Patriarch Sviatoslav: After meeting with Pope, three dreams of UGCC are closer to realization
The Pope's visit to Ukraine, the granting of the Patriarchate to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the beatification of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky became closer to realization after a recent meeting with the Pope. This belief was expressed by the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav in an interview with the Italian media outlet ACI Stampa. The text of the interview was distributed by the Information Department of the UGCC.
"These two days (5-6 July. – ed.) were not intended to present ready-made decisions, considered and taken in advance in some Dicastery. These were days of study, analysis, thinking about further steps. We expect that in the near future there will be the fruits of these reflections, concrete decisions, the creation of certain structures and mechanisms that can help our Church to prosper in Ukraine and in the world," the head of the UGCC said.
"We have publicly invited the Pope to come to Ukraine," said the Primate. We repeated our invitation in an informal atmosphere when we met with the Holy Father during dinner at the house of St. Martha. The Pope told me, "I will think about it."
"We said to the Pope, "Today we are meeting with You and You are listening to us." And many of those who want to hear you and see you cannot be present here now. We are waiting for You in Ukraine so that You can touch the wounds of the war and help stop their bleeding." With such initiatives as "Pope for Ukraine", His Holiness Father Francis wanted to ease our suffering. However, we have the impression that we are working only to rectify the consequences of the war. And it is necessary to affect its causes. Therefore, when the Pope comes to Ukraine, it will be work to end the war," the Head of the Church added.
According to him, the issue of the Patriarchy of the UGCC was also considered during the meeting when they discussed the ecumenical dimension of the life of our Church.
"Patriarchate is a way of existence, not a reward. This is the development of mechanisms for the prosperity of our Church, as it increases our efficiency and pastoral work. Our Church, its development and flourishing is not a threat to our Orthodox brothers. We are not against anybody, but for their sake. This mental revolution is not yet complete. But we need new structures. According to the statistics of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, every year a million of Ukrainians leave Ukraine, and we must provide pastoral support to these migrants," said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.
All this, in his opinion, testifies to the need for the establishment of a patriarchate: although the roots of the Church are in Ukraine, but the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is a global Church which goes beyond the borders of the geographical territory.
According to His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the righteous Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky was also touched upon during the meeting. "Metropolitan Sheptytsky was the first to understand the global dimension of our Church. At the time when he headed the UGCC, it had only three dioceses in Western Ukraine which at that time was under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Today, we have 34 dioceses around the world, and this is also thanks to Metropolitan Sheptytsky who was the first to make pastoral visits to his faithful in all corners of the globe. And he did everything necessary for them to have priests and bishops. He was the first to note the pastoral needs of creating structures for migrants. We live by the fruits of what Metropolitan Sheptytsky started," said the Head of the UGCC.