UGKTs HEAD HOPES THAT POPE FRANCIS "BECOMES THE VOICE OF UKRAINIANS" IN MEETING WITH PATRIARCH KIRILL
RISU, 7 February 2016
"I do not expect that the meeting of Pope Francis with Patriarch Kirill, scheduled for 12 February, will bring any special changes. Although it is good that the meeting will be held and I am happy that finally there is understanding on the part of the Russian Orthodox Church [RPTs] of the necessity of meeting."
This is the way His Beatitude Sviatoslav head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church [UGKTs], commented on the report of the meeting of Pope Francis with Patriarch Kirill, which is scheduled for 12 February of this year and will be held in Cuba.
The head of the UGKTs noted that in the course of many years, the RPTs has rejected such a meeting and called the UGKTs the obstacle to dialogue. "The meeting should not be an end in itself but an instrument, the necessary means for honest and open dialogue. So that I am happy the we are not now considered an obstacle and we are not being used as an excuse for their not wishing to conduct such a dialogue," the primate of the UGKTs said.
He emphasized that the meeting of the two primates will be held virtually on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the false council of Lvov, at which the UGKTs was liquidated by force. "Unfortunately, the Russian Orthodox Church has still not condemned the committing of this violent act that was done by the soviet regime. We hope that the meeting of the pope and patriarch will create a new context for movement in the direction of historical justice," His Beatitude Sviatoslav said.
The head of the UGKTs also hopes that the very fact of the meeting will change the rhetoric of several radical persons on the part of the RPTs who do not recognize the Catholic Church as valid and who rebaptize Catholics and coerce them into Orthodoxy and do not participate in joint prayers and generally call the whole process of a search for the unity of the churches the "heresy of ecumenism." We saw an example of such intolerance toward the UGKTs last week in Donetsk, where during a rally at the walls of a Greek Catholic church we were called a "sect." [see "Ukrainian Christians quarrel among themselves about war" January 29, 2016]
"It is likely that during the meeting of the pope and patriarch they will talk about the contemporary situation in Ukraine. I hope that Holy Father Francis, who always has raised his voice in defense of the offended, will be the voice of Ukrainians who are conducting their struggle for the unity and conciliarity of their country. Would to God that Patriarch Kirill in the end will give the necessary messages to the faithful of the RPTs and the Russian authorities so that Russia's aggression against the Ukraine will be stopped as quickly as possible and a just peace will emerge," His Beatitude Sviatoslav, head of the UGKTs, noted in conclusion. This was reported by the Department of Information of the UGKTs. (tr. by PDS, posted 9 February 2016)
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