Head of the UGCC: Innsbruck has become a bridge over the river of maturity

Sunday, 10 November 2019, 08:09
Over the years, two hundred students of our Church from Western Ukraine have studied here. We can say that the city of Innsbruck has become a bridge over the river of maturity. On November 8, 2019, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, said this in his speech at the Theological Faculty of Innsbruck University, marking the 120th anniversary of the presence of Ukrainian students of theology and the Ukrainian community in Innsbruck (Tirol, Austria).

The Primate noted that he had come to Innsbruck to express his sincere gratitude on behalf of the entire Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine and throughout the world. "To thank this theological faculty, to thank the communities of the Jesuit Fathers and the Fathers Redemptorists for having raised  generations of our Church leaders here, in this city, near the bridge across the Inn river," said His Beatitude.

The Head of the UGCC mentioned several of them. Three graduates of this theological faculty gave away their lives for Christ and are today proclaimed priests of our Church. This is the Holy Martyr Nykyta Budka, who was the first bishop for Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Canada; Fr. Andriy Ishchak who was a teacher at Lviv Theological Academy; and a brother of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, blessed priest Klymentiy Sheptytsky, whose 150th birthday we are celebrating this year.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav also recalled that two of his great predecessors, Patriarch Josyf Slipyj and Cardinal Myroslav Ivan Liubachivsky, had studied here. Patriarch Josyf Slipyj here defended his two dissertations. The first one was called "The Concept of Eternal Life in the Gospel of John," and the other was "The Doctrine of Byzantine Patriarch Photius on the Holy Trinity."

The Primate noted that Innsbruck is not only a past for the UGCC and the Ukrainian people, it is our present and our future. There are two young bishops at the UGCC who are also the fruits of the Innsbruck academic world and who are taking part in the celebrations. These are Bishops Volodymyr Hrutsa, Assistant Bishop of the Archeparchy of Lviv, and Petro Loza, Assistant Bishop of the Eparchy of Sokal-Zhovkva.

“I want to end my speech with the impression that I experienced yesterday at the airport during a meeting with our Ukrainian community. A little boy presented me with a warm scarf and cap and said, "Wishing you a very warm welcome here, among us." And I recalled the phrase: "Truth comes out from the children's mouth," said the Head of the UGCC. "May the warmth of the Holy Spirit attract and help to raise here, among you, the Europeans of the third millennium," said His Beatitude.

The UGCC Department for Information

*** The Head of the UGCC has arrived in Tyrol to mark the 120th anniversary of the presence of Ukrainian students of theology and the Ukrainian community in Innsbruck. Traditionally, the best Greek-Catholic theologians have been deepening their knowledge in one of the leading centers of European theological thought, which was and still is the Innsbruck University of Leopold-Franz. Around the students of theology the Ukrainian community was gradually formed. On November 8-10, on the occasion of the anniversary, large-scale celebrations are taking place. Their program includes a solemn academy at the Faculty of Theology of Innsbruck University, Divine Liturgy in German at Innsbruck Cathedral, and in Ukrainian - in the former premises of the Jesuit Collegium Canisianum.

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