А visit of the Pope to Ukraine, receiving the status of the Patriarchate, and the beatification of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky after the meeting with the Pope became closer to implementation. Such a conviction was expressed by the Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church His Beatitude Sviatoslav in an interview with the Italian edition of ACI Stampa.
“These two days (July 5-6 – Ed.) did not aim to put on the table ready-made decisions. These were the days of study, analysis, and reflection on the next steps. We expect that in the near future the fruits of these reflections will appear, i.e. concrete decisions, creation of certain structures and mechanisms that can help our Church flourish in Ukraine and in the world,” said the Head of the UGCC.
“We invited the Pope to come to Ukraine and in an informal atmosphere, when we met during the supper at the house of St. Martha, the Holy Father told me: ‘I will think about it.'”
“We told the Pope, ‘We are waiting for you in Ukraine so that you can touch on the wounds of the war and help stop them from bleeding.’ By the initiatives such as ‘Pope for Ukraine,’ Holy Father Francis wanted to relieve our suffering. However, we have the impression that we are working only to remedy the consequences of the war. And it is necessary to influence its causes. So, when the Pope arrives in Ukraine, it will be a struggle for the end of the war,” added the Head of the Church.
According to him, the theme of the Patriarchate of the UGCC during the meeting was also considered when they talked about the ecumenical dimension of the life of our Church.
“The Patriarchate is a way of existence, not an award. It is the development of mechanisms for the prosperity of our Church, because it enhances our efficiency and pastoral work. Our Church, its development and thriving are not a threat to our Orthodox brethren. We are not “against anyone”, but “for someone”. This mental revolution is not yet complete. But we need new structures. According to statistics from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, about a million of Ukrainians leave Ukraine every year, and we must provide pastoral support to these migrants,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.
All of this, in his opinion, indicates the need for the creation of a Patriarchate: the UGCC is a global Church that goes beyond the boundaries of the geographical territory.
According to His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the figure of the righteous Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky during the meeting was also touched upon. “Metropolitan Sheptytsky was the first who understood the global dimension of our Church. At the time when he headed the UGCC, it had only three eparchies in Western Ukraine, which at that time was under the authority of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Today we have 34 eparchies around the world, and this is also thanks to Metropolitan Sheptytsky, who first carried out pastoral visits to his faithful in all corners of the globe. And he did everything necessary for them to have priests and bishops. He first emphasized the needs for creating structures for migrants. We carry on what Metropolitan Sheptytsky started,” said the Head of the UGCC.
The UGCC Department for Information