Pavlo Smytsnyuk

Mary Seeger O’Boyle Postdoctoral Fellow and Department of Religion

  • Degree
    Ph.D., Theology, University of Oxford, 2019
    Dissertation
    Religion and Nation: An Exercise in Comparative Political Theology with Special Reference to Christos Yannaras and Sri Aurobindo
    Research Project
    The Category of Religion as an Instrument of Liberation from Colonialism: Greece and India
Contact Info

Pavlo Smytsnyuk specializes in political theology and religious nationalism in modern Orthodoxy and neo-Hinduism. In particular, he is interested in how the dichotomy between the religious and political manifests itself outside of the Western context. His research explores how non-Western, especially Orthodox, traditions deal creatively with the category of religion (as separated from the political), and how holistic theological-political narratives make space for violence. From 2019-2022, Pavlo was the Director of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies and a Senior Lecturer at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine. He has spearheaded several internationally-collaborative projects, secured research grants, and designed a range of courses at the intersection between theology, politics and ethics. Pavlo studied philosophy and theology in Rome, Athens and St Petersburg, and holds a Doctorate from Oxford.

About the Research Project

The Category of Religion as an Instrument of Liberation from Colonialism: Greece and India

Pavlo’s book project, The Category of Religion as an Instrument of Liberation from Colonialism: Greece and India, approaches Christos Yannaras, a prominent modern Greek Orthodox thinker, through a postcolonial lens, and, more specifically, through a comparison with the Hindu nationalist and mystic Sri Aurobindo. Pavlo points out how Yannaras challenges modernity’s secular paradigm, and serves as a ‘test case,’ wherein both modern and anti-modern paradigms coexist in tension. Pavlo argues that defending a particular tradition in an asymmetrically Westernized world, occasionally leads to imagining a given tradition in a selective, homogenous, and idealistic way. Taking Yannaras’ approach to the Greek Classical tradition as an example, the project demonstrates how engaging polemically with Western Christianity, can lead to ‘forgetting’ parts of one’s own heritage, and to nostalgia for a history that never was.

Current Roles

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow