UKRAINIAN PATRIARCH REMAINS HOPEFUL ABOUT MEETING BETWEEN THE POPE AND THE MOSCOW PATRIARCH
5 February 2016http://risu.org.ua/en/index/all_news/catholics/ugcc/62409/
The UGCC Media Department has released the following reaction of Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk to the announcement of the upcoming meeting of Pope Francis with Patriarch Kiril of Moscow, in Havana, Cuba:
I do not expect Pope Francis' meeting with Patriarch Kirill, scheduled for February 12, will bring about specific changes. Although it is good that the meeting will take place and I am glad that, finally, the ROC has come to the understand that it is necessary to meet.
Patriarch Sviatoslav said that, over the years, the Russian Orthodox Church has refused such a meeting and called the Ukrainian Catholic Church an obstacle to dialogue. "The meeting can not be an end in itself but rather a tool, a necessary means for honest and open dialogue. We are very glad that we were no longer considered an obstacle and we are no longer cited as the reason for their reluctance to engage in such dialogue ", - said the patriarch.
He stressed that the meeting of two primates, actually being held on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Lviv pseudo-synod, which forcibly suppressed the UGCC [in Ukraine] . "The Russian Orthodox Church, unfortunately, has yet to condemn the conduct of the violent act that made the Soviets. We hope that the meeting of the Pope and Patriarch create a new context for the movement towards historical justice "- said the patriarch.
The Head of the UGCC hopes that the very fact of the meeting will alter some radical rhetoric coming from the Russian Orthodox, who do not recognize the Catholic Church as valid, re-baptize Catholics and entice them to become Orthodox, do not take part in common prayers and even called the whole process of seeking church unity "heresy of ecumenism". We saw an example of such intolerance last week in Donetsk when, during a rally staged outside the Greek Catholic parish, we were referred to as "a sect."
"It is likely that during the meeting the Pope and the Patriarch will speak about the current situation in Ukraine. I hope that the Holy Father Francis, who always raises his voice in defense of hurt, become the voice of Ukrainian leading their struggle for cohesion and unity of the country. God grant that Patriarch Kirill will, as a result of the meeting, give the necessary instructions to the faithful Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian authorities, to quickly stop the aggression of Russia against Ukraine and arrive at a just peace "- the patriarch concluded.