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Sunday, 6 September 2009

UGCC is a Source for Unity for the Ukrainian Community: Apostolic Administrator in Great Britain

The Religious Information Service of Ukraine reports from Lviv, Friday, 04 September 2009:

In an interview with RISU, Bishop Hlib (Lonchyna), apostolic administrator of the Ukrainian Catholic Exarchate in Great Britain, explained the role of the UGCC and its patriarchal mode. RISU’s Ukrainian-language webpage posted this story on August 28, 2009.

When asked about the patriarchate of the UGCC, Bishop Hlib said that, “we would certainly like for it to be acknowledged as soon as possible. However, we need to build up our patriarchate, live with it, and support it. The acknowledgment will come eventually. Patriarch Joseph said that if one Pope does not acknowledge it, another one will. We have to work on this, to assert ourselves and to embody the teachings of the eastern Catholic Church.”

Bishop Hlib sees the mission of the UGCC as one of reconciliation and unity for the Ukrainian community. He believes we must strive for mutual respect and dissuade animosity between the confessions. According to the hierarch, there is also a need to heal the wounded human spirit. The communist system destroyed humans. Now there exists the need to cure, to build up a sense of dignity, which according to Bishop Hlib is one of the highest priorities of the church.

Additionally, the hierarch believes that the church should serve as a unifying force. “We are eastern Catholics, connected to the Apostolic See. Thus, we are an example of the church maintaining its traditions while at the same time being part of the church’s unity, because there is no church unity without a relationship with the Apostolic See. Christ founded the church on a ‘rock’ – on Saint Peter. We trust that Christ’s church is an incarnate of the universal church. But the universal – Catholic – Church does not mean solely Latin! Despite there being many more Latin rite Catholics, the Catholic Church does not equate to the Latin rite. And that is why we keep our rite, our national church, alongside the Roman Apostolic See, as these churches unite to form one,” explained the bishop during the interview.

According to the bishop, the most valued aspect of the UGCC is its communion with the Apostolic See. However, Bishop Hlib asserts that there are many difficulties within the relationship of eastern Catholic churches (not only UGCC) and the Apostolic See. However, the hierarch says that these obstacles need to be overcome, but the relations can not be destroyed.

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