«I do not expect that much will change» - His Beatitude Sviatoslav on the Meeting of Pope Francis with Patriarch Kirill

Saturday, 06 February 2016, 11:56
“I do not expect that the meeting of Pope Francis with Patriarch Kirill, planned for February 12, will bring any particular changes. Although it is good that the meeting will take place and I am happy that finally there is an understanding on the part of the ROC {Russian Orthodox Church} that meetings are necessary,” remarked His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, on the announcement of the meeting of Pope Francis with Patriarch Kirill in Cuba.

The Head of the UGCC noted that for many years the ROC refused to participate in such a meeting and named the UGCC as an obstacle for dialogue. “The meeting cannot be an end in itself, but must rather be an instrument, a necessary means for honest and open dialogue. I am, therefore, pleased, that we are no longer considered an obstacle and aren’t being used to justify one’s unwillingness to engage in such dialogue,” said the Primate of the UGCC.

He emphasized that the meeting between the two primates will take place practically days before70th the anniversary of the Lviv Pseudo-sobor, during which the UGCC was forcibly liquidated. “The Russian Orthodox Church, unfortunately, to this day has not condemned this act of coercion, perpetrated by the Soviet authorities. We hope that the meeting of the Pope and the Patriarch will create a new context for movement in the direction of historical justice,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

The Head of the UGCC also hopes that the very meeting will change the rhetoric on the part of radical individuals within the ROC, who do not recognize the Catholic Church as a true Church, re-baptize Catholics and proselytize into Orthodoxy, refuse to take part in joint prayer, and on the whole describe the entire process of seeking unity of the Churches as “the heresy of ecumenism.” An example of such intolerance towards the UGCC was given last week in Donestsk, where during a meeting held outside the walls of a Greek-Catholic church, we were referred to as “a sect.”

“It is likely that during the meeting of the Pope with the Patriarch they will also speak of the present situation in Ukraine. I hope that His Holiness, Pope Francis, who always raises his voice in defense of the wronged, will be a voice for Ukrainians, who are engaged in a battle for the unity and integrity of their land. May God grant, that Patriarch Kirill ultimately be able to send the necessary signals to the faithful of the ROC and the Russian government, so that the aggression of Russia against Ukraine can cease and that a just peace may be achieved,” concluded His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Head of the UGCC.

UGCC Department of Information

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