UGCC Head: Aspiration to pray in St Sophia of Kyiv means having access to own origins, not real estate right
For us, the Greek Catholics, it is not about the right to real estate, but two things are decisive: values and relationships. When we talk about the Cathedral of St. Sophia, we have certain Christian values, the Christian roots of the European Ukrainian civilization, and not the church, not new places for worship,” Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Patriarch Sviatoslav said in an interview with OBOZ TV.
“If we are referring to the discussion around St. Sophia Cathedral and about the possibility of worship for different Churches, I will say frankly, I do not really like this discussion. After all, it acquired a non-churchly character,” added the Head of the UGCC.
According to the spiritual leader of the Greek Catholics, the Cathedral of St. Sophia - our Kyiv Christian heritage - is a common ground where all the heirs can meet, be present. So now, this debate must turn into a revelation of our common roots.
“If we are talking about the values or Christian roots, then we want to draw attention to the fact that St Sofia is not only a church, but a certain civilization matrix of Kyivan Christianity, it is the Divine Wisdom. Therefore, you can hold St. Sophia Cathedral, and be devoid of St Sophia of Kyiv,” said the Head of the Church.
He noticed that the matter of Christian roots (European and Ukrainian civilization space) is now threatened. “Why do I say that these values are under a certain threat? For, on the one hand, we see that the ideology of the “Russian World”, which in its own way interprets the content of Christian principles in the modern state, cultural or civilizational space, wants to assign itself this type of roots. On the other hand, certain ideas about Europeanness (which, unfortunately, are already prevalent in Ukraine) are the rejection of the Christian foundation and values ... To my deep conviction, both are false statements. And when we talk about the Sophianist values, we mean the foundation, the foundation of our church, social being. We need to revive, to discover it and realize it. Unfortunately, the following opinion is often heard: whoever holds St Sophia, he holds Ukraine – this is about the tenure of St. Sophia Cathedral. I think this is a very dangerous thesis,” said the head of the Greek Catholics.
The head of the UGCC noted that the desire to pray at the St. Sophia Cathedral was an aspiration to have access to own origins: “We asked for the opportunity to attend it. Unfortunately, authorities sometimes can make decisions that are not always clear to us. Our aspiration was well-grounded. However, we respect the position of our state and Orthodox brethren. We hope that in all our considerations, communications the priority would be given to things that unite and not divide.”
In addition, His Beatitude Sviatoslav said that the UGCC wanted to show that it is also the heir to this tradition. St. Sophia Cathedral is also important for Greek Catholics. This was a good reason why the UGCC made a request on April 7 to celebrate liturgy in the cathedral.
“In my opinion, inter-church relations must be radically reborn and transformed ... We must see each other not as a competitor, but as a fellow ... It is worth noting that we had many events in St Sophia of Kyiv. The last event that we held in this cathedral is the presentation of the Galician Gospel of 1144. Moreover, I then had the honor to visit and present this gospel to Patriarch Filaret and the then head of the UAOC Metropolitan Makariy. This is not for the first time when we were present there, organized events and activities,” reminded the head of the UGCC.
This is reported by the Department of Information of the UGCC.