UGCC Synod of Bishops Proposes Model of Unity of Churches of St. Volodymyr’s Baptism


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On December 15, 2009, in Kyiv, in the press center Ukrainian Time of the Ukrainian House a press conference of His Beatitude Lubomyr, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halych of the UGCC, was held. One of the main topics was the UGCC's vision of the possibility of unifying the four branches of the Kyivan Church: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, and Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in one national church.

"Instead of the monopoly over Christian Ukraine, which was a characteristic of the past, we suggest the Ecclesiastic Communion unity of the today's divided Kyivan Church," quoted the head of the UGCC from the UGCC Synod's address. This document, which was written for the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the legalization of the UGCC, the 65th anniversary of the death of Metropolitan Andrey, and the 25th anniversary of the death of Patriarch Joseph, was the basis of the press conference.

"We realize that our nation lacked unity and, in addition to the preservation of unity between us, the Greek Catholics, we wish to make all efforts to restore the unity we once enjoyed at the time of St. Volodymyr's baptism," said the head of the UGCC. Thus, His Beatitude Lubomyr explained that the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC understands that is it is not easy to achieve unity. "Unfortunately, behind us we have a long period of denying unity," underlined the head of the UGCC.

According to His Beatitude Lubomyr, the creation of a unified national church has to take place in a form of communion, in unity of faith while maintaining liturgical and ritual features of each branch. "We are all equal... We have to be the same only in holy faith, whereas certain elaborations, traditions can be different. We have to learn to be tolerant of each other, accept each other as we are, and not insist on the necessity for all to be made like one particular branch," declared the head of the UGCC. He explained that in order for the unity of the church to bring peace and understanding to Ukraine, it must grow from within, in the bosom of every branch of the Kyivan Church. At the end of the speech His Beatitude Lubomyr explained that the synod's message is not the definite recipe, but only a proposition. "This is a proposition. It is not a perfectly worked out recommendation that can only be done in this one way. This is our desire, our search to find each other," stated the head of the UGCC.


Background information

In 2009 the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church celebrated the 20th anniversary of its legalization, which took place after decades of totalitarian prohibition, exiles, destruction, and persecution. Two other anniversaries were also recognized in 2009: the 65th anniversary of the death of servant of God Metropolitan Andrey (Sheptytskyj) and the 25th anniversary of the death of the confessor of faith Patriarch Joseph (Slipyj). On this occasion the Patriarchal Synod of Bishops of the UGCC, which was held from November 29 to December 5, 2009, issued the synod's message. In the document, in addition to recalling the years of persecution, a look at the future development of the church is presented. The main emphasis of the message is a method of solving an important problem of the Ukrainian society: the inter-denominational division.

Information Department of the UGCC