Unification Sermons and Talks
by Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak
A New Spring in the Dispensation Has Started in Ukraine
by Reverend Chung Hwan Kwak
Report given January 29, 1993 International Leaders' Conference New York, New York, World Mission Center
As Father instructed, I went to Ukraine on January 13, 1993, and spent eight days there. One and a half years ago, two Japanese leaders, Mr. Akihiko Kunitoki and Mr. Azuma Kamimura, met a Ukrainian businessman, Dr. Yury R. Orshansky. [Note: Mr. Kamimura's family name was originally Murakami; at Father's suggestion he changed it to Kamimura, which means in Japanese, "God's village is in the East."] After their relationship developed, Mr. Kunitoki visited Kiev and a second city, Kharkov. Of the fifteen republics of the former Soviet Union, Ukraine has the second largest population, about fifty-two million, and is about three times larger in size than the Korean peninsula. The capital city is Kiev. Ukrainians are proud of their history and their leading role in the founding of Russian Orthodoxy, which began in Kiev in 988 a.d.
Not only is Ukraine the second largest of the former Soviet republics, but its location, natural resources, level of education, and foundation of science and technology give it great importance. More than half of the armaments of the former Soviet Union were produced in this country. Its port of Odessa, on the Black Sea, is very important for the former Soviet Union.
I visited several famous institutes, including a cybernetics institute and a nuclear research institute that employs thousands of researchers, more than eight hundred of whom have doctorate degrees. They are very proud of their technical know-how, academic achievements, and research development.
After building a relationship with Mr. Kunitoki and WACOM, some Ukrainian leaders visited Korea. AUkrainian cabinet minister, a new deputy minister, and Dr. Orshansky studied Divine Principle in Korea. I met with them and spoke about Father's foundation and accomplishments, and they were deeply moved. On the last day of their visit, Father invited them to breakfast. He spoke to them about their role in transforming the communist system into a free market system and how their nation has to change. Again they were moved. Before they left Korea, they shared with me their determination to become public relations men for Father's thought and activities, and they invited me to visit their country.
On this trip I was accompanied by several technicians and Japanese leaders. I was amazed to discover at the airport in Moscow that these businessmen had prepared a charter airplane for our group. From the first day until the last moment, they did their best to look after us. The Ukrainian government has some unresolved issues with the Russian government. They have a plan for full independence from Russia and are calling for the development of an economic system like that of the European Community among all the CIS nations. Because of their many resources and geographical position, they are in competition with the Russian government. They are anxious to promote economic development and make a smooth transition to the free-market system.
Of course they have many difficulties. First, I learned that more than half of the country's leaders are former communist officials. The prime minister, as well as some of the other ministers, privately shared with me their concerns. They want to make changes and they know how to do so, but many of the parliament members want to preserve the old ways. Their current economic situation is difficult because of their lack of resources, especially funds. The Ukrainian Orthodox church is not very strong right now. The Ukrainian Orthodox church is different from the Russian Orthodox church, and its top leaders are divided into pro-Russian and pro- Ukrainian factions, which are fighting each other. Even though they are asking for us to give them economic assistance and make investments in their country, Father has told them that more important than economic assistance is education, especially for their young people.
I met prominent leaders, including the prime minister, important ministers, the deputy chairman of the congress, members of congress, and local officials. I also met some of the president's staff. Fortunately for me, Mr. Antonov Victor Ivanovich, minister of engineering, Military Industrial Complex and Conversion of the Ukraine, and Dr. Yury R. Orshansky, had already told these people about Father and introduced them to Father's thought. I appreciated their wonderful preparation. When I met these leaders and basically explained Father's thought and viewpoint, they were completely open. They accepted what I had to say and in many areas they agreed with my explanations.
