Head of UGCC: “There was one church in the times of Prince Volodymyr”

Monday, 26 July 2010, 21:36
“There was one church in the times of Prince Volodymyr. And because of our human infirmity it exists today in four branches. But, I underline, this is one church.” Such an opinion was expressed by the head of the UGCC His Beatitude Lubomyr in an interview to the newspaper Voice of People, which is published in Chortkiv of the Ternopil region. In reply to the question about the prospects of unity of the Ukrainian branches of Orthodoxy in one national church, the head of the UGCC stated that in resolving this division, the Ukrainian situation needs to be considered, especially in the large picture...
“There was one church in the times of Prince Volodymyr. And because of our human infirmity it exists today in four branches. But, I underline, this is one church.” Such an opinion was expressed by the head of the UGCC His Beatitude Lubomyr in an interview to the newspaper Voice of People, which is published in Chortkiv of the Ternopil region. In reply to the question about the prospects of unity of the Ukrainian branches of Orthodoxy in one national church, the head of the UGCC stated that in resolving this division, the Ukrainian situation needs to be considered, especially in the large picture: “We know that there are 15 autocephalous autonomous Orthodox churches in the world of different sizes. Let’s say, Moscow’s is the largest, and there considerably smaller ones. But in our case, when we talk about one national church in Ukraine, we are calling back our history, and our history is ancient,” said His Beatitude Lubomyr.  Explaining the position, the hierarch mentioned the year 988, when Prince Volodymyr declared Christianity the religion of Kyivan Rus: “we should remember that Volodymyr at first wanted to unite the large Kyivan state with the help of paganism. He even gathered different peruns and other idols in Kyiv. But soon he discovered that the people did not want that! The time of pagans had passed!” stressed His Beatitude Lubomyr. “Grandmother Olha, a Christian, stood before him. Prince Askold stood before him. History, which arrived two thousand years stood before him, when on the territory of Ukraine Pope Clement I became a martyr.” As noted His Beatitude, “although we say ‘three Orthodox and one Greek Catholic,’ it is not correct. There is one church. Only we, people, divided it. And now we need to search a way to reach that original community. But not in such a way that we go back. We must search for our joint unity, from our roots, but must look forward: to find a common road; to find a road to each other,” said the head of the UGCC. Foreseeing a way to unity, the head of the Greek Catholics noted that “it is not easy. For various reasons. You know – the church division is in itself a tragedy. It is easily to split, but very difficultly to unite.”  As the primate marked, “some say that it is a fantasy, a utopia, to think about one church in Ukraine. I do not think so. There needs to be a strong desire for it.” In the opinion of His Beatitude Lubomyr, there is no unity, because “we can not overcome ourselves. We resist, searching for reasons for why we have to be divided… And speaking about the one Orthodox national church, even if these three branches came together, it would already be a huge step forward. But now, I believe, we have to take small steps. Slowly, slowly. Step by step. Slowly…with God’s help, not with our human forces, but by God’s help – returning to that which was at the beginning. And this is really possibly,” expressed the head of UGCC. We remind that on July 12-14 the head of UGCC His Beatitude Lubomyr was on a pastoral visit in Chortkiv where took part in celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the formation of the Buchach Eparchy of the UGCC. Also, the first meeting of the Metropolitan’s Synod of the UGCC took place in Chortkiv.

Information Department of the UGCC

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