Being born and raised

BAPTISM IN UKRAINIAN CULTURE: Ukrainians Speak of Significance of Baptism in Their Lifes

Bing born and raised in a really spiritual Ukrainian household, holding a male parent who is a priest in Ukrainian Catholic Church, I ever knew that faith was really of import in every Ukrainian individual ‘s life. Being still a kid, I was non really much sure about the significance of faith in one ‘s life ; nevertheless, I from a really young person I ever knew that Baptism in our faith is the most of import spiritual event in every individual ‘s life. In Ukraine, it is believed that every Christian person has to be baptized in order to be considered a spiritual individual. Turning up, I realized that baptism in Ukrainian civilization is non considered to be merely a spiritual tradition in Ukrainian civilization, but it is besides a religious forfeit of one ‘s life to the godly power of God.

In Ukrainian civilization, it is considered really of import that the babe is baptized shortly after its birth. Peoples arrange baptism for their kids every bit shortly as the female parent returns place with the babe from the infirmary. It is besides assumed that until the babe is baptized, no aliens, intending the people who are non a portion of the household, should see the babe. Ukrainians believe that until the babe is baptized, its spirit is really vulnerable to the evil power and bad fortune because it is non protected by the godly power of God. Therefore, early baptism is really of import for the babe every bit good as for its parents.

Spending my childhood old ages in Ukraine, the significance of baptism grew into my consciousness, and I know about the importance of baptism in our civilization. However, holding an chance to travel from Ukraine to the United States of America, I was able to research the function of faith in Ukrainian society life in the United States. Populating near the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Philadelphia for the last 10 old ages, I was able to research the Ukrainian society and the function of faith in Ukrainian people ‘s lives, while populating 1000s of stat mis off from their fatherland. I decided to execute a research about the function of faith in Ukrainian people ‘s lives both domestically and internationally, and the sidelong interested me even more, because it was something I have n’t had a opportunity to acquire a better apprehension of yet. The spiritual facet that interested me the most while executing my survey was, once more, the baptism of the newborn kids in Ukrainian society, seas across from their fatherland. The inquiry that I intend to raise in this paper is refering the differences in faith in Ukrainian civilization both domestically and internationally. How and why is the baptism in Ukrainian civilization of import to the people populating in Ukraine? Is it still as of import to the younger coevals life in Ukraine as is was to their parents and grandparents, or does this importance tend to melt over the old ages? Do Ukrainians life in the United States, Philadelphia part in peculiar, be given to maintain the spiritual traditions and cultural values, that they brought with them to this state, over the old ages of populating off from their fatherland, or are they more likely to travel somewhat off from their civilization as the old ages travel by? Are the older coevalss of Ukrainians populating in Philadelphia, intending the initial immigrants from Ukraine, more likely to maintain up with their cultural values and traditions than the coevalss that were born into Ukrainian society life in the United States?

In order to acquire a better image and better apprehension of the function of baptism in Ukrainian civilization both domestically and internationally I decided to execute my survey by researching and witnessing the baptism ritual in one of Ukrainian Churches and in Philadelphia, called Christ the King Ukrainian Catholic Church, larning the history of faith and baptism from historical literature, and by questioning Ukrainian people and hearing to their narratives and sentiments about the function of baptism in their lives. By witnessing the baptism ceremonial I mean my ability to see and research the existent baptism ceremonial every bit good as the ability of take parting in this sacred ritual. And by hearing to people ‘s narratives I mean my ability to speak to the Ukrainians of different coevalss, populating both in the Ukraine and in Philadelphia, about the function of baptism in Ukrainian civilization.


In order to farther explicate my survey about the function of baptism in Ukrainian civilization, I would wish to state a few words about the history of faith in Ukraine. Until 1991 Ukraine was known as one of the Soviet Union Republics, and was non considered to be an independent state as we know it today. Merely after the prostration of Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine gained its independency and became a separate state, with the ability of self-determination, and the right to exert its ain faiths. During the Soviet Union epoch, the lone faith considered legitimate in Ukraine was Orthodox. Merely with the terminal of Communist Regime, the Orthodox Church was able to divide, organizing three major churches in Ukraine – Orthodox, Greek Catholic, and Roman Catholic. However, throughout the history the Orthodox Church in Ukraine experienced legion onslaughts, violent suppressions, and secularisation from the Communist government.

