One of the world’s leading business thinkers, Adrian Slywotzky, calls Sheptytsky an exceptional moral leader of his time: “When you get to know him more deeply, you realize that, together with Gandhi and Mandela, he was one of the greatest moral authorities of the 20th century. He is also a spiritual, moral, and intellectual leader for all ages, but especially for the time in which we ourselves live today.”
An outstanding example of the vitality of the metropolitan’s ideas for today is UCU’s Sheptytsky Center. Our university decided to make a living memorial to the metropolitan in a building space that focuses on matters about which Andrey Sheptytsky was concerned every day.
Have you thought about what unites UCU’s Andrey Sheptytsky Center and Metropolitan Andrey himself? The innovative center, which for more than a year now has gathered people from various environments, is not simply named after Andrey Sheptytsky, a great builder of the Church, the unity of all Christians, and also education, entrepreneurship, and library matters.
The structure and activities of the center have incarnated the university community’s openness and service to the citizenry. As Andrey Sheptytsky tirelessly worked to unite people of various social statuses, opportunities, and environments, so today the Sheptytsky Center is a special kind of forum for the encounter of those who, in their daily lives, are often far from one another. The center is open to businesspeople, educators, civic activists, and people with special needs.
“So they called Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky the ethnarch of the Ukrainian people in Halychyna. He remembered and cared about the interests of all its social classes and all categories,” says Myroslav Marynovych, Vice-Rector for University Mission. “He could not imagine a social order in which one of the members of society would suffer some injustice. So he saw that just order as a community of people united around the idea of serving for the common good to the benefit of the needy. So the Sheptytsky Center, and the whole Ukrainian Catholic University, is open to all without exception, and particularly to people with special needs.”
In addition to ecclesiastical matters, Metropolitan Sheptytsky was a successful manager, and he encouraged this in others. He put money in real estate, land, buildings abroad, construction companies, forestry… He gave the funds received to the needy. The idea of entrepreneurship, knowing how to properly build a strategy for responsible, socially-oriented business which the metropolitan propagated, is today incarnated at UCU through the Centre for Entrepreneurship of the UCU Lviv Business School (LvBS), which hosts countless events on the premises of the Sheptytsky Center.
“The Centre for Entrepreneurship is a platform for study and developing projects. It gives teams of beginning entrepreneurs all the necessary knowledge, mentoring, and advice from practicing entrepreneurs to realize a successful business project. The goal is to create an educational space in which bold projects receive a stimulus to be implemented, and also receive the professional assistance of teachers, Ukrainian and foreign experts,” says Sophia Opatska, UCU Vice-Rector of Academic Affairs and founding dean of LvBS.
Philanthropy and support of the academic community
The metropolitan regularly supported students, sponsored scholarships, and also financed the activities of the Taras Shevchenko Scientific Society. And today the Sheptytsky Center encounters a number of benefactors who, spending time here, decide to support the university and sponsor stipends for students or teachers.
Each one who enters the Sheptytsky Center sees there the fruits of philanthropy and the sacrificial support of needy students. And the center itself arose thanks to the great donation of a Canadian from Ukraine, James Temerty, whose spiritual model was always Metropolitan Andrey. Metropolitan Sheptytsky’s philanthropic activities were at that time a strong “social elevator” which raised to significant social positions talented young people who, without this help, would not have been able to develop their talents. The Sheptytsky Center is today a forum where talented young people, who soon will go into life in inspired paths, can exchange creative ideas.
Development of libraries
Sheptytsky greatly respected books, and the main accent of the center is on the library, modern, but with a comfortable space for solitude with a book.
“Metropolitan Sheptytsky, who knew the power of the word, approached books, which carried words, ‘with trembling,’” says Myroslav Marynovych. “Book depositories were the site of his inspiration and spiritual consolation. So it is logical and natural to combine the name of Andrey Sheptytsky with UCU’s new library, which, from its first days, became more than a library. It has become an information center and a powerful incubator of new ideas. Not in vain did St. Pope John Paul II consecrate UCU’s cornerstone a few meters from today’s Sheptytsky Center, for this fulfilled the Pope’s prophetic words: ‘Wisdom has built her house here.’”
And so, for many the Sheptytsky Center has become a place of encounter, study, and the birth of ideas. From January to September 2018, more than 300 thousand people visited the center. The maximum number of visitors in one day, 4 894. For the study session from 20 May to 20 June, the Sheptytsky Center was open non-stop. Some 980 students had the opportunity to study at night during this period.
Also, over the year the Sheptytsky Center organized more than 120 events and hosted large-scale international events like the Security Forum, Media Forum, Educational Forum, International Humanities Convention, and international symposium “Ex umbra in solem”…