The Head of the UGCC addressed Bishop Dionysij Liakhovych: Affirm our faith and work devotedly for the salvation of souls

Wednesday, 02 December 2020, 14:54
His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, according to can. 81 and can. 86, § 2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, proclaimed Bishop Dionysij Liakhovych Exarch of the Apostolic Exarchate for Ukrainian Catholics of the Byzantine Rite living in Italy.

"According to the teachings of the Apostle of the Nations, I urge you to be blameless, hospitable, benevolent, wise, just, pious, restrained… Be a faithful member of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC and take part in it at every call of the Father and the Head of the Church,” the Decree reads.

The Primate asks the Exarch to preserve and affirm the faith and work selflessly for our faithful and the salvation of their souls.

"Together with the bishops of our Church, we ask the Lord for the graces necessary for the proper performance of your duties," His Beatitude Sviatoslav assured.

It should be recalled that on December 1, 2020, the enthronement of the first Exarch for Ukrainian Catholics of the Byzantine Rite living in Italy, Bishop Dionysij Liakhovych, took place in the Cathedral of Saints Sergius and Bacchus in Rome.

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The history of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Italy began immediately after the signing of the Brest Union in 1596, which restored the unity of the Kyivan Church with the Roman Apostolic See.

In 1626, Kyiv Metropolitan Josyf Veliamyn Rutsky sent his first procurator, the priest Mykola Novak, to Rome. In 1641, Pope Urban VIII (1623–1644) handed over the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus to the Kyiv Metropolitans by his decree.

From December 18, 1897 to 1932, the Rus’ Collegium (now the Ukrainian Pontifical Collegium of St. Josaphat the Holy Martyr) operated at this church. In 1960, it became the property of the Pontifical Latin American College, which then resold the church along with the adjacent buildings to the secular company Florio Tonelli.

After the liberation from the Siberian Gulag and his arrival in Rome in 1963, Metropolitan Josyf Slipyj immediately set to work on the return of the church complex and its restoration. In 1970, the church and adjacent buildings became the property of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church again. In the same year, thanks to the efforts of Patriarch Josyf, Cardinal Angelo Dell'Aqua formed a personal parish for Ukrainian Catholics of the Byzantine rite, "that the faithful of Christ, who come from the Ukrainian nation and live in different parts of Rome, be spiritually united and receive proper care."

At the turn of the XX-XXI centuries, when Ukrainians began to come to Italy en masse in search of work, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, sought to establish church communities in larger cities. The preconditions for such actions of the Church were quite good, since there were two Ukrainian papal collegiums in Rome. The seminarians and priests gladly supported the idea of ​​spiritual guidance of their compatriots.

On October 16, 2001, under the agreement of His Beatitude Lubomyr Husar and the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Italy, the first pastoral coordinator for Ukrainians in Italy was appointed - Fr. Vasyl Potochniak. As a result, as of January 30, 2002, thirty-two Greek Catholic communities were already operating in Italy. Every month new communities were created, new people came.

On January 14, 2003, at the request of His Beatitude Lubomyr and the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC, Pope John Paul II named Bishop Glib Lonchyna Apostolic Visitator for Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Italy.

At that time, pastors from different regions of Italy began to meet regularly for joint meetings led by the bishop. From 2005 to 2020, the number of UGCC communities in Italy reached the current number - 152.

On January 7, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Dionysij Liakhovych the Apostolic Visitator for Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Italy and Spain. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Italy has begun its path to structuring. In particular, the office of the apostolic visitator was opened in Rome.

On December 4, 2017, His Holiness Francis created the Apostolic Exarchate for Ukrainian Catholics of the Byzantine Rite living in Italy.

On October 2, 2020, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Dionysij the Apostolic Exarch for Ukrainian Catholics of the Byzantine Rite living in Italy.

 

The UGCC Department for Information,

photo by Mykhailo Kovchar


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