For the first time in Ukraine, a complete collection of documents of the Catholic-Orthodox Ecumenical dialogue was presented

26.10.2021, 13:45
For the first time in Ukraine, a complete collection of documents of the Catholic-Orthodox Ecumenical dialogue was presented - фото 1
Photo source: SFU
On October 26, the International Conference "Catholic-Orthodox documents and their reception in Ukraine" was being held in Kyiv, where the Ukrainian translation of documents of the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue is presented for discussion. The event takes place on the territory of the National Reserve "St Sofia of Kyiv" in the main hall of the museum "Metropolitan's House". The documents were developed by the official International Orthodox-Catholic Commission over the past 40 years and have now been translated into Ukrainian.

The conference is organized by the UGCC Commission on interfaith and interreligious relations together with the Open Orthodox University of St Sophia the Wisdom. It is attended by the head of the UGCC Archbishop Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), archpriest George Kovalenko, the official representative of the Joint International Commission for dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, Archimandrite Cyrill Hovorun, Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarch in Ukraine Bishop Michael of Comana (Anishchenko), archpriest Ivan Datsko, president of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies of the UCU, etc.

"The search for unity today has taken on a different meaning-it is to go against the current. We no longer live in a classical world where unity was a sign of God's perfection. Today, the world thinks differently. The search for unity is sometimes understood as a certain danger, as the loss of one's identity. Today, the word ecumenism loses the theological meaning of the search for unity. This word today loses its deep meaning, which it had 50 years ago. But the search for unity of the divided Church today is our task. "So that everyone is one" - this is the testament of our Savior," His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Head of the UGCC, addressed the conference participants.

He recalled the words of Patriarch Bartholomew during a recent visit to Ukraine. During his meeting with the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches, Patriarch Bartholomew set the dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox world as an example of inter-church and interreligious dialogue. The Ecumenical Patriarch spoke about the general desire to restore unity in the communion.

With this in mind, Patriarch Sviatoslav said: "restoring Communion is the goal of ecumenical dialogue. We need to say loudly that we consider ourselves brothers and sisters in Christ and are looking for ways to restore the lost unity among Christians. Today we present the fruits of the activities of the International Orthodox-Catholic Commission, which has accumulated the treasures of the inter-Christian ecumenical movement. The UGCC is part of that dialogue. The UGCC makes sure that the ecumenical movement becomes part of the pastoral care of our Church."

The UGCC seeks to implement the achievements of the Joint International Commission to work out the future dialogue with the Orthodox churches in Ukraine, in which the leading topics could be: mutual recognition of the Sacraments in the church, etc. The collection of documents is prepared for a wide range of readers interested in inter-church relations and ecumenism.

In the preface to the book, Chairman of the UGCC Commission on Interfaith Relations, UGCC priest Ihor Shaban noted that rapprochement between the Catholic and Orthodox churches began with the proclamation on December 7, 1965, of the Joint Declaration of the Catholic Church and the Patriarchate of Constantinople on the occasion of lifting the anathemas and personal meetings of Pope Paul VI with Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople (1964 and 1967). A little later, in 1979, Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Demetrius I announced the beginning of an official theological dialogue. This new Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church calls in equal numbers clergy and theologians from both churches. On the Orthodox side, representatives of all autocephalous churches were present.

"The first fruit of the dialogue was the elaboration and publication of a joint document, the sacrament of the church and the Eucharist in the light of the sacrament of the Holy Trinity, which was published in 1982. This joint ecumenical text has become not only an extraordinary event of historical significance but also an example of joint theological thinking, in which the interested reader will comprehend the rich spiritual experience of the Churches of Eastern and Western traditions," the preface says.

"No one can see what the future of the orthodox-Catholic dialogue will be like. Nevertheless, we know in what direction this dialogue should develop — its goal was and remains to restore full and visible unity between the Western (Catholic) and Eastern (Orthodox) Churches," the preface to the book of Ukrainian translation of documents of the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue concludes.