Confessor Between East and West: A Portrait of Ukrainian Cardinal Josyf Slipyj

Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Author Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company $30 (249p) ISBN 978-0-8028-3672-4
This monograph primarily reviews theological historiography and provides a disappointingly scant portrait of the controversial Slipyj who, imprisoned in the Gulag in 1945, was exiled in 1963 to Rome where the Ukrainian Orthodox prelate lived until his death in 1984 at age 92. Pelikan, professor of history at Yale and author of The Christian Tradition , often relies on secondary sources and thereby leaves longstanding questions unanswered: How did the Vatican secure U.S. cooperation in negotiating Slipyj's release?; did Slipyj remain silent during exile about his imprisonment by Soviet stricture, as Pelikan suggests, or might his secrecy have been dictated by a Vatican with its own political agenda? The author supports the widely held assumption that Slipyj was arrested for refusing to vow allegiance to the Russian church (which itself had granted fealty to Stalin), a courageous albeit abortive stand for a synod of Ukrainian Bishops soon capitulated. In exile, Slipyj's position is shown to have remained anomolous, with the Latin church hierarchy as well as many Eastern Rite bishops in the diaspora challenging his ecclesiastical pronouncements. Although Slipyj ceaselessly lobbied his co-religionists around the world to some effect, about the Curia he would complain that his treatment under the Soviets paled by comparison. ( Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
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