“The Church must give the contemporary world an anchor and a compass,” states His Beatitude Sviatoslav to Canadian Catholic bishops

Wednesday, 03 October 2012, 13:23
On Tuesday September 25th in Saint Gabriel in Canada, His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), UGCC Father and Head addressed the Catholic bishops of Canada who gathered for their annual meeting near Montreal.

In greeting more than 70 bishops of the Catholic Church in Canada, the Church Primate described the persecution of UGCC during the Communist era.  “Our Church bore witness about Christ not only in the catacombs but also in an open opposition to the government.    Many martyrs suffered for their faith during the last century.  May their example and their witnessing inspire us all,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

“Fully embracing its identity of being Orthodox in faith and Catholic in love, we are aware of our role in allowing the Catholic Church to breathe with both its lungs, the Eastern and the Western.”

“Today we are renewing the life of our Church in a country which seems to be torn between old influences and new attempts to integrate with the broader European community,” commented His Beatitude Sviatoslav on the situation in Ukraine.

He continued, “We are acutely aware of the traps and pitfalls that stand before us.  Adapting the image given us by prophet Amos, who stated that sometimes in fleeing the lion, we encounter a bear (Am. 5,19), we recognize that for our post-communist society the intense secularization processes that come from the West, are a more subtle real spiritual danger.”  UGCC Head emphasized that the Church must find “new courage” to proclaim the truth of the Gospel to contemporary society to provide it with “an anchor and a compass.”

In his sermon, His Beatitude Sviatoslav noted that for UGCC this year is the “Year of Canada.”  This year marks the hundredth anniversary of the appointment of the first Ukrainian Catholic Bishop to Canada   in the person of Blessed Martyr Mykyta Budko.  Canada hosted this year’s UGCC Synod of Bishops.  UGCC Primate also mentioned that this April he together with members of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches, were in Ottawa when Canadian Parliament approved a declaration acknowledging the heroic deeds of Metropolitan Andrey (Sheptytsky).

In conclusion, UGCC Head thanked the Canadian bishops for their “fraternal cooperation.” “My Ukrainian brethren Bishops in Canada are very grateful to you for the support and understanding which our Church receives throughout Canada.  In other parts of the world, this is not always the case… especially in Europe.  Therefore it is very important for us to share the Canadian experience throughout the world as evidence that the presence of Eastern Churches with their traditions and structures is not a danger, but rather a richness of the Catholic Church which is united in its variety,” claimed His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

The president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Most Rev. Richard Smith, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Edmonton, thanked UGCC Head on behalf of those assembled for his visit to the Conference and assured him and UGCC faithful of the support and prayers of the bishops of Canada.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav arrived in Canada on August 29th and visited UGCC faithful of the New Westminster Eparchy.  The he went to Winnipeg where he met numerous faithful of the Winnipeg Arch eparchy.  During 9-15 September, UGCC Primate presided over the UGCC Synod of Bishops and upon its completion, visited the faithful of the Saskatoon Eparchy.

UGCC Department of Information

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