Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Not Ready to Change to Gregorian Calendar
The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church will not change to the Gregorian calendar in the near future because there is no background or reason for this, Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk said during a web conference at RISU.
“The introduction of the calendar historically reveals that it was not the main instrument of convergence or unity of the church. It is rather a question of internal discipline, which can contribute to unity or stand in the way,” he said.
Patriarch Sviatoslav said that part of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in some countries changed to the new calendar, but it led to the division of parishes.
“Today the UGCC lives according to the Gregorian calendar in various countries according to local needs. But we witnessed very painful calendar wars in North America. The consequences of this continue even to this day. We have cases where one parish lives on different calendars. And the poor priest with one part of the community must sing ‘Christ is Risen’ and with the other lead Easter services,” said the Primate.
“As for our church in Ukraine, we do not see the necessary prerequisites nor do we have the required consensus among our bishops, among our clergy and faithful, in order to switch to the Gregorian calendar in Ukraine,” said the head of the church.
According to him, this issue should be approached carefully. For even switching to the new calendar – when Christmas is celebrated according to the new calendar, and Easter according to the old – can lead to confusion in the church and to a split. In Greece, for example, the government introduced the new calendar, where the Orthodox Church is the state church. However, such changes generated opposition and disobedience among many believers and clergy.
“Therefore, we must take into account the local needs of our faithful so that the calendar issue, as it has been said, does not create additional religious divisions,” said Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk.