Ukraine: Patriarch Sviatoslav believes in Unification of UGCC and OCU
The Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Patriarch Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) does not think that the unity between the UGCC and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in the long run is an utopian idea. The UGCC Primate expressed this position in the traditional Christmas interview for Channel 5, the Department of Information of the UGCC reports. “On the contrary,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav, “this is a good joyful prospect, as the entire Christian world, in particular the Catholic and Orthodox community, is looking for ways to unite. At the universal level, there is a dialogue to restore this unity. First of all, it is about Eucharistic communion.”
According to him, it is not about restoring some structures or re-subordinating one Church to another. “The highest sign of ecclesial unity is the sacrament of the Eucharist. Therefore, when it comes to finding ways to restore unity among Christians, it is about restoring unity in faith, and therefore in its expression in liturgical life. Therefore, when someone breaks this unity, he breaks the Eucharistic communion. It was the case between Moscow and Constantinople, after the decision of the Mother Church about granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” said the head of the UGCC.
Patriarch Sviatoslav noted that he had agreed with the Primate Epifaniy on cooperation. “First of all,” the Primate said, “we want to explore together the common heritage of Kyiv Christianity. For it has happened historically that the Greek-Catholic Church often fell under the influence of the West, in particular the Latin Church. The Orthodox Church fell under the influence of Moscow, that is, under the influence of this glorious or infamous Nikon reform, which is expressed in certain ritual moments ...”
The Head of the UGCC stressed that both Churches should jointly engage in the development of a theological tradition, to improve the pastoral ministry. “One thing is the union, and the other thing is unity. In many cases, we can already unite,” said the Primate.
Patriarch Sviatoslav has expressed his hope that the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which is now gaining international recognition, will join the universal movement to seek the unity of the Church of Christ. “From the Orthodox side, the Ecumenical Patriarch leads this process, and from the Catholic side – the Apostolic Capital of Rome. By the way, after all the intentions to grant autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Moscow left this ecumenical dialogue ... I think the Ukrainian Church has to actively enter into it, actively participate in this movement, and then in Ukraine we will see its real fruit. As, apparently, no one needs the universal unity of the Churches as much as we do,” said the Head of the UGCC. (Quelle: www.risu.org.ua, 8. Januar 2019)