His Beatitude Sviatoslav named three characteristics of the UGCC to the Ambassador of Italy to Ukraine

His Beatitude Sviatoslav named three characteristics of the UGCC to the Ambassador of Italy to Ukraine - фото 1
The Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, met with the Ambassador of Italy to Ukraine, Pier Francesco Zazo, who is completing his diplomatic mission in the country. The meeting took place on June 7, 2024, at the residence of the Head of the UGCC in Kyiv.

This was reported by the Information Department of the UGCC.

During the meeting, His Beatitude Sviatoslav and Mr. Zazo discussed a number of important topics, focusing on the situation in Ukraine, the pastoral care of the Church in times of war, the ideology of the "Russian world", inter-church relations in Ukraine and the world and plans for the future.

First, the Head of the UGCC expressed gratitude to the Italian state and people for supporting Ukraine in fighting Russian aggression and providing assistance. Also, the Primate expressed gratitude for the assistance in developing the Apostolic Exarchate for Ukrainians in Italy, founded by Pope Francis 5 years ago.

Mr. Pier Francesco said that he first got acquainted with Ukraine 20 years ago and has been impressed by Ukrainians' sense of national identity and religiosity ever since.

He asked the Head of the UGCC, who "as a shepherd, witnesses Ukrainians' wounds of war," about his vision of the situation in Ukraine. "We, Ukrainians, are tired but not demotivated," said His Beatitude Sviatoslav, "Unfortunately, getting used to the war can be even more dangerous than fatigue... Although the people are tired, everyone understands that we must continue the struggle. We have no other choice."

Regarding the ideology of the "Russian world," which the Italian diplomat asked about, the Primate noted that the fact that it was created by the Church [Russian Orthodox Church] is a serious challenge to the credibility of Christian doctrine in the third millennium. His Beatitude Sviatoslav stated that the UGCC condemns this genocidal ideology and calls on other Churches and communities, including academic ones, to study and condemn it scientifically. "The sooner this ideology is condemned, the more lives will be saved," said the Head of the UGCC.

Mr. Pier Francesco Zazo asked His Beatitude about the characteristics of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The Primate named three of them:

First, the UGCC has never been a state Church, as it has always supported the national aspirations of Ukrainians.

Second, the UGCC is a global Church open to Catholic universalism. Being present all over the world, it creates communion between Ukrainians in Ukraine and the diaspora.

Thirdly, the UGCC carries out active social ministry. As a Church, we feel that we are an integral part of civil society. We teach Ukrainians to be free and responsible for their future. During the war, our service to the needy was supported by the general solidarity of the Catholic Church.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav emphasized that while being free from state influence, the UGCC can speak the truth freely, preach Christian values and have a prophetic voice.

Mr. Zazo noted that his work in Ukraine helped him better understand the difference between Ukraine and Russia. According to him, a deep sense of national identity and the value of freedom distinguishes Ukrainians from Russians. Mr. Zazo also stated that he considers sharing this knowledge with the world, particularly with Italians, "his moral duty".

At the end of the meeting, His Beatitude Sviatoslav presented the ambassador with a commemorative medal depicting the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Kyiv and a publication about Hagia Sophia in Rome, inviting him to visit.