Head of the UGCC met with Odesa leaders


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On March 9, 2010, Patriarch Lubomyr, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), met with the mayor of Odesa, Eduard Hurvits. During the meeting the mayor stressed: "For us it is very important to preserve the international, inter-confessional peace in Odesa. It is the most multinational city in the country, and all these years, thank God, there has been tolerance and understanding. We continue the work of returning property to various churches that was confiscated from them during the Soviet era, work which began in the 90s," reports TIA Wikna-Odesa.

As for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the Odesa city executive committee passed a decision about the allocation of a lot land in Prokhoriv square for the building of the Cathedral of the Protection of the Holy Mother of God. The mayor explained that the problem is that according to the law, consent of the state ecological expertise is needed and stressed that the ministry "caused a delay in issuing the decision." "It is still pending, therefore, we are not able to make the next step to settle the issue," stated the mayor.

"We are pleased to have a chance to exchange thoughts with him about the position of our Church in Odesa. I am glad that in this city live Greek Catholics, the faithful of our Church, and that they contribute to the spiritual development of the city," responded His Beatitude Lubomyr.

After dinner the head of the UGCC met with the First Deputy Odesa Oblast Governor Maksym Stepanov. During the meeting the hierarch noted that the UGCC "has difficulties building a Greek Catholic church in Odesa. Various obstacles hinder this project. And a church is a symbol, a visible sign which joins people. And when there is no church, people do not know where to go. For us a church is a very important thing." A main problem, in the opinion of head of the UGCC, is bureaucracy.

Governor Maksym Stepanov promised to help to the Greek Catholic community in this question and "to do everything in our authority."

At the conclusion of the meeting, the head of the UGCC voiced hope that "when I return in a few years there will be a church here."

Mr. Mykhajlo Sheludko reported to the Information Department that the working day was completed with the appearance of His Beatitude Lubomyr on local television and a meeting with Roman Catholic and Lutheran bishops of Odesa.

Information Department of the UGCC