"We ask you about three things: remembering, solidarity and prayer" — UGCC Bishop Bohdan Dziurakh at the meeting of General Secretaries of Europe's Bishops Conferences

3 July 2019, 09:46 | International relations | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

On July 1-4, 2019, the 47th annual Meeting of the General Secretaries of Europe's Bishops Conferences, which is held by the Council of the Bishops' Conferences of Europe (CCEE), is taking place in the British city of Birmingham.  Bishop Bohdan Dzyurakh, Secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church represents UGCC at this meeting.

This is reported by the press service of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC.

During the meetings, Bishop Bohdan presented the main significant events that occurred since the last meeting as well as the biggest challenges and tasks faced by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church today, calling his presentation "Being Church in Times of War".

The war in Eastern Ukraine continues to bring suffering and destruction.

First of all, Bishop Bohdan Dzyurakh reminded all those present about the war in the East of Ukraine which continues and continues to wreak death, to bring suffering and victims. "Since our last meeting last year in Crete, Ukraine still remains obscured by the shadow of the war that is ongoing in the East of the country. According to official UN data, the war has already led to 13,000 deaths, 30,000 wounded and more than 1,500,000 internally displaced persons. Every day, the Ukrainian territory is bombed by the Russian occupation forces, which causes further suffering and casualties."

He noted that among the victims of this war are 298 civilians traveling by Malaysian passenger aircraft MH17, shot down in the sky over Donbas on July 17, 2014, by the Russian system Buk, according to an official statement that has been recently made by the international Joint Investigation Team (JIT). Despite Russia's constant objections to its direct and indirect military involvement in the tragedy that has evolved in the Ukrainian East for 5 years, in November 2016 the International Criminal Court defined the war in Eastern Ukraine as "an interethnic military conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation".

The Church always stands beside the victims of war

The speaker noted the unfailing pastoral support of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which tries to be with the neediest, especially with the victims of war. "Our Church is trying to stay beside the victims of the war through its own parish structures, as well as in cooperation with charitable organizations, especially with Caritas. In order to be as close as possible to the people in need, the Church opened about 10 humanitarian and pastoral centers along the separation line. Rehabilitation centers for wounded soldiers and their families, as well as for people suffering from PTSD, are being organized across the country. At the same time, the Church is trying to support families who lost their relatives in the war. The speaker paid special attention to the role of priests in these circumstances, reporting on the service of chaplains in the army and in hospitals, as well as on the training of all clergymen to enable them to provide qualified pastoral care to victims of war.

Catholic Church and the Pope for Ukraine initiative: testimony and gratitude

In this context, the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC pointed to the value of the support that the Ukrainian people and the Catholic Church in Ukraine receive from their brothers and sisters from abroad. He recalled the charitable action of the Catholic Church, initiated by his Holiness Pope Francis and known as Pope for Ukraine, for participation in which he expressed sincere gratitude to all representatives of the Bishops' Conferences, all faithful Catholics and all people of goodwill in Europe.

At the same time, the speaker drew attention to the long-term dangers associated with military operations, in particular, the numerous explosive objects that are planted all over the Ukrainian land in the combat zone: "It should be emphasized that the territory of Donbas, where the combat action is taking place, is today one of the most mine-studded places in the world. In 2017, Ukrainian pyrotechnics, in cooperation with international organizations, cleared the then available area of 26,000 hectares, eliminating only from it about 326,000 explosive objects. We still don't know when this happens, but when the war is over, these huge minefields will remain a constant threat for decades, especially for the civilian population…"

Service to migrants

Another important area of the ministry of the UGCC is pastoral care of migrants and their families. According to Bishop Bohdan, the introduction of a visa-free regime between Ukraine and the European Union marked a significant step forward in the process of bringing Ukraine closer to the large European family. On the other hand, the war and the difficult economic situation in the country caused a new wave of emigration. In particular, the speaker noted that the countries with the highest number of job searches were Poland (about 60 % of requests), the Czech Republic (12 %) and, recently, Germany (5 %). "The situation that is called by some people not the "emigration" but "evacuation" is a huge pastoral challenge, and we are grateful for the openness and generous cooperation of the relevant Bishop's conferences," the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC concluded.

Internal political challenges and external political threats

The representative of the UGCC spoke about the current socio-political processes caused by the recent presidential and upcoming early parliamentary elections, suggesting that political instability could become an additional ground of destructive actions of the north-eastern neighbor against the independent Ukrainian state.

