Representatives of Pastoral Missionary Department of UGCC visit Baltic States

Monday, 24 October 2011, 19:27
On behalf of the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the head and executive secretary of the Pastoral Missionary Department, Bishop of Josyf (Milian) and Fr. Vasyl Potochnyak, respectively, visited Riga and Vilnius from October 18 to 21.
On behalf of the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the head and executive secretary of the Pastoral Missionary Department, Bishop of Josyf (Milian) and Fr. Vasyl Potochnyak, respectively, visited Riga and Vilnius from October 18 to 21. In Latvia live over 50 thousand Ukrainians. Several dozen civic and cultural associations are registered in the country. In Riga, there is a Ukrainian school with about 235 students. There are two Greek Catholic congregations in Riga and in Daugavpils, run by two priests and a deacon of the Latvian Greek Catholic protopresbyterate. People of different nationalities belong to these communities, so services are celebrated in Church Slavonic with a Russian sermon. Given this situation, the issue of providing pastoral care to the faithful of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church who live in Latvia was discussed at a meeting with Roman Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Riga Zbigņevs Stankevičs. Both sides acknowledged the need for additional Ukrainian pastors in Latvia to provide pastoral care to all the Ukrainians. Bishop Josyf promised to gather pastors to provide spiritual care to the faithful. The Pastoral Missionary Department representatives also met with Fr. Valerii Svylst, the spiritual guardian of Byzantine Rite Catholics in Riga. The chapel where worship is held is part of a Roman Catholic church. The representatives thanked Fr. Valerii for his service and congratulated him on his 20th anniversary of priesthood. In Lithuania live about 28 thousand Ukrainians. Through the efforts of several fathers and brothers of the Order of St. Basil the Great, Vilnius has a church community at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. According to the hegumen, Fr. Pavlo Yakhymets, OSBM, around 50-80 people come to the chapel every Sunday; on holidays even more. The clergymen also serve several other UGCC church communities in different cities of Lithuania. On the eve of his visit to the Baltics, Bishop Josyf met with the Provincial Superior of the Order of St. Basil the Great Joannicius  Chverenchuk. The possibility of Basilian monks providing pastor care in the three Baltic countries was discussed.  When in Vilnius, the representatives from the Pastoral Missionary Department shared this plan with Fr. Pavlo, who knows the situation in the Baltic countries very well because he has worked  there since 1991.

UGCC Pastoral Missionary Department

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