The Head of the UGCC: "Twenty years of existence of the Greek Catholic community in Zhytomyr - is twenty years of struggle for the right to be here"

Tuesday, 17 January 2017, 11:03
Celebrating the patronal feast of the parish of St. Basil the Great in Zhytomyr, we thank God for the twenty years of returning to these lands of the UGCC. Our Church is an integral part of the history of the Ukrainian Church in Zhytomyr land, which was glorious and tragic at the same time.

Said the Head and Father of the UGCC on January 15, on Sunday before the Feast of Lights, in his homily during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in Zhytomyr. The Metropolitan Izyaslav, Archbishop of Zhytomyr and Ovruch (UOC-KP) also took part in the Mass. 

All these efforts, according to the words of the Head of the Church, are preparing the human heart and land for the new era of revival of the UGCC in Zhytomyr : "We thank everyone who, like the Baptist, felt the calling to turn the desert into a blooming spiritual garden. We thank those people who had courage to confess that they were Greek Catholic." His Beatitude Sviatoslav thanked the priests who had gathered there a Greek Catholic community and had started building the Christ's Church in the human souls.  In particular, the Head of the UGCC thanked Fr. Ivan Tsykhulyak, who was one of the first pastors there and Fr. Vitalij Sydoruk, the current parish priest.  The Primate of the Church thanked Bishop Yan Purvinsky of the Kyiv and Zhytomyr Roman Catholic diocese, for collaboration, and brothers of the Latin Rite, who "twenty years ago welcomed our community to their cathedral".

"Those were twenty years of struggle for the right to exist. All those years didn't kill either our faith, or our hope and love for God, but made us stronger.  We thank also the Ukrainian Churches in Zhytomyr, especially our Orthodox brothers, because our destiny is common here.  To assert the conscience of the Ukrainian Church in Zhytomyr land isn't easy, but we thank that it is developing," he went on.  The preacher recalled that Zhytomyr is the historic cradle of Uniate Church in Right Bank Ukraine, for in Radomyshl' there was a capital of Uniate metropolitans: " "We thank everyone who is telling the truth about history of the UGCC in this land."

Going back to the pages of Holy Scripture, the Gospel on Sunday before the Epiphany describes the figure of John the Baptist as a "Messenger", a forerunner of Someone who is to come after him. St. John gives us three main characteristics presenting the figure of Christ: "The first feature - Christ is the one  who ' is coming': The New Year begins not with the new chronology but newness comes from God. He is coming towards a man. We saw Him coming in Christmas, in the newborn Baby as the incarnated God. Each time in our personal history we must open our hearts, minds and souls towards God, who is not closed in himself but is coming to us". The second feature - Christ is strong: "Historic evidence shows that John's preaching in the desert moved entire Israel. All the people were coming to him to be baptized: learned and ignorant, rich and poor, religious leaders and sinners. Between the power of preaching, influence on the current people by John the Baptist and the power with which the 'only Ruler' is coming, there is such a difference as between the force of a man and that of God."  The third feature was proclaimed by the Baptizer: "I baptize with water but he who is coming after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." According the Head's of the Church words, he was preaching repentance for the forgiveness of sins. "To forgive sins, cleanse a person and make him a new creature is only God's work.  It's that Heavenly grace of the Holy Spirit which absolves our sins in the Sacrament of Baptism and makes us a new person.  The mission of John the Baptist - is  to prepare people for accepting the Gospel of Jesus Christ," explained His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

We would like to add that on that day, His Beatitude Sviatoslav also paid a visit to the Bishop of Kyiv-Zhytomyr diocese of the RCC Yan Purvinsky, the head of the regional state administration Mr. Ihor Hundych and the head of the regional council Mr. Volodymyr Shyrma.

The UGCC Department of Information 

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