His Beatitude Sviatoslav proclaims formation of Ivano-Frankivsk Metropolitanate

Wednesday, 14 December 2011, 17:40
On December 13, 2011, the day of St. Andrew, the primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) in Ivano-Frankivsk announced the formation of the Ivano-Frankivsk Metropolitanate of the UGCC and enthroned its first metropolitan – Bishop Volodymyr (Viytyshyn). The metropolitan received powers and obligations under Canons 131-139 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. He will...
On December 13, 2011, the day of St. Andrew, the primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) in Ivano-Frankivsk announced the formation of the Ivano-Frankivsk Metropolitanate of the UGCC and enthroned its first metropolitan – Bishop Volodymyr (Viytyshyn). The metropolitan received powers and obligations under Canons 131-139 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. He will convoke the metropolitan synod and prepare useful questions on the activity of church in a particular territory to be discussed in it, will have the right to ordain and enthrone bishops in his metropolitanate, oversee that the faith and ecclesiastical discipline are accurately observed, conduct a canonical visitation, if the eparchial bishop neglected it, and also erect a metropolitan tribunal. “The UGCC is heading toward the approval of the patriarchal system and opportuneness of these efforts is recognized by the Roman Pontiff,” Patriarch Sviatoslav said in the Decree on the Proclamation of Three New Metropolitanates of the UGCC. And to further strengthen the patriarchal structure of the Church of Kyiv and Halych, the Synod of Bishops resolved to establish on land of the Kyiv and Halych Church three new metropolitanates, namely, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Ternopil-Zboriv – and raise the Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil-Zboriv eparchies to the dignity of archeparchy. These decisions are blessed and approved by Pope Benedict XVI. The decree on the proclamation also mentions the history of the UGCC, its difficult path, the legalization of the UGCC and the return of the see of UGCC head to Kyiv. Archbishop Volodymyr (Viytyshyn), Metropolitan of Ivano-Frankivsk, thanks God and Pope Benedict XVI, Patriarch Sviatoslav, and the Synod of Bishops for the creation of Ivano-Frankivsk Metropolitanate and for their trust in him. The metropolitan also gave “special thanks” to his “dearest” people who were present in the church – his father and mother. “They gave me life, a Christian upbringing, and supported my choice to become a priest in the time of the underground,” said Bishop Volodymyr. He also said that the creation of the Ivano-Frankivsk Metropolitanate was the “crowning of work of people of different generations, their vicissitudes, suffering and persecution for their commitment in serving God and His holy Church.” To the newly created Ivano-Frankivsk Metropolitanate consists of the Ivano-Frankisk Archeparchy and the Kolomyia and Chernivtsi Eparchy. The cathedral of the metropolitanate is the Cathedral of the Holy Resurrection of Christ in Ivano-Frankivsk. As we reported earlier, on November 29, 2011, the head of the UGCC Patriarch Sviatoslav raised the dignity of Lviv Archeparchy to a metropolitanate. The metropolitanate is headed by Archbishop Ihor (Vozniak). It consists of the Lviv Archeparchy, and the Sokal-Zhovkva, Sambir-Drohobych and Stryi eparchies. On December 22 the creation of Ternopil-Zboriv Metropolitanate will be proclaimed. It will include the Ternopil-Zboriv Archeparchy and the Buchach Eparchy. The cathedral of the metropolitanate will become the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ternopil, and its archbishop will be Bishop Vasyl (Semeniuk). Now the UGCC will have seven metropolitanates. In addition to the newly created ones, the other metropolitanate of the UGCC in Ukraine is the Kyiv and Halych Metropolitante, headed by His Beatitude Sviatoslav. It consists of Kyiv Archeparchy and the Donetsk-Kharkiv, Odesa-Crimea, and Lutsk exarchates. In addition, the UGCC has the Przemysl and Warsaw Metropolitanate in Poland, the Philadelphia Metropolitanate in the United States, and the Winnipeg Metropolitanate in Canada. Historical Background Since Kyivan Rus’ adopted Christianity in the Byzantine Rite, its church had the status of metropolitanate of the Constantinople Patriarchate with a See in Kyiv. The head of the church was given the title Metropolitan of Rus' (later Kyiv), with whom all the bishops of the Kyivan state concelebrated. In 1303, the Galician Metropolitanate appeared in the Galician-Volyn principality, and from 1401, the head of the Church of Kyiv received the title Metropolitan of Kyiv, Halych, and All Rus'. Metropolitan Isydor, who participated in the Ferrara-Florence unification council in 1439, bore the title of Metropolitan of Kyiv and Halych. Metropolitan Mykhailo (Rahoza), who confirmed the unification of the Kyivan Church with the Roman Apostolic See in Brest in 1596, was also Metropolitan of Kyiv, Halych and all Rus’. In view of the persecution the Uniate Kyiv-Halych Church under Tsar Peter I and Catherine II, Pope Pius VII in 1808 blessed the regular division of the Kyiv-Halych metropolitanate. The Greek Catholic eparchies of Galicia – Lviv, Przemysl and Kholm – were removed from under jurisdiction of the Uniate Metropolitan in Tsarist Russia, the Galician metropolitan was restored, and the titles of Galician Metropolitan, Archbishop of Lviv and the Bishop of Kamianets-Podilsk with the See in the Cathedral of St. George in Lviv were recognized. In this way, through the recognition of all rights and powers which belonged to the Metropolitan of Kyiv and Halych, the legal continuity of the UGCC was secured, which later gave grounds to Galician primates, in particular, Metropolitan Andrey (Sheptytsky), to regard themselves as administrators of the temporarily vacant throne of Kyiv and its episcopate, and St. Pope Pius X confirmed this right of the Galician Metropolitan in 1908. In 1939-1941 Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky appointed exarchs for pastoral care of the faithful on the lands of Great Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, and worked in trying to return the title of Metropolitan of Kyiv and Halych. Similar requests were repeated by a UGCC delegation in December 1944. Unfortunately, all these efforts led to the imprisonment of the hierarchs and started the era of martyrdom, underground activity and the heroic confrontation with the wicked totalitarian regime, which lasted almost half a century. Galician Metropolitan Josyf (Slipyj), after his release from 18 years in prisons and his arrival in Rome in 1963, was recognized as the Major Archbishop, equal to patriarch in rights based on powers that Kyivan metropolitans always had. His successor Myroslav Ivan (Lubachivsky), having returned to Lviv in 1991, began restoring structures of the Kyiv-Halych Metropolitanate, which, on the basis of historical continuity and fairness, provided for the return of its leadership in Kyiv. The return of the See of the UGCC head to the capital of Ukraine took place in 2005 under His Beatitude Lubomyr (Husar). This decision of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC was blessed by Pope John Paul II.  

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