The Communist government ‘s force per unit area on clergy and spiritual establishments was highly intensive. The Communist Party was violent in its actions towards Soviet people, including Ukrainians, as its chief concern was the legal secularisation of society, including the reformation of household jurisprudence, and the apprehension and penalty of clergy who advocated opposition to the Communist government. Clergy were frequently persecuted by the Communists and were deprived of citizenship rights.

After the terminal of Civil War, the Orthodox Church faced another assault. Soviet Communist Party initiated an intensive onslaught on the goods, which belonged to Orthodox Church. The Communists were violently impounding church goods under the stalking-horse that the goods were necessary for usage in battling the nutrient crisis of 1920s. When clergy tried to defy and refused to give away the largely sacred church vass, the authorities turned to force and panic: the priests, nuns, and other clergy functionaries were executed. The Communists Party was seeking to make an alternate to the Orthodox Church Christian establishment, where the clergy would be willing to collaborate with the Communists. In other words, the Communist Party was non merely seeking to forcibly reshape the Soviet society, but besides wholly reconstitute the spiritual establishment in favour of Communism. Although people were deprived of pick to pattern their faith, and were forced to collaborate with the Communist government in order to last, there were still people who strongly opposed the regime ordinances.

During the World War II, when Stalin came to power, he allowed the Orthodox Church to spread out all over the Soviet Union and to elect a patriarch, whose place has been empty since 1920s. However, to let church enlargement, Stalin government needed support of the authorities in war and the foreign dealingss with other states. So, once more, the church was used as a tool for use of the Soviet people.

This comparatively relaxed Stalin ‘s stance toward church in Soviet Union continued until the mid 1950s, before Nikita Khrushchev came to power in 1955. During Khrushchev epoch, the church faced another onslaught by the authorities. Khrushchev government, naming for renewed idealism in all domains in Soviet Union, suppressed the spiritual establishment by badly cutting the figure of monasteries, seminaries, churches, and parishes.

Although the spiritual establishment in Ukraine during the times of Soviet Era faced many onslaughts throughout history, the Khrushchev epoch was the last phase in church suppression in the former USSR. This spiritual cleaning came to an terminal with the dismissal of Khrushchev, and thenceforth the government limited its persecution of the church, clergy and spiritual persons. By the late sixtiess and early 1970s, the Orthodox Church in Ukraine celebrated its resurgence as the new coevals of people, who were born after the Communism Era, turned to religion for religious counsel and the redevelopment of their national civilization. The Orthodox church in Ukraine has separated organizing three primary churches – Orthodox, Greek Catholic, and Roman Catholic. This was the clip when after a long battle, the Ukrainians were allowed to pattern the faith of their pick without the fright of persecution by the corrupt authorities.

Regardless of the long battle of faith in Ukraine, it has ever played a really of import function in Ukrainian people ‘s lives. At clip of Communism, despite violent prosecution, put on the lining their lives, people were in secret practising faith and go toing churches. One of the spiritual rites considered to be the most of import in Ukraine is the Baptism, or the christening of the newborn kids. Although practising faith was purely regulated and suppressed by the Communist Party in the 1920-1960s, despite any ordinances people were still baptising their neonates. It was besides really of import for the people to hold their babes baptized shortly after the babe was born. Whenever the baptism was impossible to be performed at the church by the priest, the rite was held in secret at place, with or without the priest being present at the ceremonial.


Why was it so of import for the people to hold their babes baptized every bit shortly as possible after the babes were born? In order to farther research this inquiry, I decided to speak to the older coevals of Ukrainians and listen to their sentiments and personal histories. I have interviewed two Ukrainian adult females – Olga, 71, populating in Ukraine, and Anastasia, 85, who has been populating in Philadelphia for over 50 old ages. It was of import to me to listen to the narratives of these two adult females, because it could give me a better image of history of baptism in Ukrainian civilization and would assist me to acquire a better understanding about the topic of my involvement.

