Committee of Prince Konstantin Ostrogski Awards – 13/2/19
The announcement made by the Committee of the 30th Prince Konstantin Ostrogski Awards on the 26th of January 2019.
The winners of the 30th Prince Konstanty Ostrogski Prizes are :
Archbishop of Tirana, Duress and All Albania, Anastasios Yannoulatos; Archpriest Michel Quenot of Switzerland, an expert on icons; Professor Andrzej Romanowski, Polonist and journalist; Jan Smyk, journalist of the Polish Radio and social activist; Ukrainian Orthodox Journalists’ Association.
The Award is awarded for outstanding achievements in the field of development of Orthodox spirituality, philosophy, and culture, as well as for the efforts in bringing all Christians together. The Chapter held its session on January 26th, chaired by Eugeniusz Czykwin, editor-in-chief of Przegląd Prawosławny (Orthodox Review), published by Price Konstanty Ostrogski Foundation.
Archbishop of Tirana, Duress and All Albania, Anastasios Yannoulatos – for his world-famous mission work. Archbishop was born in 1929 in Piraeus, Greece. He studied theology in Athens, and later history of religion, mission, ethnology and African studies at various German universities. He studied and learned about various religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Islam, and African religions. He also visited the countries where they are most commonly practiced in order to gain truly in-depth knowledge. He is fluent in Ancient Greek, English, French, German, Albanian. He also speaks Latin, Italian, Spanish, Russian, and Swahili.
This intellectual grounding in a sense made him a man of mission and he used it as well as he could – firstly within the structures of the global Orthodox youth movement ‘Syndesmos’, and later as the leader of the All-Orthodox mission center ‘Porefthendes’.
In 1963 he began great mission work in the World Council of Churches as the head of various mission structures, in 2006 reaching the position of the Council’s chairman and the honorary president of the World Religion Conference for Peace.
In Greece, he established the Centre for Mission Studies of the Athens University. He was the director of ‘Apostoliki Diakonia’. As a member of this organization, he developed the foreign mission, on numerous occasions visiting Eastern Africa as a missionary, where he founded the Patriarch School of Makarios III, Archbishop of Cyprus, and ran it for 10 years. He ordained 62 African Orthodox Priests, educated religious teachers, supported the effort of translation the Liturgy into four African Languages, actively supported 150 Orthodox parishes and communities, oversaw the construction of several dozen Orthodox churches, founded 7 missionary centers, and led the process of building schools and medical centers.
Since 1992 he has been the head of the Albanian Orthodox Church – after many years of bleak and harsh communism he took on the effort of its resurrection and rebuilding. Under his supervision over 400 parishes have been reopened. There was also a theological academy created, and nurseries, kindergartens, schools, and 50 youth centers were opened by the churches. Fifty new churches have been built, sixty historic church buildings have been rebuilt, and 160 run-down churches have been renovated. New publishing houses, workshops, and craft studios have also been established.
The Archbishop is also supporting the construction and repairs of roads, bridges, water supplies, medical centers, hotels, schools. He is keenly interested in the development of agriculture, culture, ecology, education and social aid systems. In 2000 his candidacy was put forward for the Nobel Peace Prize. He has gained international renown – eighteen universities have awarded him with an Honoris Causa Doctorate.
He is a calm, cheerful man, radiating kindness and simplicity. His main concern is the love of God’s glory. He says that mission is essential if we don’t want to lose ourselves because Christians closing themselves in their own circle – no matter if its big or small – leads to self-destruction.
Rev. Michel Quenot received the award for popularizing the Orthodox theological thought in Western Europe and across the world. After his studies in humanities and linguistics, he was delegated by the International Red Cross to North Yemen in the Middle East during the Civil war. On his return, he taught for many years in a High School. At a mature age, he finally agreed to be ordained priest in 2003 by the Metropolitan of Switzerland Jeremiah (Kaligiorgis). He is now the rector of the multicultural parish of the Pokrov (Protection of the Mother of God) and St Silouan the Athonite in Fribourg, Switzerland.
Father Michel Quenot gained international renown thanks to his many works on the topic of Orthodox iconography. He emphasizes the fact that the icon has a significant impact on the spiritual life. This belief was strongly influenced through his close contacts with Father Sofronius (Sacharow) of John the Baptist monastery in Great Britain, the disciple of Saint Silouan the Athonite, and his many journeys to old painted churches in several orthodox countries.
Father Michel is the author of 30 books in link with the theology of the icon and different aspects of the Orthodox Church life and spirituality. He also published memories and thoughts about the people of Yemen who laid a beautiful Christian testimony before their Islamisation. Many of his books have been translated into other languages: English, German, Greek, Russian, Rumanian, Italian, Arabic, and others. Three of them have been translated into Polish: “The Icon: Window on the Kingdom”, “The Resurrection and the Icon”, “The Icon and the Cosmos: a different look on Creation”.
