An important mission of our Church is to prepare people's hearts for forgiveness and reconciliation, His Beatitude Sviatoslav at the US Embassy in Vatican

Friday, 15 June 2018, 11:31
On June 13, a conference on religious freedom in Ukraine was held at the American Embassy at the Apostolic Capital. The main speaker was His Beatitude Sviatoslav, Head and Father of the UGCC. The meeting was held at the initiative of Callista Gingrich, US Ambassador to Vatican.
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Ambassador Callista Gingrich addressed the participants of the conference. She assured the "absolute" support for Ukraine on the part of the US in the fight against Russian aggression. "Because of history and people's сhoice, Ukraine is part of Europe and the West. We continue to support the territorial integrity of Ukraine and its efforts in building a stable, democratic, developed and free country."

Speaking to diplomats and members of the Vatican curia on religious situation in Ukraine, the Рatriarch said that "seventy years of Soviet rule left many wounds in the religious life of our people. At the time when the only Orthodox Church was the Russian Orthodox Church and Roman Catholicism was to some extent tolerated by the authorities, the right to any existence was denied for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. We were the largest church community persecuted in the last century." However, in the opinion of His Beatitude Svyatoslav, "these very conditions of existence helped the UGCC to maintain its authenticity."

"The fall of the Soviet Union caused a wave of religious revival in Ukraine, very often it was a painful process of building inter-confessional relations, but today we are enjoying the religious peace as one of the greatest achievements of building a free and democratic Ukraine," said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

Speaking to diplomats about the role of churches in modern state building process, the Patriarch stressed adherence to the principle of "separation, but not the isolation of church and state." Referring to statistics of Ukrainian citizens' trust in the Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav pointed to the special role of the Churches in building a civil society in Ukraine. "During the Revolution of Dignity on the Maidan, there were Ukrainians, Russians, Poles ... The war in Ukraine is not a conflict between Ukrainians and Russians. This is a conflict between two directions of development: back to the Soviet Union, which is a costly loss for us in terms of religious freedom and national identity, or by moving forward to a developed and genuine democracy of the European model - the true freedom of all religions and a guarantee of the free development of all, without exception, nations living in Ukraine. And we, as the Church, advocate the project of building our state on the principles of protection and respect for human dignity, common good and solidarity. "

At the conclusion of his report, His Beatitude Sviatoslav thanked the representatives of the international community for their support and assistance to Ukraine. "We believe that the war will end. An important mission of our Church is to prepare people's hearts for forgiveness and reconciliation," stressed the Head of the UGCC.

After the meeting with the diplomatic corps, the Patriarch and Ambassador of Ukraine to Vatican Tеtiana Izhevskа answered the questions of journalists from "The Tablet", "Crux", and "Acistampa / EWTN".

We would like to add that besides the ambassadors of the European Union member states, the ambassadors of Canada, Australia, as well as representatives of some Vatican dicasteries took part in the conference: Archbishop Silvano Tomazi, secretary of the Pontifical Council of integral Human Development; and Archbishop Ciril Basil, secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

Photo: US Embassy to the Holy See

Secretariat of the Head of the UGCC in Rome


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