Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Thanked God for 20 Years of Freedom


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LVIV - On September 20, 2009, during a Divine Service marking the 20th anniversary of the emergence of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) from the underground, Archbishop Ihor (Vozniak) of Lviv of the UGCC said: "Today we bow our heads and hearts in gratitude to the Lord for His mercy to us and bow to those who so courageously and without hesitation loved and love God, their Church, their neighbors, and Ukraine; to those who faithfully struggled and laid down their lives out of love for God and their neighbors."

Over 10 thousand people (according to other calculations, over 20 thousand) gathered in the square near the Church of Archistratege Michael, the place where the first public liturgy of the UGCC was celebrated in 1998. This time the liturgy was served by Archbishop Ihor with the concelebration of Auxiliary Bishop Bohdan (Dziurakh) of the Kyiv Archeparchy, Eparch Yulian (Voronovskyi) of Sambir and Drohobych, Bishop Mykhail (Vivchar) of the Saskatun Eparchy, and priests who personally participated in the emergence process of the UGCC from the underground, reports the press service of the Lviv Spiritual Seminary.

After the liturgy a procession of clergy and faithful went through the city center to the Cathedral of St. George, where bishops blessed the faithful.

On the same day, in the Palace of Arts in Lviv, a documentary "Heritage of Andrey Sheptytsky" was presented. The documentary, which was produced by the "Star-TV" production company along with the Lviv Archeparchy of the UGCC, included unique recollections of people who lived at the time of Sheptytsky, as well as rare archive materials.

In the evening, a celebratory event was held in the Lviv Opera House. The head of the Lviv Regional Administration, Mykola Kmit, greeted the clergy and faithful of the UGCC for the occasion and presented several state awards to them for their contribution to the revival of the church.;31828/