Head of UGCC talks about his conversation with pope
During the private audience with Pope Benedict XVI, Patriarch Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) spoke about the current challenges and objectives of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The patriarch noted that one of the main objectives is to develop the ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.
"One of the tasks is to be open and work toward ensuring that the existing ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox churches continues in Ukraine. I told the Most Holy Father that the liturgy of my enthronement in Kyiv was attended by representatives of all the Orthodox churches of Ukraine. When I came up to each of them during the singing to say the liturgical phrase 'Christ is among us,' each of them answered: 'He is and shall be.' It was a very promising indication of their openness and shows that we really have many more objectives and much more work to do in this field," the head of the UGCC told BBC in an interview.
As for the prospect of establishing a unified church in Ukraine, according to Patriarch Sviatoslav, so far it is not about forming a unified structure.
"We are now at a certain stage where we must work toward renewing our cooperation to work out urgent issues in our relations that have been inherited from our history and, subesquently, to work together for the new evangelization of Ukraine and its culture," stressed the head of UGCC.
"Our visit to the Most Holy Father was not to talk about the patriarchate or about our old aspirations regarding this or the status of our church. The aim of the visit was to show our visible and full communion with the Apostolic See," noted Patriarch Sviatoslav in the interview.
He also stressed that the UGCC will develop, "but the decision to grant the status of the patriarchate is within the capacity of the Most Holy Father. We have not and will not devote excessive attention to this. We will work."