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2018-04-27

"Justice is the foundation of social peace!" - Prison Chaplains testified at the International Conference in Kyiv


On April 24-27, 2018, the International Conference of the Prison Chaplains Association IPCA-Europe "Faith in Justice: from sentence to community" has been held in Kyiv with participation of more than 50 delegates from 16 countries of the world. The participants analyzed the issue of administration of justice and criminal penalties as well as the role of social institutions in achieving a lasting and just social peace and integration of former prisoners. They approved a joint Declaration in which they expressed solidarity support to Ukraine in its contest for justice and peace.

The Pastoral Council on Religious Care in the Penitentiary System of Ukraine became the co-organizer of the Conference.  Chief of the Pastoral Council in Ministry of Justice Fr. Constantin Panteley and chairman of the Synodal Department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church for Pastoral Care in the penitentiary system, the member of the organizing committee Archpriest Viktor Yatsenko prepared this event for two years in collaboration with the Steering Committee of IPCA-Europe. "Chaplains are called to serve in such a way that the time could not lose its social and personal significance for prisoners," - said the Chairman of the Pastoral Council during the plenary session Konstantin: "We are challenged to make prison walls transparent to society so that all can see if ultimate justice is attainable, which is the purpose of justice, or whether it is possible to grasp peace by excluding part of people in the atmosphere of total alienation."

At the first sessions, on April 24 - 25, held under the guidance of Rev. Michael Philippi, Chair of IPCA-Europe, the Conference reviewed the trends in the world changes and the implications of the adoption of Mandela Rules. Consequently, the focus was made on theological and secular approaches to the problem of justice. From the theological perspective spoke Dr. Oleg Kindy, Ukrainian Catholic University, with the report "Restoring human dignity through the healing of the image of God" and Metropolitan Augustine (Markevich), Ukrainian Orthodox Church, "Relations with God in terms of the Gospel and jurisprudence"; mgr Tim Dicon, UK, "Biblical Sources for Mercy and Salvation."

The secular scientific opinion was represented by lawyers: Dr. Mykhaylo Kostytskyy in his lecture "Jurisdiction as a means and purpose of the re-socialization of prisoners"; Dr. Oleksandr Kostenko in "Reflection on the challenges of Chaplains in Prison Pastoral Care" and other scholars. Also, teachers and penologists: Dr. Victor Sinyov "Penitentiary Idea and Reintegration of the Convicts"; Dr. Viktor Krivosha "Joint work of convicts and cadets of the penitentiary institute".

Between the plenary sessions, delegates of the conference visited national holy places of St. Sophia of Kyiv and the Holy Assumption Cave Monastery, where they prayed together. On April 26, the Conference was held in the Supreme Counsel of Ukraine premises, where the participants discussed behavior of pastors in difficult circumstances, when they are exposed to moral dilemmas in their ministry, regarding the limits of cooperation and independence, the ethics of the chaplaincy ministry. The delegates of the Conference visited the State Institution "Kyiv Investigative Isolator" in order to familiarize themselves with the terms of stay of prisoners and with organization of pastoral care. Thus, in the hall of the Colleges of the Administration of the State Criminal-Executive Service of Ukraine, the clergy, together with specialists from the Center for Probation and officers of the social-educational and psychological service, discussed the peculiarities of the current formation of the criminal-executive system. The Conference was greeted by the deputy head of the Administration of SCES, Oleg Torkunov, thanking the prison chaplains for their pastoral work in places of deprivation of liberty.

On April 27, delegates of the conference adopted a Joint Declaration stating:

"The Ukraine is the biggest country within Europe, with a rich history. It is a key region between East and West and as a result has suffered more than many other are as in the past centuries. Empires have tried to dominate Ukraine, a country still is in conflict as we meet here in 2018. However, the Ukraine also unifies western and eastern traditions in its people, its culture, and its religions, with an ongoing history of inter-religious welcome. Since independence in 1991 the people have continued to struggle as they develop their deep-rooted sense of self."

"We have had the unique opportunity get to know more about the Ukrainian prison reality through presentations from representatives of the justice system, both academic and practice focused."

"We pray that the tense political situation in many countries of Eastern Europe does not lead to an increase in exclusive, identity-based ideologies."

"Our national justice systems need to ensure people leaving prison can find integration and welcome in the community. To see Shalom established, victims, offenders, children, the strangers, the most vulnerable and even those whom we consider our enemies deserve a justice that brings about renewed opportunities for life through the healing of the damaged imago Dei in mankind. Justice cannot be frozen in time, but is a movement, a searching for... For Justice!" 

The UGCC Office for Pastoral Care in Penitentiary System of Ukraine.

IPCA-Europe Conference Declaration


Faith in Justice; from sentence to community

IPCA Europe Kyiv Conference
Tue 24th – Fri 27th April 2018

“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed” Isaiah 1:17


Conference Declaration


Over the last four days we, 60 Prison Chaplains from 16 European Countries, have enjoyed the invitation, welcome, and hospitality of our brothers and sisters in the Ukrainian Prison Chaplaincy services. We are thankful for the invitation to the Ukraine and for the sense of family shared as we have met and learned from one another.

As a consequence of World War II, the United Nations was founded on three pillars: there should not be more misery in the future; human rights should be in effect for every human being; and there should be security for all Nations and every individual. 73 years later, these pillars seem to be in danger. We see misery on an international scale with economic and environmental disasters being daily occurrences alongside war in nations such as Syria, Sudan, Yemen, and Ukraine. Torture, wholly condemned by the UN, is known to be present in 30% of nations.