In my interview with Olga over the phone, I asked her some general inquiries, like what was her personal history of baptism, was or was it non of import to her, how does she experience about it, did she hold her kids baptized and at what age. Olga seemed to be really unfastened in her interview with me, and I felt like she was really pleased by the fact that I was interested to hear her narrative. “ Back when I was immature, the kid was to be baptized shortly after its birth, about a twenty-four hours or two after. It was non like today, when people have their kids baptized in about a hebdomad or two or even a month after their birth. Peoples were afraid that until the babe is baptized, its psyche is exposed to the evil power. Therefore, baptism was seen as a religious protection of the babe ‘s psyche from the evil power. However, thing have changed over the old ages. I have had my boy baptized in about a hebdomad after his birth, and my girl was baptized approximately two hebdomads after she was born, because she was really weak after birth, and I had to remain in infirmary with her for a few yearss. But every bit shortly as she started experiencing better, the first thing on my head upon my return place was holding her baptized. ”

Anastasia, 85, in my interview with her besides seemed to be really pleased by the fact that I am making my research on baptism in Ukrainian civilization. Once once more, as in my interview with Olga, I asked similar inquiry to Anastasia, and here is her response: “ Oh, there is no uncertainty that baptism is the most of import event in every Ukrainian individual ‘s life! This is like the bond between you and the God. You have to be baptized if you consider yourself to be Christian, and there is no other option. Harmonizing to what my female parent told me, I was baptized few yearss after my birth. Ukrayina was at war at that clip, so my female parent was afraid that if anything happens to me and I am non baptized yet, my psyche would ne’er travel to haven. However, I have had my girl baptized when she was five old ages old. It was so because she was born shortly after my hubby and I came to the United States in 1950s, and at that clip, we did non hold as many Ukrainian churches in Philadelphia as we have today. So, we had no pick back so, because we were foreigners to this state. My girl and my grand-daughter have had their kids baptized when they were a few months old. For them, it was more of import to hold everything planned out nicely. ”

From my interview with these Ukrainian adult females I got an feeling that baptism is considered to be the most of import event in Ukrainian people ‘s lives. Ukrainians view it as a religious bond between the individual and the God, which guides the individual throughout their life. It besides seemed to me that these adult females were really pleased to hear that a immature individual such as myself is interested to larn more about this sacred rite in Ukrainian civilization. However, what I besides noticed from my interviews with these Ukrainian adult females is that the younger coevals of Ukrainians is now more likely to hold their babes baptized a little later than their parents did. They prefer to take some clip and program out this of import event. They do non hold the similar feeling of haste for their babe ‘s baptism as their parents did. I assume that the ground for this is that throughout the old ages the spiritual state of affairs in Ukrainian civilization became more stable, and they do non hold that fright of losing their right to pattern faith as their parents did. I assume that the younger coevals of Ukrainians feels much calmer and assured in the hereafter of their faith, and hence tend to prorogue the baptism of their kids.

Besides questioning these Ukrainian adult females while working on my research, I have besides had a great chance to really witness the baptism ritual in one of the Ukrainian churches in Philadelphia as my friend has had her girl baptized during the clip I was working on my undertaking. Although I did non literally take part in this sacred ritual, I have had an chance to go to it and make my observation. I have besides had a opportunity to inquire a few inquiries to the female parent of the babe that was to be baptized that twenty-four hours.

When I was fixing to go to the baptism of my friend ‘s girl, I thought that I was one of the friends that were invited to go to to this event. However, when I entered the church on that particular Saturday, I realized that I was the lone friend invited to go to this particular event. I realized that my friend decided to hold her girl baptized in a really close household circle, and it was a great award for me to be invited irrespective of the fact that I am non in any manner related to that household. As I realized a small subsequently, my friend considered this event to be a really intimate, family-concerning event, where merely the household members and the god-parents were invited.

