Ukrainian church leaders meet with Pope Francis


RISU, 10 July 2019


The pope visiting Ukraine, granting the UGKTs a patriarchate, and the beatification of Metropolitan Andrei Sheptitsky have come close to realizations after the meeting with the pope. Such conviction was expressed by the father and head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (UGKTs), His Beatitude Sviatoslav, in an interview with the Italian publication ACI Stampa. The text of the interview was distributed by the Department of Information of the UGKTs.


"These two days (5-6 July—ed.) did not have the goal of placing on the table prepared decisions, considered and adopted beforehand in some dicastery. These were days for study, analysis, and reflection of subsequent steps. We expect that in the near future the fruits of these reflections, concrete decisions, and the creation of certain structures and mechanisms will appear, which will be able to help our church to flourish in Ukraine and in the world," the head of the UGKTs said.


The primate explained, "We have publicly invited the pope to come to Ukraine. We repeated our invitation and in the unofficial atmosphere when we met with the Holy Father during dinner in the house of St. Martha, the pope said to me: 'I will think about it.'"


"We said to the pope: 'Today we are meeting with you and you are listening to us. But many are not able to be here, although they want to hear and see you. We await you in Ukraine, so that you will be able to touch the wounds of war and help bring an end to bloodshed.' By such initiatives as 'The Pope for Ukraine,' Holy Father Francis wants to alleviate our sufferings. However we got the impression that we are working only in order to fix the consequences of war. But it is necessary to affect its causes. Therefore when the pope comes to Ukraine, this will be work on the ending of war," the head of the church added.


He said that the topic of the patriarchate of the UGKTs also was considered during the meeting, when they talked about the ecumenical dimension of the life of our church.


"A patriarchate is a means of existing and not a reward. It is the working out of mechanisms for the flourishing of our church, since it will elevate our effectiveness and pastoral work. Our church and its development and flourishing are not a threat for our Orthodox brethren. We are not 'against somebody,' but 'for somebody.' This mental revolution has still not been accomplished. But we need new structures. According to statistics of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, every year millions of Ukrainians emigrate from Ukraine and we must guarantee pastoral support for these migrants," His Beatitude Sviatoslav said.


He is convinced that all of this points to the necessity of creation of a patriarchate; although the roots of the church are in Ukraine, the UGKTs is a global church, which transcends the borders of geographical territory.


His Beatitude Sviatoslav said the personality of the righteous Metropolitan Andrei Sheptitsky was also touched upon during the meeting. "Metropolitan Sheptitsky was the first to understand the global dimension of our church. At the time when he headed the UGKTs, it had only three dioceses in western Ukraine, which at the time was under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Today we have 34 dioceses throughout the world, and this also is thanks to Metropolitan Sheptitsky, who was the first to make pastoral visits to its faithful in all corners of the terrestrial sphere. And he did everything necessary so that they would have priests and bishops. He was the first to notice the pastoral requirement of the creation of a structure for migrants. We live by the fruits of what Metropolitan Sheptitsky began," the head of the UGKTs explained. (tr. by PDS, posted 11 July 2019)

Russia Religion News Current News Items

Editorial disclaimer: RRN does not intend to certify the accuracy of information presented in articles. RRN simply intends to certify the accuracy of the English translation of the contents of the articles as they appeared in news media of countries of the former USSR.

If material is quoted, please give credit to the publication from which it came. It is not necessary to credit this Web page. If material is transmitted electronically, please include reference to the URL,