The Ukraine is the biggest country within Europe, with a rich history. It is a key region between East and West and as a result has suffered more than many other are as in the past centuries. Empires have tried to dominate Ukraine, a country still is in conflict as we meet here in 2018. However, the Ukraine also unifies western and eastern traditions in its people, its culture, and its religions, with an ongoing history of inter-religious welcome. Since independence in 1991 the people have continued to struggle as they develop their deep-rooted sense of self. It has been encouraging to see at the conference that despite all these troubles, Ukraine is continuing in its drive towards being a reforming society, so excellently displayed in the participation of the conference speakers as they discussed positive ways of developing a modern and effective prison system within the Ministry of Justice. We have had the unique opportunity get to know more about the Ukrainian prison reality through presentations from representatives of the justice system, both academic and practice focused.

It is recognised that you can judge a society by how well that society treats its prisoners. We recognize the efforts that many Eastern European countries have made in the past decades to develop reforms of their penitentiary systems and we are aware that these efforts often are made within difficult social, economic, political and sometimes warlike circumstances. We pray that the tense political situation in many countries of Eastern Europe does not lead to an increase in exclusive, identity-based ideologies.

Our faith also challenges our relationship with justice. Theological concepts of justice and a country’s system of justice can often seem to be quite different. Christian theology often relates concepts of justice to restoring peace, derived from the Judaeo-Christian idea of “shalom”. Shalom includes meanings of peace, but peace in a very extensive, profound, enclosing way. Shalom in the Bible is peace in justice, peace in community, satisfying the basic needs of all mankind, including the excluded. Our national justice systems need to ensure people leaving prison can find integration and welcome in the community. To see Shalom established, victims, offenders, children, the strangers, the most vulnerable and even those whom we consider our enemies deserve a justice that brings about renewed opportunities for life through the healing of the damaged imago Dei in mankind. Justice cannot be frozen in time, but is a movement, a searching for... For Justice!

As a conference, we challenge the principle that imprisonment is a successful way to solve all diverse social problems, other problem of crime in every society. We wish to encourage more programs of reconciliation in communities that are alternatives to prison instead of placing such a high emphasis on imprisonment.

As a conference, we affirm the work being done by some governments in improving prison regimes, respecting human rights and dignity. However, we also express our dissatisfaction at conditions in prisons in many countries for men, women, young people, and children, where physical and psychological abuse, including slavery, still degrade human beings.

We wish to name three developments that influence correctional systems and prison ministry:

- More than ever, increasing numbers of people are fleeing their home countries because of war, terrorism, persecution, and poverty to enter the richer countries of the world. We oppose any detention facilities for illegal immigrants, as the European Court of Human Rights has already done.

- In an increasing number of countries, people are also imprisoned because they refuse to become soldiers. We affirm that the refusal of the duty to be trained as a soldier is a human right and should not lead to imprisonment.

- We call again for an immediate moratorium on executions and the abolition of the death penalty.

Mandela Rules

We welcome the revision of the United Nations “Minimum Standard Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners”, developed with the support of NGOs with consultancy status. We ask that these rules, now called “Mandela Rules” be applied in all countries following their unanimous adoption in 2015 by all member states.

The conference has emphasized in many ways the value of and need for high-quality training for Prison Chaplains and asks that Governments, Churches and other Faith Communities support such programs. We urge all chaplains to use the support offered through IPCA and other networks for training and professional development. We encourage the development of multi-faith and ecumenical Chaplaincy Teams that are firmly rooted in their communities, both to support and challenge.

We send our prayerful greetings to our fellow Prison Chaplains throughout the world, and in conclusion, we offer thanks to God for all the blessings of this Conference. We pray that God will continue to guide and strengthen us in our ministries in prison. There is hope, and even in the darkest moments there is always a way forward as together we “learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed” (Isa 1:17). We have faith in God’s justice.



IPCA Europe
International Prison Chaplains’ Association in Europe
www.ipcaeurope.org
ipcaeurope@gmail.com

2018-04-26

The conference of the International Prison Chaplains Association began in Kyiv

First Plenary Session Photo of Pastor Vyacheslav Kohut (CEF)
On April 25, 2018, in Kyiv, led by Pastor Michael Philippi, the International Conference of the Association of Prison Chaplains of the IPCA-Europe "Faith in Justice: From Imprisonment to Society" was launched.

Head of the Pastoral Council on religious welfare in the penitentiary system of Ukraine on. Konstantin Panteley in a welcoming address to the participants of the conference presented the history of the revival of the prison chaplaincy in Ukraine and its main features. The inter-confessional palette of this ministry now consists of 13 religious organizations that joined the advisory body under the Ministry of Justice to provide the spiritual needs of both prisoners and penitentiary personnel. Official representatives of Churches and religious organizations belonging to the Pastoral Council spoke about chaplaincy in Ukraine.

With the theological introduction spoke on. Dr. Oleg Kindy, Deputy Dean for International Relations, Philosophical and Theological Faculty of the Ukrainian Catholic University, with the report "Restoring human dignity through the healing of the image of God: the theological perspective of penitentiary service." The crisis of the family and the father's face in public life, according to Fr. Oleg, is one of the causes of social pathologies related to crime.

The purpose of the conference is to look at the issue of the administration of justice and criminal penalties, the role of social institutions in achieving a lasting and just social peace and the integration of former prisoners.


During the plenary sessions, it is planned to consider issues: how pastoral care can contribute to the restoration of impaired human dignity and how to retransmit into society the consequences of the justice adopted in it.

The conference brought together about 50 participants from 16 countries of the world. Ahead of 3 days of rich work, exchange of experience and thoughts. The European Association of Prison Chaplains is an international organization with consultative status with the United Nations, which unites clergy of different religions.

Penitentiary pastoral care of the UGCC