The second session of the UGCC All-Church Online Forum held
This is reported by the Secretariat of the Seventh Session of the Patriarchal Council.
"Today we have found time to be together, move along the All – church, all-Ukrainian synodal path, and bring the day closer for the VII session of the Patriarchal (All-Church) Council of the UGCC to take place," Patriarch Sviatoslav of the UGCC addressed the participants of the II session of the All-Church online forum.
"The networks of communication between us are the networks of the communion of our Church that we are called to develop. We are called to feel what a great church we are," the Primate said.
Bogdan Danylo the ruling Bishop of the Parma diocese, spoke about the current situation of the Greek Catholic family: the pros and cons of the home church, living by faith in an online format, migration processes within closed physical borders and open virtual reality. His Eminence Bogdan's report covered three aspects of the current situation of the Greek Catholic community among the challenges of our time.
Metropolitan Borys Gudziak of Philadelphia presented the pastoral letter of the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church "Hope to Which the Lord Calls Us" as a program according to which the Church will plan its ministry for the next ten years. Metropolitan Borys made a brief tour into the history of the development of the strategy of the UGCC'2020, reflected in seven points of the overall vision of the Church. This post-synodal message is also articulated at seven points, which are practically correlated with previous strategic directions, with a broader definition of the pastoral action of the UGCC.
"The topic of the Christian family, especially now, is gaining extraordinary weight – given the respectable level of secularization of the world," Metropolitan Bory stressed. "Therefore, the need for purity, openness, and transparency is growing, and this requires us – bishops, priests, and monastics – to make a great and radical pastoral conversion."
In the second part of the meeting, the main topic of the second session of the All-church forum was discussed. The first person to share his thoughts was a representative of the Lutsk Exarchate, Fr. Serhiy Vasyliv. He stressed the importance of using modern means of communication by all structures of our church. However, the negative aspect of this, according to him, is that when the quarantine restrictions subside, it becomes difficult to re-mobilize the faithful to actively participate personally in the prayer of the church directly in the temple.
Thereafter, Fr. Andriy Bukhvak, representative of the Donetsk Exarchate, presented his vision. He spoke about the modern geographical "divided" reality of the Exarchate, which today unites 72 parishes and 53 priests. This situation is painful, as it is affected by war, need and pandemics. "This reality is a big challenge. After all, it creates fear, confusion, and sometimes despair," the speaker noted. "Therefore, we decided to remain calm and be as close as possible to our faithful – through social networks, through broadcasts of divine services, and even through a regular telephone conversation."
His Beatitude Sviatoslav drew the attention of all participants of the All-Church forum to the fact that five priests of the Donetsk Exarchate today serve our faithful beyond the contact line, getting there through the territory of the Russian Federation, and called on everyone to especially remember them in prayer.
About the life of the Kharkiv Exarchate told Fr. Oleksamdr Diadia. According to him, the conditions of the pandemic have become a big challenge for the faithful of the Exarchate.
Olena Penyazeva spoke about the reality of the Odessa Exarchate. Olena spoke about the pastoral action in the Exarchate during the pandemic, which consisted in providing service to the faithful in these difficult conditions, both through broadcasting in social networks and directly in churches.
New challenges have not spared the churches in Kazakhstan, as Fr. Vasyl Hovera. "The difficult historical past of Kazakhstan is a difficult challenge for the Greek Catholics of the region," said Fr. Vasyl. – The number of believers of our church in Kazakhstan is decreasing not so much because of natural causes (the death of the older generation), but because of migration processes."
Therefore, a representative of the ordinary for Catholics of the Byzantine rite on the territory of the Russian Federation, Fr. Ivan Legu. He spoke about the difficult situation of our faithful on the territory of the Russian Federation, as they are scattered over a large territory, and there are critically not enough pastors for their servants. In general, in Russia, the priest noted, there are about 20 parishes that serve 12 priests.
Father Yuri Kolasa, who presented the vision of the faithful of the Ordinariate for Catholics of the Byzantine rite in Austria, said that in this country today there are 12 parishes serving 7 priests, and there are about 8,000 believers. "Many people have lost their jobs, the level of physical violence in their families has increased so pastors try to work with people individually, supporting them psychologically," said Fr. Yuri.
The word on behalf of the faithful of the ordinary for Catholics of the Byzantine rite in Spain was taken by Fr. Vasyl Khalak. He spoke about the difficult situation, emphasizing family values in the context of public life in Spain.
Later, the word was passed on to Fr. Ihor Posolenyk from Greece. He noted that quarantine restrictions have a significant impact on the state of parish life in our local communities, which are required to live in conditions of narrow and restrictive legislation of other countries, burdened by the circumstances of the pandemic.
Further, it was no less interesting to hear about the life of the faithful of the UGCC living in the United Arab Emirates. This was told by Fr. Stepan Lylak. He described the situation of our faithful living in this area. It turned out that a large number of them live in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and neighboring countries – Bahrain, Qatar and others.
His Beatitude Sviatoslav thanked Fr Stepan for his bravery in serving amid the difficult living conditions in the Muslim country and assured of the prayerful support of our faithful in the UAE from the entire Church.
Then the word was passed on to Fr. Roman Kikha, representative of our church in Estonia. He spoke about his ministry in Estonia, which is performed in Tallinn and Tartu, as well as in Finland, in Helsinki.
"With these two sessions of our all-church forum, we were able to answer the question of our future council: "Who are we?" and "Where are we?". As for the question of what we should do in modern conditions, taking into account all that was said at these meetings, the solution of this issue will be the main task for the next session of the Synod of our bishops," Patriarch Sviatoslav concluded.