Meeting with Metropolitan Nicodim
Another significant meeting was with a leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox church. I didn't meet the top leaders in Kiev because their situation now is unstable, but there are three metropolitans, or top officials of the Orthodox church. One of them is Metropolitan Nicodim of Kharkov and Boghodu Dukhov, Ukrainian Orthodox church. As he was a minister, I didn't know how to introduce him to our community. At the beginning of our meeting there was some tension. Government leaders and other leaders respect him, and in their Orthodox church system he is highly esteemed. I could see by the setting of his office that he was an important person. In the beginning he was a little distant, but Father's array of inter-religious activities and worldwide foundation is a powerful testimony about Father, so I brought a copy of World Scripture and some literature about the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace and other inter-religious activities. This had a very powerful influence on him. I explained the real purpose of Jesus Christ and other founders of religions. I talked about the core teachings of religions and said that religious harmony and cooperation is our destiny; without such a movement, world peace can never come. I explained to him step by step the range of Father's thought and how Father brings together world religious leaders.
World Scripture is a powerful testimony. Not only Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant leaders, but also Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus are closely linked with Father's movement. The book had an influence on him; he gradually opened his mind and became close and warmhearted. During the era of the former Soviet Union, he was jailed several times and tortured. His life is very sacrificial; so, he was able to understand Father's situation.
Later we were invited to a banquet. I could see that he is very respected because his was the head place among thirty other seats prepared for various leaders, including government officials. As he entered, he gave the order to prepare one more head seat for me, and he received me with warmth and friendliness. His attitude moved not only our members but also other officials. Suddenly both religions were becoming close, having good dialogue, because of this influence.
That evening I was invited to another banquet. Originally Metropolitan Nicodim was not scheduled to be there. It was a very cold and snowy day, but he voluntarily attended. This meeting gave me a chance to explain more aspects of Father's foundation and activities. He promised me that our community would always have a close relationship with him and that we would be allowed to focus on the education of the younger generation.
Meeting with the prime minister
When I met the prime minister, Mr. Leonid D. Kuchma, he was expecting that Father would make some investments and possibly start some joint- venture companies, which Ukraine needs. However, Father envisions an economic free zone and attractive conditions for foreign investors. I explained to them what kind of advantages they need to offer in order to attract foreign investors. Basically, the prime minister agreed to all the conditions. He shared with me that he wanted to invite True Parents to visit on, an official government level. As you know, Father has visited many nations and has been received by important persons, but this is only the second government-level invitation extended to True Parents. The first was North Korea, where Father visited by invitation of the government.
However, I did not just accept his invitation and simply thank him. I thanked him for his invitation to Father, but then I told him, "You should know that you don't invite Rev. Moon as a business leader or for the purpose of joint-venture research. He is the most important person, the one who brings a new vision to inspire the younger generation and a new system of thought for educating the youth. Your nation and your people absolutely need his teaching." The prime minister agreed.
Then I said that before Father and Mother arrive, I want to visit once more and educate the nation's leaders, especially the commissioner of the education department and other high officials. I said I want to teach a thousand people about Father's basic ideology. I emphasized to him that this is not just a Unification Church idea, but a teaching that will call young people to a high standard of ethics and morality and bring a renewal of spirit and thought. He accepted this idea and said he wanted all students to be educated in our thought. Actually, they have no basic principles of education, and the younger generation is struggling. Therefore, this time period is very important for them. The prime minister accepted my idea and I will go there again. Even though the potential for business investments and joint ventures is there, I never promised any kind of business details or signed any agreement. First, I want to educate them.
Hope for the future
The technicians who went with me were very moved by our visits to various institutes. Their institutes are on such a huge scale, and their level of technical know-how is amazing. Father always emphasizes the importance of technical research for the future of humankind. Father especially intends to support Africa and third-world countries with technical and economic assistance. These Ukrainian institutes operate on a low budget, and in the present economic situation, wages average less than ten dollars a month. The U.S. dollar is powerful in that country. After I returned, I realized how important one dollar is. Small amounts of money can create a great effect there.
I asked the prime minister, Mr. Kuchma, about legalizing our church. I confirmed David Stewart as the present national leader of our Ukrainian church after Dr. Joon Ho Seuk chose him. We want to obtain a building for our church activities; however, because of government regulations, foreigners still have difficulty obtaining buildings, even though they have money. We have submitted our application for the legalization of our church and are waiting for the prime minister's approval.
