Report on Trip in Ukraine of Prof. Matthew Temple (Matthew Temple, Rochester, New-York)



May 21 – Round table \”MAN, RELIGION AND ENVIRONMENT\” hosted by the Department of Ecology Faculty of Natural Sciences National University Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.

Participants in the round table: Prof. Matthew Temple (Nazareth College, Rochester, New-York), Dr. Alexander Bokotey (Uzhhorod National University), Fr. Roman Romanovych(representative of Bureau on Ecology of Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church)  Lecturers, academics and post-graduate students of the department and faculty attended the seminar.

Doc. Viktor Karamushka moderated the round table.

Alexander Bokotey  presented the guests and reported “Work on Responsibility for Creation in Ukraine and Eastern Europe”.

Prof. Matthew Temple presented a report on “Genetically Engineered Plants: Scientific and Ethical Considerations”.

Fr. Roman Romanovych  reported on “Environmental Activities of Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church”.

A constructive discussion followed. It was noted that thesethemes,were both novel and relevant. n particular, Prof. Temple noted that GMO products can be useful for human health, as well as raising more familiar regulatory issues about GMO food. He also addressed how GMO crops can influence other species related to them genetically, and whether they can harm the ecological balance.

May 22 – excursion (participants of the Institute’s scientific group visited Kyiv-Perersk Lavra and the Museum of Jewels).

May 23 – meeting with lecturers and students at the  University in Bila Tserkva.

Prof. Temple presented a lecture for students and faculty on “Eco-ethical problems of GMO: danger for biodiversity and agro-ecological aspects”. This lecture Prof. Temple made a detailed comparative analysis of the risks and benefits of GMOs on the example of salmon and golden rice. He stated that when the risks of a GMO product to the environment or human health issubstantially less, than benefits, there are no apparent obstacles to  producing it. But Prof. Temple concluded that he, as a scientist, is looking for truths, does not make absolutely-definitive statements, but opens the question for reflection and listeners’ own conclusions. Prof. Temple is not only a scientist, but also a priest of the Roman Catholic Churchin  the Order of the Carmelites.

presented “for” and “against” stances concerning the production and use of GMO crops and fish. Students had the opportunity to think about important problemsconnected with GMO after the lecture. Mykhailo Bilanych (member of the Institute of Ecological and Religious Studies)  reported on the theme “Lent for protection of God’s Creation – Nature”. The Institute of Ecological and Religious Studies (in cooperation with Interreligious and Civil Environmental Forum of Eastern Europe) coordinates environmental activities of Christian Churches. The Institute explores opportunities for the Christian Churches to have an impact on conservation of the environment, and on                                                             environmental education. Such opportunities includesermons (with moral components of a caring attitude to the natural environment), and catechesis (an understanding of the teaching of the Church and the formation of a Christian faith from childhood). One way in which anyone can join the preservation of the environment is fasting during the Christian Lent, as well as fasting in other religions in the world.

After the lectures,  there was a very interesting excursion through scientific and educational laboratories of the university. This microbioclone laboratory, where orchids, blackberries, lemons are grown from small pieces of meristem tissue in special sterile conditions. In addition,an open soil exploratory sites with its many layers was examined.

Together with Prof. Tetyana Dyman (Vice-Rector on Educational and International Work) we had negotiations concerning further cooperation.

 May 24. The Institute’s group visited the the Roman Catholic Seminary in Vorzel (Kyiv region).. Fr. Ruslan Mykhalkiv (Rector of the Seminary) presented the guests, then Prof. Temple and Dr. Bokotey presented two interesting reports. Prof. Temple offered a lecture on “Science in Laudato Si” (how Pope Francis uses scientific data and thinking to support moral considerations in favor of both humanity and the environment).

Dr. Bokotey presented a lecture on the theme: “The role of the Church in preserving the Family Institute in the context of the environmental challenges of today\’s consumer trends”.

May 25. Members of the Institute’s group, including Matthew Temple, Alexander Bokotey, Fr. Roman Romanovych. Bogdan Motuzenko and Mykhailo Bilanych visited ecological Aqua Farm in Vasylkiv (in the Kyiv region). Aqua Farm breeds fish based on environmentally safe technologies without use of various chemical additives or hormones. It combines technologies of hydroelectric power and aquaculture so that the consumer receives the highest quality fish product. – also Aquafarm group

The group then visited St. George Cathedral (in Vasylkiv), guided by. Fr. Roman Romanovich, who is an active Christian fighter for responsible attitude to nature – God\’s creature. May 26. Excursion through historical places in Kiev. After that, the participants returned to Uzhhorod.

May 27. Fr. Matthew Temple celebrated Mass in English at the Roman Catholic church of St. George in Uzhhorod.

May 30. Prof. Temple and Dr. Bokotey presented reports during the eparchial meeting of priests of the Mukachevo Greek Catholic Eparchy (Uzhhorod).

Dr. Bokotey report on the  “Main environmental challenges in Transcarpathia” about the most up-to-date environmental problems that concern every person in Transcarpathia.

Prof. Temple repored on “Laudato Si’ in American Parishes” (how do American parishes attempt to realize the position of the encyclical in practical life).

We are very grateful to Fr. Matthew Temple for his scientific collaboration and spiritual support throughout the journey and we look forward for cooperation in the future.

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