Head of UGCC reminded of Christian identity, UGCC and Lviv Seminary

Monday, 17 October 2016, 22:36
Events that are described in today’s Gospel, the Canaanite woman addresses to Christ with the words: “have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!” That is how confession of Christian faith looks like.

Said Head and Father of UGCC His Beatitude Sviatoslav in his homily at the church of Lviv Holy Spirit Seminary during a festive Divine Liturgy on occasion of 10th anniversary of establishing new seminary in Lviv.

Together with Head of Church co-served Bishop Ihor, Metropolitan and Archbishop of Lviv, Bishop Mykhailo Koltun, Eparch of Sokal-Zhovkva, Bishop Taras Senkiv, Eparch of Stryi, and Bishops Venedykt and Volodymyr, Bishops-Auxiliaries of Lviv Archeparchy, rectors of seminaries and other priests. Among the present donators were Magda Kachmaryk from a charitable organization “Church in Need” and Joachim Sauer from CO “Renovabis”.

“Christianity is not a small sect but a universal religion”.

In God’s Word of this week is said about an event which happened beyond the territorial boundaries of Holy Land, in the region of Tyre and Sidon. The Canaanite woman came up to Christ being out of Israel’s domain.

She was asking for healing her daughter, because demon tormented her. “An important question is echoed in this story, what was rather disturbing for early Church, particularly, the one that begot Gospel from Matthew, the preacher continued. In the womb of this Church Christians were primarily of Jewish descent”.

It is question seminarians hear very often at theology lectures. What is needed to be a Christian? Can people coming from gentiles be the members of Christian Church? This question was a key to the identity of an early Church. And what exactly Christ responds, and the way this story ends, is the answer what was that Church like. 

Later Head of Church mentioned: “Church is a community of consumers of the only Body and Blood, the only Holy Spirit. Christ seems to provoke this woman, so she can make a further deeper step to faith – acknowledged her a God’s daughter. That woman is a symbol of all that people whom Christ has come to save’.

According to His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Jesus is Saviour not only of Jewish nation: “Christianity is not a small sect but a universal religion, open for everyone. God wants all people to be saved and come to the realization of truth”. Hence, a Christian believes in Christ, begotten God who dwells in the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit is a spirit of adoption which makes us sons and daughters not only of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but the Almighty as well”.

“To be a Greek Catholic one means to carry the richness of Kyiv Christianity and reveal it with different languages for different people from different cultures”.

In the light of question about an identity of the early Church His Beatitude Sviatoslav called to ask ourselves about an identity of Church of Kyiv Christianity. Called us to ask primarily what makes members of this Church “What makes us Ukrainians – Greek Catholics? Belonging to Ukrainian nation? However today, one-third of UGCC parishes in diaspora consists not of Ukrainians. That is why Catechism of UGCC is being translated for them in the languages they speak – English, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, and others. What is a sigh of identity of UGCC believer? To be a Galician? As Major Archbishop of Kyiv I must say “no”. His Beatitude Lyubomyr said in a due time an interesting thing that we ought to get rid of Galician heresy. The identity of UGCC is belief in a saving grace of our God what was reflected in the history of Kyiv Christianity and bloomed on our land and got lots of treasures from God: theological, liturgical, artistic which should be shared with the world today”, the preacher explained.

Maybe when our missioner is leaving Lviv seminary to serve in Kramatorsk, Simferopol and Melbourne, the first he thinks of is that he goes to serve Ukrainians. However, Christ broadens horizons. He says: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you”. That what it takes to be a Greek Catholic today. “On the one hand it means to carry all richness of Kyiv Christianity, know it and grow up in it. On the other hand, it is to be able to reveal it in different languages for different people from different cultures, gifting them the Spirit God gave to our suffering, crucified but resurrected and glorified Church”.

The identity of Lviv Seminary is laid in its architecture.

What is an identity of Lviv Holy Spirit Seminary? A word about Seminary is hidden in the architecture of this building. This building is a body of a dove, lecture rooms are its wings where our seminarians get their knowledge; the heart of it is a central foyer, entrance to the seminary, when church is its head. “Since Church is a center of holy thinking, a communication with God and realization of a sacrament we experience in personal, spiritual life. And seminarians live in that nimbus which surrounds the head of this dove. This architecture has a very interesting idea, because seminarians are like reflection of God’s glory, what God wants to abide in them with the Holy Spirit”, Head of UGCC explained.

He underlined that a building of the seminary has a special meaning to the whole Church which live and prays today all around the world. “This building is a memorial of harmony and inner consensus of UGCC. Seminary might never have never appeared if there is no solidarity among bishops, theologians, an agreement between seminary and UCU, monasticism and laity”, His Beatitude Sviatoslav assured.

This anniversary also demonstrates changes of generations: “Since the time I was privileged to head a rectorate there has remained only one priest – fr Volodymyr Krushelnytskiy, its constant chancellor. This day we are thanking God for those who contributed to make this monument of Church identity appears. We should note a great builder of the seminary fr Bohdan Prach, Ph.D. who is entitled as an honored rector of this seminary. He was the person who was trusted to build this seminary. And today I am thanking you as rector of UCU. I believe, the identity of Lviv seminary is to be a part of UCU”.

At this territory was also held a historical meeting of Pope John Paul II and fr Werenfried van Straaten, founder of the international Catholic association Aid to the Church in Need. Their last meeting was exactly here. Pope sanctified this land and father obtained necessary sum of money to build it. Let us thank God for them”, said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

The UGCC Department of Information

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