Bishops of the Permanent Synod attended a conference with monastic orders of the Kyiv Archeparchy

Tuesday, 19 February 2013, 10:16
On February 15th after a celebratory Divine Liturgy to mark the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, a conference took place during which UGCC Head His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) and members of the Permanent Synod of Bishops met with representatives of Greek-Catholic monastic orders of the Kyiv Archeparchy.

On February 15th after a celebratory Divine Liturgy to mark the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, a conference took place during which UGCC Head His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) and members of the Permanent Synod of Bishops met with representatives of Greek-Catholic monastic orders of  the Kyiv Archeparchy.

Father Superior Vasyl Tuchapets, head of the Kyiv Archeparchy Commission on Matters of Monasticism, briefly presented all male and female monastic congregations serving the Kyiv Archeparchy:  brothers – Basilian, Studite, Redemptorist, Incarnate Word; sisters -- Basilian, Holy Family, Myrrh-bearers, Redemptorist.

Then the religious persons themselves reported on their activities in the last years. In addition to their main task of praying, they also are involved in catechization, evangelization, charity work, support of prisoners and military, the rehabilitation of former prisoners, alcohol and drug dependent individuals.  Their main “outside task” is the on-going development of monasticism, in spite of the small number of people as well as scant material resources.  However, there is both heightened interest and friendliness towards them among the general population of Central Ukraine.

“Walking in a monastic garb in these areas always generates interest and questions among the local people who have gotten unused to seeing such during the soviet times,” said one of the nuns.  “And then, even in public transportation, by describing Greek-Catholic monasticism, you are already catechizing.  Many are interested and even comment, “You are not the kind of nuns we had been used to -- you are open and go to the people.”

In his presentation His Beatitude Sviatoslav also touched on this topic:  “Today when we are experiencing the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus, I ask all of you to scoop from the deep traditions of Kyiv monasticism.  We still do not know well enough this heritage, especially the heritage of the Uniate Church; therefore, it means that we have more to learn.  I am grateful to you, that you are here, on the grounds of Kyiv.  To be a real monk here is a feat in itself.  I urge you not only to remain here but also to grow here.  I know how hard it is sometimes to convince the monastic superiors in Halychyna (Western Ukraine) how important our services are in this part of Ukraine.  But they need to be reminded of this – it is necessary to bring all the provincial homes of monasteries from Lviv to Kyiv.

He also urged the monastic orders to be particularly diligent in social services,       “I ask you to remember in a special way those people who seem to be discarded by society, those who are unprotected and in need.  In our country in front of our eyes impoverishment is increasing, social problems remain unresolved, tension is rising -- we do not have the right to ignore these.  We have to speak up and enlighten the darkness.  I know that you do a large amount of this work, even without my encouragement, but I am still convinced that we are only beginning to develop this work in earnest.  And therefore you are that good seed which has been planted in the hearty black soil of Central Ukraine.”

Possibilities of opening a Catholic school in Kyiv were also discussed.  For this purpose, a community organization has already been created (in Ukraine, a church may not be the founder of a school); now the issues are location and accreditation.  There were also ideas voiced about what should exist in Kyiv, such as, a monastery of a contemplative order, kindergartens about which parents continually ask, involvement of Greek-Catholic monastic orders in hospice care of the elderly. Interest in collaborating in such areas has been expressed by Brovar local administration and doctors in the field.

At the end, the bishops asked the monks about building new churches in Chernihv and Zhytomyr and about the expansion of the Greek-Catholic monastery in Uman.  In fact, in the latter city there is an inconsolable situation, wherein the former chapel of a historic 18th century Basilian monastery presently houses a tavern.

UGCC Department of Information

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