First of all, we want to congratulate our community of St. Sophia in the United States. I am glad that I am its member. I feel responsible for you, your work and for your future. However, I especially want to thank the “Saint Sofia” Association for restoring the Patriarchal Foundation.
It is important that we all join in the creation of patriarchal structures, because without this it will not be possible to fulfill the will of Patriarch Josyf,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Head and Father of the UGCC, at the solemn banquet in Philadelphia on Saturday, May 11, 2019.
The event was attended by representatives of the Knights of Columbus, the World Congress of Ukrainians, the Ukrainian Catholic Foundation, the Foundation of the Ukrainian Free University, the “Mother in Prayer” community, representatives of other organizations and societies as well as the clergy, laity, guests and friends of the “Saint Sofia” Association.
“Behind us – more than four decades of hard labor. Before us – new ideas, ideas, projects, challenges, perspectives and new vision. The whole Christian world – in the East and in the West – is in debt to Patriarch Josyf Slipyj,” stressed Dr Iryna Ivankovych, chairman of the St. Sophia religious society in the United States which marks the 45th anniversary of its activities.
In the opinion of His Beatitude Sviatoslav, now the most ddifficult task is left – to build patriarchate.
“I ask myself and God: what does it mean to us to fulfill our mission? When Patriarch Josyf Slipyj was released from Stalin concentration camps, he set three goals,” said the Primate. “The first task – creation of an intellectual center, in particular the Ukrainian Catholic University of St. Clement Pope in Rome, the re-establishment of the Studite monasticism and the struggle for the patriarchiate. I think if we look at that Divine wisdom, then we will see that this is a peculiar spiritual testament of Patriarch Josyf for us, his descendants.”
According to him, all questions lead us to God’s wisdom. “His Beatitude, Lyubomyr Husar, said that the patriarchate is not an end in itself, but primarily a tool for us to gather all those scattered all over the world.”
And later he added: “In order for us to successfully build a patriarchate, we need to raise our Church to a new level of its life and existence, – the level of communication, mutual respect and understanding, a shared responsibility for the fate of the Church and the people.”
In addition, in his speech, the Head of the UGCC also mentioned the current challenges in Ukraine. He believes that “we should build a patriarchate and extend our hand to the Orthodox brethren for unity.”
In the end, His Beatitude Sviatoslav said that the Patriarchal Foundation would be the foundation for completing the dreams of Patriarch Josyf Slipyj and expressed his deep gratitude for the donations that mecenats had already made for the restored fund.
On April 21, 1974, His Beatitude Josyf Slipyj, founded the Saint Sofia Society in the United States. He personally selected and appointed all the first members, led by Dr. Romana Navrotka. It was the second St Sofia Association after the parent body in Rome. Patriarch Josyf Slipy established it to support and develop such patriarchal achievements as: St. Sophia Cathedral in Rome, the UCU and its two branches (at that time in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia), the Church of the Holy Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus, and others. The Patriarch found support for his undertakings mainly among the laity.
The UGCC Department for Information