“The Synod Session on the theme of Communion in the life and testimony of the UGCC is a visible sign of your Church’s special connection with the Church of Rome and with the Bishop of Rome, the Pope.
Here in Rome, we all have the opportunity to taste the universality of our Catholic existence – because of the diversity of our traditions, but also in the unity of communion that makes us open to the whole world,” said Cardinal Angelo de Donatis, Vicar of His Holiness for the Roman Diocese while meeting with the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC. The meeting took place on September 4 within the framework of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC, which takes place in Rome on September 1-10.
“Fidelity to this communion with the successor of St. Peter was the cause of great suffering and the highest Christian testimony for the UGCC during the period of communist persecution under the Soviet rule. I remember in the 1970s and 1980s, when I was still a seminarian and later a young priest, I was deeply troubled by the news about your Church being forced to exist in catacomb conditions, giving a “silent testimony” as Metropolitan Josyf Slipyj liked to say about himself and his Church. Many confessors and martyrs of your Church in the XX century is the light that illuminates the Church in Ukraine and the Universal Church. Today I want to honor their blessed memory by bowing my head before them,” said Cardinal Angelo de Donatis.
“My connection with Ukraine and your Church was especially strengthened when the Holy Father asked me to become the Apostolic Administrator for faithful Ukrainian Catholics of the Byzantine Rite in Italy. This exarchate was created to respond to the pastoral needs of people whose number in Italy has reached a significant size – 70,000 in 145 parishes, attended by 62 priests. The Italian Church welcomed these congregations and their pastors with brotherly love and open embrace. The presence of your people reveals the spiritual and liturgical heritage of your Church, enriching the ecclesiastical life of the Italian dioceses and showing the universal dimension of the Church,” emphasized Cardinal Donatis.
He also noted that the Italian people are immigrants. What is more, the Italians know the suffering associated with emigration, and can therefore understand the suffering of Ukrainians now in Italy.
“The presence in many Italian families of Ukrainian women who care for the needy, such as the elderly or children, or who work as domestic workers, has brought our two nations closer. Thanks to such personal contacts, the Italians have learned about the suffering that Ukrainians have experienced in the past and which they are experiencing today,” added the Vicar of the Holy Father.
After the Cardinal’s speech, there was a lively dialogue on the current status and prospects of the UGCC in Italy.
At the conclusion of the meeting, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Head of the UGCC, presented Angelo de Donatis with commemorative gifts.
Photo by synod.ugcc.ua
Department of Information of the UGCC