Head of Ukrainian Catholics became a member of the Congregation for Eastern Churches
Today Pope Benedict XVI has appointed His Beatitude Svyatoslav (Shevchuk), Major Archbishop of Kyiv and Halych, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, a member of the Congregation for Eastern Churches.
The Congregation for the Oriental Churches began as part of the Congregatio de Propaganda Fide pro negotiis ritus orientalis, established by Pope Pius IX on January 6, 1862 with the Apostolic Constitution Romani Pontifices. Pope Benedict XV declared it independent on May 1, 1917 with the Motu Proprio Dei Providentis and named it Congregatio pro Ecclesia Orientali. Pope Paul VI with the Apostolic Constitution Regimini Ecclesiae Universae of Augsut 15, 1967 changed the name to Congregatio pro Ecclesiis Orientalibus.
As an institution this Dicastery received from the Supreme Pontiff the mandate to be in contact with the Oriental Catholic Churches for the sake of assisting their development, protecting their rights and also maintaining whole and entire in the one Catholic Church, alongside the liturgical, disciplinary and spiritual patrimony of the Latin Rite, the heritage of the various Oriental Christian traditions.
The work of the Cardinal members, gathered in special ordinary and plenary assemblies, is to define the most important questions, while regular issues are dealt with by H. Em. Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, assisted by the Secretary His Excellency Cyril Vasil', S.I., and by the Undersecretary Mons. Maurizio Malvestiti in collaboration with the Officials and Consultors.