The Head of UGCC presented the Order of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky to Cardinal Bassetti
This was reported by the Secretariat of the Head of the UGCC in Rome.
During the homily at the Holy Mass, Cardinal Bassetti thanked the Head of the UGCC for his "fraternal visit to the city where I have lived for over a year. During my service as the Archbishop of Perugia and the President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, I tried to foster a sense of belonging with you and the Church you lead." Cardinal Bassetti recalled the humanitarian cooperation between "Caritas-Kyiv" and the organization "Gomena," his visit to Ukraine in 2018, and collaboration on many projects between the Italian Church and the UGCC.
After the service, His Beatitude Sviatoslav informed the audience about the humanitarian situation in Ukraine and thanked the Italian people for their solidarity and support for Ukrainian refugees.
"Today, I have come to you to make an important gesture - by the decision of the Permanent Synod of Bishops, I have the honor to present the highest UGCC award to His Eminence Cardinal Bassetti, who will go down in the history of our Church as one of the founders of the Apostolic Exarchate for Ukrainians of the Byzantine Rite in Italy. Perhaps at that time, we did not even realize the significant role that this structure would play in the context of the war in Ukraine. Today, through it, the Mother Church opens her arms to many sons and daughters who come here from Ukraine."
The Decree of awarding the Order outlines the merits for which Cardinal Bassetti received the highest UGCC award: "For zealous pastoral service for the glory of God and the spread of God's Kingdom; for selfless assistance to persecuted Christians and poor Christian communities, promoting dialogue and peace within the 'Mediterranean Meetings' program; for great attention to the needs of Ukrainian migrants - faithful of the UGCC in Italy; for a significant contribution to the creation of the Apostolic Exarchate for Ukrainians of the Byzantine Rite in Italy; for solidarity with the Ukrainian people during the occupation war with the Russian aggressor, including the establishment of a reception center for refugees from Ukraine, the organization of humanitarian aid, and support for social initiatives of the UGCC."
On the occasion of His Beatitude Sviatoslav's visit to Citta delle Pieve, Ukrainian communities from Perugia, Foligno, and other cities in Umbria participated in the service. Later, Father Vasyl Hushuvaty, the chaplain of the Ukrainian community in Perugia, welcomed the Head of the UGCC on behalf of the Ukrainian community. The Apostolic Exarchate of the UGCC in Italy was represented by Protopresbyter Father Theodosius Gren.
Local mayors and representatives of other local authorities were also present at the service.
It should be noted that the Order of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, as the highest award of the Father and Head of the UGCC, was established by the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC in 2018, "preserving the memory of Metropolitan Andrey for the recognition of certain individuals for their exceptional merits." By a separate decree, the Head of the UGCC proclaimed the Statute on the Order of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky. The decision to award the Order is made by the Father and Head of the UGCC after obtaining the consent of the members of the Permanent Synod. The Statute states, "The Order can be awarded to individuals, public or church institutions, representatives of the Church and religious communities, as well as secular figures, including public figures who embody in their work the principles and values by which the righteous Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky lived and served the Church and the people."