The leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which is in communion with the Roman Catholic Church, said during the annual Kyiv Security Forum that he thinks Pope Francis will visit Ukraine soon – possibly within a year.
«A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to personally communicate with Pope Francis about Ukraine,» said Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of Kyiv-Galicia and as chuch the global head of the Eastern-rite Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. «[Pope Francis] is very concerned about the fate of ordinary people. Those people who may not be fully heard today. The Holy Father is really deeply concerned about this.»
His Beatitude said that the Pope’s visit to Ukraine may take place soon and that this is a powerful signal of support for our people.
«We have good news. We expect his visit to Ukraine. It has not been announced yet, but we are already living in anticipation and preparation. This is a very powerful signal of support for our people and our state.»
Greek Catholicism is a Christian confession which acknowledges Catholic doctrine and is in communion with the Pope, but maintains Eastern rites and rituals, including married priests. It emerged in 1596, when a part of the Orthodox Church recognised the supremacy of the Pope. Later, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) became mostly localised in the Western Ukraine, becoming one of the markers of the national identity for the region’s population during Austrian, Polish and Soviet rule.
Currently, Kyiv is the center of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, under the jurisdiction of His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of Kyiv-Galicia, and it is present in many regions of the country, though Galicia, where Lviv is, still remains its bulwark. It also has a strong presence among the Ukrainian diaspora, especially in parts of Canada, the United States, and Australia.
By Vitalii Holich
You can read a Ukrainian language version of this story here.
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