In this context, the return of the Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is a very disturbing signal indicating the deep crisis of European institutions, designed to protect and promote values, and not to try to "justify what cannot be justified", said the speaker, quoting the words of one of the Italian-speaking analysts. In his view, such a step of the PACE could mean the beginning of an even darker period in the history of modern Europe because Russia has almost received a carte blanche for its aggressive actions, which will not bring more peace or security to the humanity.

The upcoming meeting with Pope Francis and the Roman Curia

In the face of so many challenges and threats, representatives of the UGCC, led by His Beatitude Sviatoslav, will meet in the coming days with His Holiness Pope Francis and his closest colleagues in the Roman Curia to "exchange views on the current socio-political situation and on the ways for us to remain faithful to the gospel and our Church mission in the current times of external aggression and internal turbulence." Finally, the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC appealed to his colleagues from other European countries for further support: "We are asking you for three things: memory, solidarity and prayer."

Background information

The Council of the Bishops' Conferences of Europe (CCEE) is comprised of thirty-nine members, of which thirty-three episcopal conferences of Europe which are added to the archbishops of Luxembourg, of the Principality of Monaco, Maronite archbishops of Cyprus, the bishops of Chisinau (Moldova), the Diocese of Mukachevo and the Apostolic administration of Estonia. Together they represent the Catholic Church of the forty-five countries of the European continent.

The Presidium of the Council of Bishops' Conferences of Europe consists of the President and two Vice-Presidents elected for a five-year term. The Secretariat is led by the Secretary General who is appointed by the CCEE Plenary Assembly for a renewable five-year term, on whose submission the Deputy Secretary-General is appointed by the President. The Secretariat's office is located in St Gallen (Switzerland).

At the end of the Second Vatican Council, the Presidents of 13 Episcopal Conferences in Europe decided to explore the possibility of cooperation among themselves.

After a series of meetings, the Council of the Bishops' Conferences of Europe (CCEE) was formally established in March 1971 by the adoption of policy norms by the Congregation of bishops. Subsequently, they were changed and in 1995 the current Charter was approved, which established that the members of the CCEE are the Episcopal Conferences of Europe represented by their respective Presidents. In addition, the Charter provides for the possibility of equating bishops who represent the episcopate of regions in which no Episcopal Conference has been established (article 3, § 3).

Throughout its history, CCEE has organized numerous initiatives, including several symposia and numerous meetings on issues of great pastoral importance to Europe.

The nature and purpose of the Council of Bishop's Conferences of Europe are defined by the Charter (Article 1): "the Council of Bishop's Conferences of Europe is an Association of Bishop's Conferences of Europe, the purpose of which is to promote and protect the good of the Church."

The objectives of the CCEE include, in particular: the implementation of collegiality in the hierarchical communion of cum et sub Romano Pontefice; the implementation of closer communication and cooperation between bishops and Episcopal Conferences of Europe, with respect to the functions and competencies of each, to promote and inspire new evangelization in Europe; the promotion of communication with the Councils of Bishop's Conferences of other continents; support for ecumenical cooperation in Europe for Christian unity and Church testimony in the European society.

Система Orphus
0comments count


add comments 

    Сan leave comments only to registered visitors Еnter

    Last comments

    • bopa | 8 June 2020, 11:43

      То перераховані факти ви називаєте "фантазиями и ночными кошмарами"? Чому викладену інформацію ви "Очередная статья нижайшего интеллектуального уровня"? У вас

    • Slava43 | 4 June 2020, 13:46

      Це жодна агітація. На Буковині казали :»Мойше герехт, Сури герехт».

    • Slava43 | 4 June 2020, 13:39

      За часів союза, УПЦ підлягала моіковському патріярхату, примусово. Від незалежності УПЦ старалась отримати незалежність від Москви. Тепер, коли Україна має ТОМОС та незалежність то Лавру потрібно

    • Стефан | 2 June 2020, 15:54

      Последние события показали глубокий кризис РПЦ МП, где только отдельные редкие священнослужители твёрдо исповедуют Православную Веру, как схиигумен отец Сергий Романов, которого сейчас травят

    • Рокитне | 2 June 2020, 12:34

      Це добре було б.

    Most Popular Articles month