Ukrainian Greek Catholics promote their relevance


RISU, 17 September 2019


On 16 September in the Vatican, a meeting was held between the head of the UGKTs [Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church] Sviatoslav and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. The meeting occurred in the House of Saint Martha, where the Holy Father Francis resides, the secretariat of the head of the UGKTs in Rome reports.


The ecumenical patriarch arrived in the Vatican on an official visit. The next day he met with Patriarch Sviatoslav, in order to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the ecumenical relations between the UGKTs and the PTsU [Orthodox Church of Ukraine].


The meeting began with an exchange of gifts: the head of the UGKTs presented the patriarch a facsimile edition of the Galician Gospel of 1144, the oldest of the precisely dated Slavic manuscripts of the New Testament. Patriarch Bartholomew, in his turn, presented His Beatitude Sviatoslav a publication about the residence of the Constantinople patriarchate and a historical stamp issued in honor of the visit by the Holy Father Benedict XVI to Constantinople in 2006.


During conversation with His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, Patriarch Sviatoslav expressed the hope and wish that "with the granting of autocephaly, ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine will rise to a qualitatively new level. It is with this historic moment of the proclamation of autocephaly for the PTsU that for the UGKTs the main interlocutor in ecumenical dialogue becomes not the Russian Orthodox Church but the local Orthodox Church in Ukraine."


His Beatitude Sviatoslav, summing up the meeting of the eastern Catholic hierarchs of Europe, which occurred on 12 to 14 September in Rome, noted: "The Eastern Catholic Churches are making their own theological contribution to the tradition of the Catholic church itself, helping it to express more fully its ecumenical dimension. The catholicism of the church cannot be limited just to its Latin tradition."


Regarding the ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox church, the eastern Catholic churches propose new elements in the understanding of the primacy of the bishop of Rome and synodality." At the same time, "the eastern Catholic churches," His Beatitude Sviatoslav stressed during conversation with Patriarch Bartholomew, "propose for the Roman Catholic Church new forms of performing the ministry of St. Peter."


The head of the UGKTs also proposed to Patriarch Bartholomew the creation of a joint commission between the Orthodox church and the Eastern Catholic churches in order "to provide new forms of ecumenical dialogue."


The patriarch of Constantinople explained to His Beatitude Sviatoslav his steps in the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, and praised the openness of the UGKTs to ecumenical communication. He recalled that "this is now our second meeting, and I am glad that the children of the Kievan church remember that their Mother Church is the church of ancient Constantinople.


We add that the meeting was held on the initiative of the primate of the UGKTs in the context of an official visit of His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew to the Vatican, organized by the papal council on affairs of the unity of Christians. (tr. by PDS, posted 17 September 2019)

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