Melkite Patriarch Gregory III Visits Ukraine

25.09.2002, 13:38
Patriarch Gregory III (Laham) of Antioch and all the East, head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, arrived in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv on 23 September 2002. Archbishop Joseph Absi and Archimandrite Eli Haddad will accompany the patriarch during his visit in Ukraine.

Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), Bishop Vasyl Medvit, exarch of Kyiv and Vyshhorod, and Fr. Oleksa Petriv, director of the UGCC Bureau for Contacts with State Authorities in Kyiv, met Patriarch Gregory III and his delegation at Boryspil Airport in Kyiv. On the same day, Patriarch Gregory III met with Mykola Novychenko, deputy head of the National Committee on Religious Matters, and Volodymyr Liubchyk, head of one of the committee’s departments. On 24 September, the delegation of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church met with the bishops of the UGCC in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. They discussed the need to establish close cooperation between the two churches and exchange experience in spiritual and pastoral services. The Melkite patriarch also visited the Church of St. Vincent of the Sisters of Mercy, where he met with the representatives of monastic orders and religious congregations. They discussed the current state of ecumenical dialogue on the territory of the Antiochian Patriarchate and the persecution of the UGCC by the totalitarian regime. On 25 September 2002, Patriarch Gregory III visited the Ukrainian Catholic University, where he met with the faculty and students. In his speech, the patriarch talked about the unity between the Melkite and Ukrainian Greek Catholic churches, as well as about the importance of eucharistic communion not only with Rome, but also with the Orthodox Church. He also spoke of the need to take part in the synods of both churches. “We need to solve the problem of uniting the Eastern Catholic churches. This is our common task,” stressed Patriarch Gregory III. According to the patriarch, his invitation for Cardinal Husar to participate in the Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in June 2003 is a step towards closer cooperation between the Melkite and Ukrainian Greek Catholic churches. On the same day, the head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church went to venerate the relics of Blessed Bishop Nicholas Charnetskyi. On 28 September, Patriarch Gregory III, together with the UGCC bishops, will go to meet a copy of the Shroud of Turin which will arrive in Ukraine from Minsk, capital of Belarus. Later that day, he will meet with the Kyivan, Moscow and Autocephalous Orthodox hierarchs. On 29 September, Patriarch Gregory III and Cardinal Husar will celebrate the Divine Liturgy in St. George’s Cathedral in Lviv. The liturgy will be celebrated in two languages, Ukrainian and Greek. On 30 September, the head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church will finish his visit to Ukraine. Source: Press service of the UGCC