Reception of John Paul II’s Encyclical Ut unum sint in Cieszyn Silesia


There are places where the ecumenical movement is born and grows out of the very essence of social and cultural reality. Cieszyn Silesia belongs to one of such places. Situated on the meeting point of various nationalities, cultures, and Churches, it constitutes a border region in a literal and symbolic sense. This region has become the home for the largest population of the Lutherans in Poland. The ecumenical movement which has been born and developed here is a necessary and inevitable consequence of such coexistence of Churches — the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran. Both Churches have become symbols of ecumenical life based on faith, tolerance, experience and respect. Nowadays all of these factors create a modern ecumenism. Ecumenism in Cieszyn Silesia has a very long and rich history. The phenomenon of Churches’ coexistence appeared almost five centuries ago. It means that the ecumenical
movement had existed here long before the Catholic Church promulgated the encyclical Ut unum sint. On the basis of the examples of the ecumenical relationships mentioned in the article, it can be said that the look of the “wise” today at its “yesterday” helps to build a better “tomorrow”. Therefore it can be said that on the basis of a well-lived present, firmly rooted in history, rises a favourable hope for the future of the Church.
Presenting the reception of John Paul’s II Ut unum sint among the multi-denominational population of Cieszyn Silesia one could quote Reverend Professor Wacław Hryniewicz, one of the most remarkable Polish ecumenists: “An authentic reception can be achieved only when the partners differ from each other because diversity enables the true relation of giving and taking.”


ecumenism; Cieszyn Silesia; encyclical Ut unum sint; history; reception

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Published : 2022-03-02

Józef Budniak
University of Silesia in Katowice  Poland

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