On January 21-24, 2020, Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary was privileged to have Yohanna Katanacho, a renown Palestinian-Israeli Christian and scholar, as a guest lecturer.
Yohanna Katanacho has authored or contributed to dozens of books in English and Arabic including "The Land of Christ: A Palestinian Cry." Also, he is an Old Testament editor for the Arabic Contemporary Commentary as well as the Asia Bible Commentary.
Yohanna came to teach UETS non-resident students a course on the Gospel of John. He also gave two open lectures attended by the general public.
A former atheist leader who grew up on the Via Dolorosa, Yohanna Katanacho’s main idea was the message of love for enemies.
For him, this means simply to follow the example of Jesus, who overcame personal, cultural, geographic, economic, religious and political barriers to approach, for example, the Samaritan woman.
Yohanna Katanacho is convinced that messianic Jews do the same when they enter illegally to the Palestinian autonomous territory to meet and encourage their Christian Palestinian brothers and sisters.
“I believe that the center of our Christian identity is love. It is love is an opportunity to pursue justice, with a right motive, not revenge. If we want to bring about political justice, but with hatred, the outcome will be negative for all sides. We can’t fight evil with evil. To advocate love means to sacrifice,” he says.
“We can’t underestimate the power of love. Love can transform not only individuals, but also societies. The early Church was the community of reconciliation. Politics of love is a worldview when we respect and honor every human being. Every human being is created into the image of God. Every human being is a gift from God to me. Every Russian, every Ukrainian, every Jew, Palestinian is a gift of God. That is what I call civilization of love. My struggle is with sin, not people.”
The experience of a love-committed Christian living in the midst of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is more than relevant for Ukrainians, who have faced an ongoing war with Russian-backed separatists in the East of Ukraine, a conflict which is now in its sixth year.