Fr. Ivan Dankevych: In central Ukraine UGCC goes to those who need it
The site Orthodoxy in Ukraine on June 15 released material in which the deputy head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), Fr. Mykolai Danylevych, accused Greek Catholics in concealing their religious identity during the establishment of new parishes in the Khmelnytsky region and proselytism in central and eastern regions of Ukraine. RISU turned to the dean of the Khmelnytsky deanery of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, mitered archpriest Ivan Dankevych, to comment on what the UOC-MP priest said.
“I was surprised by Deputy Head of the Department for External Church Relations archpriest Mykolai Danylevych’s comment on the activities of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the Khmelnytsky region. Moreover, to date we have had a stable and friendly interdenominational situation, and such statements are a clear desire to ‘roll the dice’ and make trouble in the religious situation in our region. First of all, I want to refute the statements regarding our presence in the central regions of Ukraine, especially in the Khmelnytsky region, as before the third Partition of Poland in 1795, a well-developed network of Greek Catholic parishes existed there. And its elimination often took place through the repressive machinery of the Russian Empire. To preserve the peace and tranquility, we have never raised the issue of returning our church shrines, which according to historical information were built by Greek Catholics.”
Today's situation, according to Fr. Ivan, also does not completely correspond to what Fr. Mykolai Danylevych says.
“I regret that he has such a distorted picture. First of all, we never hid the fact that we are faithful of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. We never came out of ‘nowhere’ to any place in the Khmelnytsky region, we come to where there are faithful of our church and where our church has existed for centuries. If Father Mykolai spoke about specific localities, then it is necessary to confirm this information, as it is unjustified for such a good person to use such general terms and rumors,” said the priest.
Regarding accusations by Fr. Danylevych the “paper” community of the UGCC, as stressed Fr. Ivan Dankevych, according to the Office of Religious Affairs of the Khmelnytsky Oblast State Administration, from the beginning of 2012 to the present day not a single UGCC parish is registered in the Khmelnitsky region.
“For the establishment of a community we always have all the appropriate grounds. All registrations take place according to the current law: a protocol meeting, a list of persons who wish to create a religious community, a formal appeal to the authorities. All these documents are written in black and white about the creation of a religious community of the faithful of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church,” says Fr. Dankevych.