Keywords: John Paul II dialogue ethnicity history dialogue the Stranger Cyril and Methodius the idea of Slavic

KMT 2016 nr 6 Download PDF

Dominika Żukowska-Gardzińska

Theological and axiological aspects of the idea of Slavic in the thought of John Paul II

Cite: Dominika Żukowska-Gardzińska, Teologiczne i aksjologiczne aspekty idei słowiańskiej w myśli Jana Pawła II, "Kultura - Media - Teologia", 2016( 24) nr 6, s. 89-99.

The Slavic idea as defined by John Paul II was shaped through answers to three questions. Firstly, would it be possible to talk about the community/unity of Slavic nations despite the differences between them? Secondly, can the Slavicity understood as a set of different geographical locations represent any common value? Thirdly, a question that probably should have come first, does any supernatural meaning and mission of the Slavic nations in fact exist? The answer to all the three questions is positive. Yes for the values, yes for the community/unity, and yes for the transcendence, provided however that the Slavicity is understood as a kind of ethos, as an ideal premise that this variety of countries are connected by a set of common norms and values that allow the Slavic nations to transform culture. On an outer, social level, the meaning of the Slavic idea is twofold. On one hand, it is the determined effort focused on creating unity of the inhabitants of Europe, and on the other hand, it involves treating seriously the values of Slavic languages and culture as a means to convey truth about the man and the world. On an inner, theological level, the Slavic idea has its roots in the biblical image of the Old Testament Tower of Babel and the New Testament descent of the Holly Spirit. The Tower of Babel symbolises man’s quest for independence, and his belief that he didn’t need God in his life any more. The erection of the Tower of Babel was hampered because the language of its builders was confused, thus preventing the establishment of a community in concord and harmony. According to John Paul II, the tragedy of contemporary man is that of Everyman, corresponding to the situation from the times of the Tower of Babel. The biblical response to this situation is the descent of the Holly Spirit – empowered by this event, people start to speak languages of the world and can again unite and together attempt to build a community. Thus the Slavic idea of John Paul II is based on the ethos of unity and brotherhood. It calls for experiencing the brotherhood not as a utopia but as a reality. The value of the brotherhood of men is what at the level of ethos unites the Slavic world in its own spiritual existence and what connects it with the entire Christian Europe. These values are more important than the internal differences between Slavs that divide them and they distinguish the Slavs from other cultures of Europe.

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