The Ukraine is thinking of appointing me to be their honorary general consul in Seoul. They have no ambassador in Seoul, so they want to appoint me to represent them. Actually, I already have a busy schedule. However, I know well Father's sympathy for the former Soviet Union and Father's desire to support them, educate them, and help rebuild their economic foundation.
The leaders are reading the Divine Principle and the story of Father's life. More than us, they like to read books; we have to publish many books to introduce Father and the Divine Principle there. They want materials.
Many of our worldwide leaders have to go quickly to the former Soviet Union. We need to educate core members among the local people. As you have heard, throughout the whole CIS, many students have graduated from seven- and twenty-one-day seminars. On the horizontal level many have attended, but few of them are core leaders. Therefore, we have to focus quickly to educate them about Father's thought and idea.
With the present lack of funds, the economic situation is difficult, but I found a lot of hope because their historical foundation is not that of a poor third-world nation. It is completely different. Before I went there I was concerned about cold weather, but Kiev is on the same latitude as Frankfurt, Germany. Their weather is the same as Germany's. On the Black Sea, there are many resort areas, where it is warm. The land is flat and fertile. Because of the thousand-year foundation of Orthodox Christianity, their level of culture and education is very high. The cities are well organized; they are modern in design and similar to European cities.
I suggested to one government minister that if they sell urban buildings to Westerners, they wouldn't have to be concerned about funds. Actually, all the city buildings and the land belong to the government. If they sell even a fifth of their buildings to Westerners, they would obtain an amazing amount of money. That official answered that they had not given much thought to that possibility.
A more difficult point is that more than half of the members of parliament are former communist party leaders, and they want to keep the status quo. If even one building is sold to Westerners, they worry about the consequences. They are afraid because they don't understand the Western free-market system. However, if they adopt a free-market system, they would be able to obtain a lot of resources.
Before the younger generation becomes worse, we have to lend them a hand and educate the people. The Ukraine is a model country among all the former Soviet republics. Conditions in other countries are not so good as those in Ukraine, so I want to focus on educating Ukrainians and quickly develop Father's foundation there.
Father and Mother have not yet decided when to accept their invitation to visit Ukraine. The prime minister, Mr. Kuchma, said they need to give only one month's notice prior to their visit. It depends on Father's schedule. When Father comes, the prime minister promised to gather all leaders to listen to his teaching. They are starting to respect Father.
Many activities throughout this world are based on Father's thought and await our leadership. We should pray for the many countries of the former Soviet Union and our missionaries there. Our missionary in the Ukraine is still very young and does not have much experience. We need to develop some system for supporting and assisting them. We have to quickly develop Ukraine and other CIS countries.
Meeting with Muslim leaders On my way back from Ukraine to Korea, I visited Cairo because I wanted to meet Grand Mufti Kuftaro of Syria. He was attending the Muslim world conference which meets every two years. Thirty-four ministers of religion in Muslim countries attended, as well as a few heads of state. The main topic of the eight-day conference was how to prevent terrorism in Muslim countries. Many Muslim leaders are concerned that their country's image is linked with terrorism. They want to cut off the relationship with any kind of violence and terrorism.
I stayed there only one full day, but I met several top leaders of the Muslim world. Their common comment was that even after eight days of meetings and discussions, they would not be able to resolve the issue. All participants recognized that they should sever relations with terrorists, but they have no basic idea or direction.
Among the leaders I met were the former president of Sudan, H. E. Swar Eldahab; one of the top scholars of the Muslim community, Dr. M. A. Zaki Badawi, who is president of the Muslim College in London; and Dr. Ahmad Kuftaro. One is a political leader, one a scholar, and one a religious leader. All of them admitted that they had no solution to the problem which was the focus of the conference. Through this experience once again they realized how important a foundation Father has laid for world peace through our inter-religious activities. They praised Father and shared how deeply they respect him.
I mention this because Father began doing interdenominational and inter-religious activities a very long time ago. At that time even I had no idea how important a role they would play throughout the world. The former communist world needs Father's teaching and guidance. You Unification Theological Seminary graduates should be hopeful. Do not think that your activities will always be confined to this nation. Your future territory is the world. Many people and many nations are waiting for us. We have to reach out for the sake of the world to achieve world peace.
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