Pope appoints new Apostolic Exarch for Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Italy
Earlier, on July 11, 2019, Pope Francis announced the creation of the Apostolic Exarchate for Ukrainian Catholics of the Byzantine Rite residing in Italy. This ecclesiastical territorial unit covers the entire territory of Italy, according to the Information Department of the UGCC.
Spiritual care of about 70 thousand believers, united in 145 communities, is provided by 60+ priests. The Cathedral Church and residence of the Apostolic Exarchate are the Parish Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus in Rome.
The beginning of the mass presence of Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Italy dates back to the end of the last century. Pastoral care was provided as part of the "Migrantes" service of the Italian Episcopal Conference through the appointment of a national coordinator, and the spiritual mentors in the communities were appointed by local diocesan bishops. Communication with the UGCC was provided through an Apostolic Visitor.
Bishop Dionysiy Lyakhovych, OSBM was born on July 2, 1946, in Pombasi, Itaiopolis, Santa Catarina state, Brazil. After entering the Basilian order of Saint Josaphat, he took eternal vows on March 30, 1970, and was ordained to the holy priesthood on December 8, 1972.
After studying at the Pontifical Institute of St. Anselm and the Pontifical Gregorian University, Fr. Dionysiy performed various pastoral services and was engaged in academic activities in his homeland, for eight years he was the rector of the seminary and Institute of Philosophy in Curitiba. In 1991, he came to Ukraine to revive the philosophical and theological studios of the Basilian Order. From 1996 to 2004, he served as Proto-Archimandrite of the Basilian Order of St. Josaphat.
On December 21, 2005, Fr. Dionysiy Lyakhovych was nominated a bishop of the Kyiv-Galician Supreme Archeparchy, and on February 26, 2006, he was consecrated as a bishop in Prudentopolis, Brazil. On January 7, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Dionysiy to the office of the Apostolic Visitator for Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Italy and Spain. After the Apostolic Exarchate for Ukrainian Catholics of the Byzantine Rite residing in Italy was proclaimed, the Apostolic Administrator appointed him a delegate with full rights.