Meeting of Eastern Catholic hierarchs of Europe begins in Lviv
On October 24, 2014, in the recollections center of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Lviv, located in Bryukhovychi near Lviv, the annual meeting of the Eastern Catholic hierarchs of Europe began, this time it is devoted to the 25th anniversary of the UGCC’s leaving underground.
In the morning, representatives of the Catholic Church in Europe from twenty countries participated in the liturgy led by His Eminence Igor (Voznyak), Archbishop and Metropolitan of Lviv of the UGCC. The sermon was delivered by Secretary of the Congregation for Eastern Churches Cyril (Vasil). He said: “We want to display through this meeting that every Christian and patriot is proud of his faith. He is working for the Kingdom of God in this life.”
The first working session was opened by Head of the UGCC His Beatitude Sviatoslav. Also a welcoming speech on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the legalization of the UGCC was delivered by Apostolic Nuncio in Ukraine, Thomas Edward Gullickson and the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Lviv in Ukraine Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki.
On the first day of the meeting three reports were heard: “The mission and role of the Eastern Catholic Churches in ecumenical dialogue: obstacle or opportunity to unite” (Bishop Dimitrios (Salakhas), Apostolic Exarch for Catholics of the Eastern rite in Greece), “The relations between the Eastern Catholic Churches and the state and the global community” (bishop Virgil (Berchea), Bishop of Oradea Mare, Romania), “From legalization of the UGCC to the revolution of dignity: The role of Churches in Ukrainian society” (bishop Borys (Gudziak), Bishop of the Diocese of St. Volodymyr the Great in Paris for Ukrainians of Byzantine Rite in France, Benelux and Switzerland).
Apostolic Exarch for Catholics of the Eastern rite in Greece Dimitrios (Salakhas) during his report said that until the unity is fully achieved, ecumenical efforts in different countries in their relations with the Orthodox Churches are the priority and irreversible identity dimension of the Eastern Catholic Churches. “The Eastern Catholic Churches are called to meet the challenges caused by dissent. These churches should be active participants in the dialogue of truth and love that the Catholic Church actively conducts with the Orthodox Churches, as well as promote various initiatives, in which Orthodox brothers could participate (e.g., aimed at defending moral principles regarding marriage and the family, acts of charity, social justice, protection of life, dignity and basic human rights, promoting peace), and pay special attention to mass emigration,” he said.
According to the speaker, “a burning desire to rise the UGCC from archiepiscopal dignity to the patriarchal Church is fully legitimate and complies with the Second Vatican Council. In anticipation of this event the UGCC is called to do everything possible in its present canonical status to better meet the demands of internal renovation and ecumenical vocation, despite all we know the difficulties and obstacles,” the Apostolic Exarch for Catholics of the Eastern rite in Greece was reported as saying by the Information Department of the UGCC.