Recently, there was information that Pope Francis is preparing a surprise for the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church. The pontiff wants to meet with the UGCC leadership to discuss a number of themes in ecclesiastical and social life.

- Pope Francis is inviting the hierarchs of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church to meet. What questions will you discuss there?

- For me, it is particularly important that the Roman See is now working on its position regarding Ukraine and has invited us to take part in this. Because we once stated that they were talking about us without us.

Clearly, we will discuss our Church on a global scale, because all our metropolitans have been invited to the meeting, not only from Ukraine, but from Brazil, Canada, the USA, Poland… So this will be an opportunity to discuss our Church in the world.

We also want to present to the Pope what our Church looks like, our needs, and also the pastoral challenges that we now face. I do not think this type of expert meeting has happened before.

- Many now talk about the question of granting the UGCC a patriarchate, about the beatification of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, and other no less important aspects. Will questions like this be considered?

- Without question, we will talk “without taboo.” We received a surprise, that is, interaction at the highest level. This will be a sincere discussion about all important questions. Earlier I had asked the Holy Father that on his part we would receive a signal of his support of our Church, in particular institutional support.

In general, we feel absolutely confident in our relations with the Pope. However, we want not only to communicate in the usual way, but to have the opportunity so that all will be heard. There is a wider network of communication, because some of the bishops themselves will be able to speak to heads of Roman structures.

- More and more often now, people say that the UGCC should be a patriarchate, especially against the background of the OCU [Orthodox Church of Ukraine] receiving the tomos [of autocephaly]. Is a patriarchate truly so important for the Church? And is it possible to expect that this will happen soon?

- For us a patriarchate is not only some title or name, but, above all, a way of existing. Not long ago we had the enthronement of a new metropolitan for the USA. He was elected by the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC, and the Pope blessed this choice. The Head of the Church traveled to place him in his position according to the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches and to show that we function like a patriarchal church.

Our way of ordering pastoral life corresponds to the way patriarchal structures exist. And we ourselves are learning how to live this way. For example, many people in the USA do not understand that their episcopate and metropolia belong to a Church whose center is in Kyiv.

Even more so, the Head of our Church every year consecrates chrism for the whole Church. We don’t take chrism from the Vatican or anywhere else. The Head of the Church consecrates chrism in Kyiv, and then it is distributed throughout the world. And all the children who are baptized in any corner of the world are anointed with the chrism oil that was consecrated at the Patriarchal Cathedral of Christ’s Resurrection in Kyiv.

So we say that the patriarchate will happen, because it is not given, but they will recognize it. On our part, we are doing everything to function as a patriarchal church. And the question of recognition (not creation or announcement) is a question that depends on the decision of the ecumenical hierarch [pope], and we respect the freedom of his decision.

- But will you ask him to do this? Or are you waiting?

- We ask him to do this at every meeting, particularly when we talk about how we live today.

In May, Sviatoslav had said:

"I ask myself and God: what does it mean to us to fulfill our mission? When Patriarch Josyf Slipyj was released from Stalin concentration camps, he set three goals," said the Primate. "The first task - creation of an intellectual center, in particular the Ukrainian Catholic University of St. Clement Pope in Rome, the re-establishment of the Studite monasticism and the struggle for the patriarchiate. I think if we look at that Divine wisdom, then we will see that this is a peculiar spiritual testament of Patriarch Josyf for us, his descendants."

"His Beatitude, Lyubomyr Husar, said that the patriarchate is not an end in itself, but primarily a tool for us to gather all those scattered all over the world."

"In order for us to successfully build a patriarchate, we need to raise our Church to a new level of its life and existence, - the level of communication, mutual respect and understanding, a shared responsibility for the fate of the Church and the people."