Ivan Ohienko (Bishop Ilarion) – the Literature Specialist and Critic

Yevheniia Sokhatska, PhD, DSc, emeritus ProfTit
Kamyanets-Podilsky Ivan Ohienko National University (Ukraine)

Volume 2/2015

Publication type: research article

Pages: 137-174

Publication language: Ukrainian


The article presents an overview of literary and critical works of Bishop Ilarion (Ivan Ohienko) published in his Canadian periodical Faith and Culture (1953–1967) as well as his reviews of new books in literature studies and fiction published in continental Ukraine. Bishop Ilarion’s literary reviews and assessments can be divided into two groups: 1) assessments and commentaries of works on new Ukrainian literature studies (‘pre-October’) and 2) new (‘Soviet’). The first group includes critical reviews of scientific research works of M.D. Bernstein, M.N. Komyshachenko whose methodological foundations (Marxist-Leninist) he couldn’t accept. Many materials on the pages of Faith and Culture are dedicated to individual figures of Ukrainian literary process of the new period. Among them is his linguistic and literary research work Marko Vovchok’s language, commentaries to I. Franko’s articles which appeared in continental Ukraine to mark his centennial (1956), articles about А. Chaikovskiy, materials about Nataleta Koroleva, B-I. Antonych etc. Bishop Ilarion paid less attention to works of Ukrainian literarure scholars dedicated to works by Soviet writers. He didn’t like their Communist ideological bias. This was reflected in his assessment of works by M. Syrotiuk Ukrainian historical prose (1958), collection of papers Soviet literature studies. N1 (1959) etc. Ivan Ohienko also paid attention to works of fiction in Ukraine. He considers such works as Атестат зрілості by V. Kozachenko, Світанок над морем by J. Smolych, Данило Галицький by A. Hyzhniak to be the model of communist ideology. Different tonality and style characterize Bishop Ilarion’s literal and critical reviews of works by Ukrainian diaspora representatives. The reviews do not contain any ironical implicatures, direct criticism, ideological non-acceptance. Among highly praised works are those by P. Zajtzev Життя Тараса Шевченка (1955), J. Slavutych Іван Франко і Росія (1959) etc. Ohienko as a critic also pays attention to works by famous diaspora writers D. Humenna, I. Bahriannuj, U. Samchuk, H. Zhurba etc. Bishop Ilarion (Ivan Ohienko), who was limited within his scientific research and was denied a professor’s position, succeeded in combining his religious ministration and science. As a student and representative of historical and philological school of V. Peretz and the author of numerous philological studies, I. Ohienko symbolized the objective, free of political bias, ethical and profound criticism.

Key words: historical and philological school, free of political bias criticism, ideological position, professionalism