Head of the UGCC makes a first visit to Poltava

7 April 2017, 16:11 | UGCC | view photo | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

On the feast of the Annunciation, April 7, Patriarch Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), the Head of the UGCC, visited Poltava. The purpose of his visit was to bless a land plot for a new church and meet with the faithful.

Глава УГКЦ на Полтавщині

Patriarch's visit began with a Divine Liturgy that was held in the Holy Trinity Church. This is the first temple of the UGCC, which was built in Poltava. The believers came for worship from all over the Poltava region.

“It is symbolical that we have good news right on the Annunciation – we bless the site of the future church in Poltava. It is, indeed, an extraordinary event, especially when we remember how complicated was the background to the story of the day. The Greek Catholics of Poltava faced difficulties in achieving the truth and getting a land plot for construction,” Patriarch Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) of the UGCC said to reporters. “And the city will soon get a new religious building, which will become its decoration. It will be executed in the Ukrainian Baroque style and will have an elegant appearance, and no doubt that will be a real center of spiritual and cultural life.”

That would be the second church of the UGCC in the city. The community was registered in 2012 with the parish priest Volodymyr Rakovetskyy. The first community was registered in Poltava in 2002.

“We have now hundreds of faithful in Poltava. The temple of the Holy Trinity is small in size, it is located outside the city, it is not easy to reach for everyone. Therefore, for a very long time there has been the need for large and conveniently located premises,” the Patriarch said. “Now it is difficult to say how long the construction may take. This will depend on many factors, but we hope that in a few years we will already hold God's service in the Church of All Saints of the Ukrainian people. That is how our Church, the UGCC, gradually expands the boundaries inside the country.”

“For us, Greek Catholics, the church is first of all the people, when a community is like one family, when we share both joy and sadness, together overcome difficulties and obstacles. These are fundamental things. But the fact that soon we will have another church is good news,” said Father Maxym Krolevskyy, priest of the Greek Catholic community in Poltava.

According to RISU correspondent in Poltava region, the first parish of the UGCC emerged in 1998. The desire to create one was expressed by villagers of Bilyky village, Kobelyatsky area. The newly created community of St. Elijah was led by Father Yuriy Krolevskyy, who also served in Dneprodzerzhynsk (now Kamianske).

Later the communities of the UGCC were registered in the village of Demenko, Kobelyatsky district, in the city of Kobeliaky, the village of Pryharivka in Kozelsk region, the cities of Kremenchug and Komsomolsk and further in Poltava. For a long time, the worship in the regional center was carried out in rented premises (an old shed) in the city center.

In 2005, Father Yuriy first asked the City Council to provide a land plot for the construction of the church and met fierce resistance of the former regime.

In 2007, Father Yuriy again requested the allocation of a land plot between two sleeping areas of our city. The construction not only of the church was planned, but also of several buildings, including an orphanage, a dining room for the poor and the house of mercy. Then again Greek Catholics were turned down, with a reference to the opinion of architects, which alleged that “under existing regulations, the monastery temple complex was recommended to locate in the suburbs.”

In March 2010, a much-spoken article “Construction of the temple of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Poltava is a challenge to Ukrainian Orthodoxy”. It was signed by a City Council member from the Communist Party.

Until 2012 inclusive the issue of land plot was continuously raised at the sessions of the Poltava City Council.

In 2013, on the outskirts of Poltava, the community acquired the land at its own expense and the same year the temple of the Holy Trinity was built and consecrated. Today the community of the Holy Trinity in Poltava is the largest community of the UGCC in Poltava region (about 150 people). The average age of the parishioners is 25-30 years.

Father Yuriy is the administrator of Greek Catholic communities in Poltava region. From 2007 to 2011, he headed the Poltava deanery of the Donetsk-Kharkiv Exarchate of the UGCC.

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