Patriarch Sviatoslav Stresses Priority of Ecumenical Dialogue

sv_01-ttt.jpgPatriarch Sviatoslav of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) stated that the priority objective and main mission for his church is the ecumenical dialogue and that cooperation with the Orthodox Church is a necessity. The head of the UGCC expressed this opinion during a plenary session of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in Rome, reported Radio Vatican.

“The main difficulty in building a fruitful dialogue with the Orthodox world in Ukraine is the fact of the painful division within Ukrainian Orthodoxy itself. In fact, there are three Orthodox communities in our country today.”

The patriarch reminded that there are still unreconciled contradictions on the ecclesiological basis as each of the churches denies the right of existence of the other two. Only the UOC-Moscow Patriarchate is viewed by the Orthodox world as a “canonical church.”

According to the hierarch, the division of the Ukrainian Orthodoxy complicates the ecumenical dialogue, but the experience of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations shows that the churches in Ukraine have learned to cooperate and settle the difficulties in a brotherly and peaceful way.

The Primate, in particular, stressed the progress in the relations between the UGCC and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate. However, he noted that the past misunderstandings can still be felt. He used the example of accusations being made by UOC-MP priests saying that Ukrainian Greek Catholics allegedly took away from them nearly 500 “Orthodox churches” in the 1990s. However, he stressed that the adherents of this theory for some reason do not take into account the fact that the mentioned churches were built by Greek Catholics and Roman Catholics and were passed to the UOC-MP only in the Soviet times.

According to Patriarch Sviatoslav, in order to plan new ways for reconciliation between the churches, to which UGCC has always been open, it is necessary to state the whole truth first.

“We are certain that we will be able find ways to heel the wounds of the past by forgiving and asking for forgiveness… We are convinced that the way of reconciliation between the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and Russian Orthodox Church on the basis of historic and pastoral realism is an effective way of renewal of the dialogue and formation of a new model of the ecumenical relations,” stressed the Head of UGCC.


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