UGCC Head: “The figure of St. Josaphat can unite all Churches in Ukraine”

Sunday, 31 March 2013, 13:52
“For us the figure of St. Josaphat is especially meaningful… During my visits to Rivne, Lutsk, Zdolbunev, Dubno all the people whom I met asked me when the Churches in Ukraine will finally unite? When will the moment come when Ukrainians will be able to rejoice in a united particular Church – the Church of the Kyiv tradition which was born 1025 years ago? What can be done in order to have the Church resurrect its original unity? I think that the figure of Josaphat provides us with a unique answer. After all, it is specifically our Church that has him as the first martyr for the unity of Christ’s Church. He is the one who sacrificed his life so that all would be one.”

“For us the figure of St. Josaphat is especially meaningful…  During my visits to Rivne, Lutsk, Zdolbunev, Dubno all the people whom I met asked me when the Churches in Ukraine will finally unite?   When will the moment come when Ukrainians will be able to rejoice in a united particular Church – the Church of the Kyiv tradition which was born 1025 years ago? What can be done in order to have the Church resurrect its original unity?  I think that the figure of Josaphat provides us with a unique answer. After all, it is specifically our Church that has him as the first martyr for the unity of Christ’s Church.  He is the one who sacrificed his life so that all would be one.”

His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), Primate of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, stated this (audio) on Friday, March 29th in Volodymyr-Volynskyi after the Akathist to St. Josaphat.

UGCC Head believes that we should rediscover in a new way for ourselves the figure of Saint Martyr Josaphat.  Today, Ukraine still does not know the historical truth about Josaphat and many of us still remain “in the valley of falsehood and myths that emerged after his death.”

It is interesting, said His Beatitude Sviatoslav, that this year our Church especially remembers this Saint Martyr; November 25th will mark the 50th anniversary of the ceremony of the transfer of the relics of St. Josaphat to St. Peter Basilica in Rome.  “From all Ukrainian saints, he lies the closest to the grave of the Apostle Peter.  And today all Christian society rejoices in this famous son of the Volyn land and a treasure of the Ukrainian Church,” believes UGCC Head.

He shared plans that after the conclusion of the Year of Faith, our Church will have a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Josaphat as an expression of gratitude to the Lord God for the gift of his life, his service, and his martyrdom.

At the end, His Beatitude thanked all for praying together and contemplating how we as Christians should exist in these new times, in order to bring all people to God – the source of our life.  He also specifically thanked Bishop Josaphat for his service in the Lutsk Eparchy and the Basilian Fathers who serve so zealously in this city, and also all those who are the inheritors of the treasure left to us by St. Josaphat.

The Major Archbishop suggested that the service end with a symbolic gesture – that each person kisses the cross, so that the spark which lit up the heart of St. Josaphat would also enter the heart of all gathered here.

As a memento of the meeting, His Beatitude Sviatoslav left for each faithful, a small icon of the Kyiv Oranta.

We remind readers that UGCC Primate is on a pastoral visit to UGCC Lutsk Eparchy during March 26-31.

UGCC Department of Information

 

 
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