Professor Andrzej Romanowski for his extensive and in-depth studies on the eastern borderland of Polish literature, for popularizing the ideas of the cultural diversity of the Republic of Poland – especially in the sphere of literature – supported by his great knowledge and learning. He openly speaks about the rich component of Belarussian literature in the Polish heritage, breaking the stereotype of its Polish-Latin monolith. His book titled “For the Eastern Fringes of Polish Literature. From the Middle Ages to Enlightenment” was published last year. In the book, he analyses the literature written in Old Russian, Church Slavonic, later also the so-called “simple language” stemming from Old Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian and Russian – as these were all languages used by Republic of Poland’s writers. The book is the 27th volume of a series titled “Library of Borderland Literature” edited by Professor himself. It is a result of his interest in the Polish-Ukrainian-Belarussian-Lithuanian borderland.
Andrzej Romanowski is a full professor. He is the head of the Borderland Literature culture faculty at the Polish Studies Department of the Jagiellonian University, he is also a researcher at the History Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences, where he is a member of the Literature Sciences Committee. Since 2003 he has been the editor-in-chief of the Polish Biographical Dictionary, succeeding on this position the famous historian and literary theory expert, professor Henryk Markiewicz. He published several books. He is an established journalist, working since 1976 with Tygodnik Powszechny (from 1990 to 2002 as a full-time employee), as well as other magazines.
He is brave both morally and intellectually. He opposes fanatism, intolerance, and violence. He creates bridges between people and cultures. He is one of the ideological creators of the Third Republic of Poland. He defends the truth. He has received, among others, the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta and Meritorious for Tolerance medal.
Jan Smyk, for combining his radio journalist profession with social work for the Orthodox Church. He is the co-founder of the Orthodox Saints Cyril and Methodius Brotherhood, an association which was created 30 years ago by the blessing of Metropolitan Sawa, then the Archbishop of Białystok and Gdańsk. Since the very beginning he has been a member of the brotherhood’s board, and currently holds the position of vice-president of the main board. It is the most distinguished Orthodox association in Poland, with 11 branches all over the country. It runs a kindergarten, primary and middle school, organizes cycles of lectures in various cities (e.g. ‘Wszechnica Kultury Prawosławnej’ – Orthodox Culture College), publishes the Information Bulletin, organizes pilgrimages, brings the relics of most worshiped saints to Poland (e.g. Saint Mary Magdalene, Saint Spyridon of Trimythous). Jan Smyk is the co-organizer of all these undertakings. For his activity, he has been awarded the 2nd Grade Order of Mary Magdalene.
He is also the member of the council of Saint George Parish in Białystok, and takes care of places of worship in his hometown of Dobrowoda near Kleszczele, actively participating in the construction of an Orthodox Church and a shrine over a holy water spring. As a radio worker, together with his colleagues, he recorded numerous records with Orthodox Church music.
He is counted among the best Polish radio journalists. While practicing all possible types of journalism, he became most famous for his radio reports, of which he made several hundred. Their protagonists are most often people from small towns and villages, mostly from eastern parts of Poland, very often of Orthodox creed. His works have won the highest awards at annual competitions in Poland and abroad. He was nominated for Grand Prix Italia 4 times. He is a holder of the Golden Microphone (1994). In 2010 he received the title of Radio Report Journalist of the Year.
He has worked with foreign radio stations. He published two CDs with his own, unique music reports: “A oto gwiazda” (And this is the Star) “Supraski Irmologion” (Supraśl Irmologion). At the end of last year, he had prepared (collected and edited) a monumental work titled “Anthology of Polish Radio Report” (ss.408) for the Polish Radio, where he writes about the art of radio reports and presents the most prominent personalities of Polish radio reports. The book includes two CDs with 333 best post-war pieces. Jan Smyk has worked on various radio managerial positions, including the chairman of the board of Polish Radio Białystok (2002-2006). He has received numerous medals, including the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta
Ukrainian Orthodox Journalists’ Association for their efforts in spiritual awakening of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the objective presentation of the religious situation of their country.
The conflict over the churches, which has been raging between the dissenting and canonical structures since the beginning of the 1990s, in a country which has been damaged by war, economic crisis, and social unrest is turning into a political and religious issue. The situation has been further inflamed by the fact that the Constantinople Patriarchy has granted a tomos on autocephaly (independence) to the dissenting structures, not recognized by the Orthodox Church in general, as well as the Ukrainian parliament passing certain bills directly interfering with the internal affairs of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Now there are many biased and uneducated opinions expressed by journalists all over the world, including Poland, regarding the UOC, which consists of almost 13 thousand parishes and over 200 monasteries, and which did not request the autocephaly.
Ukrainian Orthodox Journalists’ Association uses the Internet (www.spzh.news) to release documents, opinions, reactions, etc. expressed by hierarchs, priests, simple community members, and allows the public to form their own independent judgment on the processes taking place in the religious sphere and their underlying reasons.
Committee of Prince Konstantin Ostrogski Awards