberation theology’ reveal? How did the Maidan theology influence the lifestyle of average believers, what is special about them? I get the impression that so far it is impossible to find exhaustive answers to these questions. Not until the individual experience and reflections of those little leaders of Maidan are expressed in a better way and united into a single whole. Not until Churches apply the experience of their ‘little’ leaders and take it seriously as a challenge and riches.
By reconstruction the story of Maidan and the following war, we discover fascinating facts about the role of Churches and their theology. The proactive position of the Churches was caused by the bottom pressure of weak and little factors, from the perspective of weak and confused civil community and from the perspective of the ‘little’ Ukrainian Christian leaders. These two forces through their interaction determined the position of the Christian community in general, and motivated Churches to take more decisive actions.
Unofficial leaders of the Protestant community were united in their lack of trust in official church structures and in their trust in civil society, disappointed because of the dormant clergy, and amazed by the awakened world.
In the events on Maidan they saw not only an opportunity to serve, but also an important revelation about the Church, its theology and vocation. As it was summed up by Denis Gorenkov, “Believers should have come to Maidan for numerous reasons. Firstly, there were people hungry and thirsty for truth. Secondly, there were people like John the Baptist, who rebuked the authorities and the prophetic voice of the Church should have been heard there as well. Thirdly, there were sinful people, who needed Christian testimonies, prayers and material aid. If there had been more Christians on Maidan, and among the leaders on Maidan there were Christians quite well familiar with politics and society, the Maidan agenda might have been different. I believe that the form of protest might have been changed too. We could have avoided violence and blood” [3, 267].
The ‘Maidan theology’ was predominantly a sociopolitical theology, which was a hasty, unprepared response to the social crisis. In order to protect human dignity, the civil community had to ask the Church for help. The Church in its turn applied to not very popular and weakly developed socio-theological sections. It required a non-dogmatic, creative, human response, and it might be the first time when the Church provided such a response.
This time the Church is represented by the community of laymen and rare ministers, their theology is more intuitive rather than well thought-out or coherent. Such phrases as ‘revolution of dignity’ and ‘Maidan theology’ were also intuitive. The ‘revolution of dignity’ is a Christian version of what was happening, which reveals semantic levels far deeper than Euromaidan’s political demands. It joined spiritual and social issues, provided the framework for non-violent opposition.
“Later on I realized, there is no contradiction between civil and Christian motives. How, for instance, can you talk to a person only about the Good news, if they want to talk about politics? I am sure that Protestant Christians would have done on Maidan much more, if they hadn’t hidden at cozy and comfortable church services, and gone to people instead. The impact made by Christians is evident because the civil war in our country did not start. Throughout the period of 18-20 February, one could think that policemen would be killed right there in the streets, however, this did not happen. I saw that the protesting people began to follow the example of Christians and not of the law enforcement groups. People would approach me on Maidan and tell ‘We want to follow Christ’s example’ [3, 275], shares her memories Karina Fedoricheva.
The sociopolitical theology of Maidan was based on latent christological and anthropological implications, intuitively connected with the key points of dogmatics and main sections of systematic theology. At the same time its enthusiasm was not of religious character, for example, the appeals of the Prayer tent leaders, “Don’t be religious….Your potential is needed on Maidan. Come and let’s do God’s work together. The Lord is there” [13, 543]. This imprint of Maidan became a long-term trend. People began to talk more about Christ and less about denominational Christianity, more about the Good News and less about religion.
The ‘Maidan theology’ was existential and narrative, personal and public, i.e. it was made up into a common text of ‘little’ stories of Christians who took part in the events. It is their involvement in the events on Maidan and their ideological leadership that shaped a general demand for ‘Maidan theology’.
Therefore, the ‘Maidan theology’ in its Protestant version mainly emerged among the young generation and was supported by the informal leaders, was inspired by critical hermeneutics of the Bible and social reality, optimism concerning the civil community and pessimism about official church structures. It was ecumenical and simple, i.e. particularly ‘Evangelical’, non-denominational, non-dogmatic, intuitive. In general, it was of social character, probably, for the first time in the history of Ukrainian Protestantism. It was a practical and sacrificial evidence of faith, witness about faith, as it was rightly expressed by one of the witnesses (μάρτυς), “You do not have any right to tell something until you have deserved it. And the easiest way to deserve it is through service, because then people see that you are willing to sacrifice something” [3, 214].
It is possible that the ‘Maidan theology’ is going to be a historical episode and will not have its continuation in the great church tradition, but the theology ‘after Maidan’ and ‘in the light of Maidan’ will be perceived in a different way. It will keep the imprint of ‘these little ones’, whose lives and views were changed forever, and by doing so they changed the Church and the country.

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