The girl of my friend Alexa, who was to be baptized that twenty-four hours, is non a babe any more. She is already 16 months old. Her female parent, Ellena, has ever wanted to hold her girl baptized, but because of the personal affairs in her household ( Ellena asked me non to include this information in my undertaking ) , she was non able to hold it done any clip Oklahoman. However, she decided to hold her girl baptized now irrespective of the still present personal affairs in her household, because she believes that it is her responsibility both as a female parent and as spiritual individual and she wants to raise her girl to be spiritual as good.

When Ellena was fixing for the baptism of her girl, she was really accurate in taking the right god-parents for her girl. She even spoke to the priest, father Mark, about this affair and asked him to assist her in choosing the right god-parents. Ellena was looking for the really spiritual twosome ; people, to whom faith was every bit of import as it is to her. She was looking for the people who, should anything go on to herself, would be able to go the loving parents for her girl. Ellena even had to prorogue the baptism of her girl for one hebdomad, because she could n’t happen the measure uping god-parents. Father Mark assisted her in taking the right people, and eventually Ellena was able to hold her girl baptized.

After the babe was baptized, Ellena invited the people who attended the event to acquire together for tiffin. As we were basking our tiffin, I was able to inquire Ellena about her feelings for holding her girl baptized. She said, “ I was so nervous about this, I could n’t even kip last dark. I was worried about everything, particularly about how Alexa would act herself, sing the fact that she is so affiliated to me, and does n’t normally acquire around with other people. But now, when I found the right people and we eventually were able to hold my girl baptized, I feel so much alleviation, I can non even explicate it. I am so happy it eventually happened! ”

What I noticed while detecting baptismal event of my friend ‘s girl is that in the beginning everyone, including my friend Ellena seemed to be slightly mute, demoing no emotional looks. I assume that the fact that Alexa was about to be baptized was really of import to them. And every bit shortly as Alexa was baptized, I could see the difference in their behaviour instantly. Everyone seemed to be really aroused about the fact that their babe is now baptized and hence is considered to be a portion of the spiritual community. Peoples were smiling and speaking to each other about how happy they are fort Alexa ‘s baptism and how of import it is that her psyche is now protected by the power of the Almighty.


As I was working on my survey about the function of faith in Ukrainian people ‘s lives, I was anticipating to research the function of faith in Ukrainian civilization both domestically and internationally. In my survey, I was chiefly concentrating on the function of baptism in Ukrainian civilization. In order to better understand the topic that I was approximately to analyze, I turned to the historical literature, and performed a research on the history of faith in Ukraine. I was able to interview the older coevals of Ukrainian adult females every bit good as the younger coevals, and listen to their narratives and sentiments about this affair. I was besides able to research the baptismal rite, which was held at the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Philadelphia.

What I was able to research every bit far as I performed my survey was that faith seems to play an of import function for every coevals of Ukrainians. However, I assume that the significance of faith in Ukrainian people ‘s lives tend to melt from one coevals to the other. Older coevals of Ukrainians, confronting the subjugation of faith during the Communism Era, have a slightly stronger feeling of importance of faith in their lives that the coevals born after the times of subjugation. For present coevals, the feeling of fright of losing their right to pattern their faith is slightly foreign, and they feel more unafraid about their hereafter that their ascendants did.

What I was non able to research in my survey was whether there are any important differences in the function of faith in Ukrainian civilization domestically and internationally. In order to make so, I would hold to go to Ukraine and speak to the Ukrainians shacking in Ukraine about this affair, and listen to their narratives. Merely so I would be able to pull some connexions, and perchance see some differentiations. Or, possibly I would non be able to happen any. However, I assume that I have no right to do such decision as of now, as my capable demands to be farther explored in a much more elaborate manner, unlike what I was able to carry through at this clip.


  1. Nielsen, Michael E. , Ph.D. “ Social Psychology and Religion on a Trip to Ukraine ” . Web. March 8, 2010
  2. “ The Soviet Era ” . InterKnowlege Corp. Geographia Official Site. Web. March 15, 2010
  3. Personal Interview with Ukrainian Peoples.

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