Patriarch Sviatoslav hopes to rid 'phantom pains of the past' in relations with Moscow Patriarchate
“I think we should not poison our relations today with the phantom pains of the past," head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), Patriarch Sviatoslav, said in an interview to Focus magazine in response to a question about relations with the Moscow Patriarchate.
According to the head of the UGCC, our churches have had many wounds inflicted in the past: “I read about phantom pains felt by someone who lost his arm. It is a psychological illusion,” noted Patriarch Sviatoslav.
“I am convinced that we will be able to heal the wounds when we heal our memory with mutual forgiveness. We are now ready for it and, moreover, our faithful demand it. We, as the pastors, should hear the voice of the people, which is the voice of God,” said the head of the UGCC.
In answer to the question of what he would like to discuss with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, the head of UGCC noted that the very fact of such a meeting will be a manifest of the mutual recognition and will establish a dialogue. “The Moscow Patriarch showed that he is ready for it. This is indicated by the presence of Bishop Ilarii (Editor: Bishop of Makariv, Vicar of the Kyivan Metroplitanate, Rector of the Catechization and Regent Spiritual School and the Iconography School of the Kyivan Eparchy of UOC) at my enthronement, the greeting of Metropolitan Volodymyr and his invitation to a meeting,” said Patriarch Sviatoslav.
In answer to the question in what way the hierarch is going to build relations with the authorities, in view of the fact that the president and his entourage favor the Moscow Patriarchate, the patriarch responded that it will be a constructive dialogue regardless of the fact which church the president and his ministers attend. According to the hierarch, there are more serious challenges in Ukraine today.
“For instance, all the churches are in a great danger to become political parties,” noted the patriarch, referring to the words of his spiritual mentor who said back at the time of the underground church that if the church becomes a political party, it will take the side of Herod or Pilate whereas it should be on the side of the Crucified One.
- “It has become a guideline to me. I believe that the church can be neither pro-regime nor in opposition; it should unite people,” said Patriarch Sviatoslav in the interview, the Information Department of the UGCC reports.