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Ukraine: UGCC Head specified an obstacle to Ukrainian-Russian reconciliation

08. November 2017
Patriarch Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, has said that the UGCC already starts talking about the need for Ukrainian-Russian reconciliation despite the war between Ukraine and the Russian Federation and almost daily victims in the east. He pointed out that this process will be difficult, because Russia still “does not recognize Ukraine as a party” to a possible dialogue. This was reported by the Voice of America.

“Ukrainian society is not yet ready to talk about reconciliation,” said the head of the UGCC in London on Wednesday at a meeting at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, because Ukraine, according to him, “have been inflicted a lot of wounds and her pain is still growing.” The Hierarch stressed that Ukrainians still “does not see the way out and the moment when this pain - the war - will cease”.

The obstacle to dialogue as part of the reconciliation process, according to Patriarch Sviatoslav, is the fact that the Russian side does not actually recognize the existence of the Ukrainian nation and casts doubt on the Ukrainian state, history, language and Ukrainian cultural heritage. The head of the UGCC gave an example of a personal conversation with the leading representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, who considered it necessary to emphasize the meeting several years ago, because, according to “historiosophia” of the ROC, the Ukrainian Greek Catholics do not exist. “It is impossible to promote dialogue with a policy that denies the right to exist of the Ukrainian nation, Ukrainian Church and state,” said Patriarch Sviatoslav, but insisted on talking about reconciliation and forgiveness right now.

The UGCC leader stressed that the modern Ukrainian state project is peaceful and takes the European idea of peace as a model. “The war in eastern Ukraine as a result of Russian aggression is not an ethnic conflict. There is no hatred between Russians and Ukrainians. This is not a religious conflict. Ukraine is a multi-ethnic and multireligious country. It is a conflict between two projects, two visions of our future: moving forward to European principles, or in the past, “in which, in the opinion of Patriarch Sviatoslav, Ukrainians were promised only the subordination of a person to the Moscow superpower and full assimilation into the “Russian world.” According to him, Ukrainian soldiers in Donbas are convinced that they protect the European civilization and the right of Ukraine to participate in the “European project of peace”.

The head of the UGCC pointed to the example of the historic reconciliation between Poland and Germany, an important step in which was a joint letter by the Polish and German religious leaders under the slogan “We forgive and ask forgiveness”.
According to the hierarch, the dialogue for the healing of historical wounds between Ukraine and Poland has not yet been completed, but it has been much more productive because, in contrast to Russia, the Polish side recognizes the Ukrainian one.
The UGCC supports European aspirations, said the Primate, because the project of modern Europe is a project of peace, and most of the values and principles of the EU are universal values that the Church also promotes. (Quelle:, 27. Oktober 2017)