UGCC Head: It is important that all European bishops realize that Europe breathes through two lungs: that of the Eastern and the Western Church

Tuesday, 08 October 2013, 17:41
In Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, the Annual Plenary Meeting of the Council of European Conference of Bishops concluded, at which there was a discussion of the topic “God and the State: Europe between the worldly and secularism.”

The Father and the Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), participated in the Assembly.  He explained the focal point of the Assembly of the Presidents of the Bishops Conference of Europe:  “These issues today are the focal point of social discussions in Ukraine, especially in the context of the preparation to the signing of the Agreement of Association.  On the one hand, according to the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI, we understand that the healthy citizen awareness of the nation has positive aspects because it guarantees the rights of all Churches and religious organizations.  However, on the other hand, the extreme secularism, which forbids any expression of religious life, is unacceptable.  And so we have gathered here together in order to exchange our views, to safeguard the freedom of conscience and the freedom of religion in Europe,” emphasized His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

On the eve of the closing of the Assembly, UGCC Head led the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, during which all participants of the event participated.  According to the Primate of the Greek-Catholic Church, this happened for the first time.  “Today for the first time in the history of the General Assembly of the Presidents of  the European Conference of Bishops, all the gathered prayed in the Liturgy of our rite.  In such a way we wanted to commemorate the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of Sts. Cyril and Methodius to do missionary work in these areas.   Due to the fact that these saints brought with them the Byzantine Liturgy and prayed in such a manner as the one that we proposed to the General Assembly, I think that it is important that all the bishops from the counties of Europe realize that Europe breathes through two lungs: that of the Eastern and the Western Church.   Only then, when we are breathing fully through our full lungs, do we have the strength to testify to Christian values and to proclaim the Gospel in Europe,” explained His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

During the Liturgy, the UGCC Head pointed out that in Ukraine today, on the eve of the Vilnius Summit of Ukraine – EU, Christians of all confessions, representatives of various religions, are posing, among other, the question:  “Do Christian values still exist in Europe?  What will happen to the family, to the religious life in Ukraine?”

According to His Beatitude Sviatoslav, God’s call “not to be afraid” applies also to this situation.  Yes, today’s Church is experiencing a period of “a painful destruction of a stony and not authentic religiosity.”

In this year’s meeting in addition to His Beatitude Sviatoslav and His Eminence Mechyslav (Mokshtskyi) and Most Reverend Milan (Shashkin), also participating are Rev. Vasyl Hovera, Apostolic Delegate to Greek-Catholics in Kazakhstan and Central Asia, representing the Bishops’ Conference in Kazakhstan.

  The choice of Slovakia as a place of an annual meeting of the leaders of the European bishoprics was not accidental.  They arrived here at the invitation of the local bishop in order to commemorate the 1150th anniversary of evangelical mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius on these lands.

 

 

According to: Radio Vatican

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