He recalled the comments of his predecessor Cardinal Myroslav Ivan, who said, “We forgive and ask for forgiveness.”
“It was a very deep call to reconciliation on his part,” the archbishop explained. “It was in the 1990s, at the time of the strongest confrontation, particularly in western Ukraine. There was the will for reconciliation on our part.”
As I recall at the time, actions were speaking louder than that "very deep call to reconciliation." Particularly odd, as the cardinal never lived in the Soviet Union until its final months, long after-
Under Soviet rule, Eastern Catholic priests and faithful were routinely arrested, martyred for the faith, or generally forced to go underground. Church property was usurped by the Orthodox Church and Catholics operated under heavy restrictions.
None of which isn't equally, if not more, applicable to the Orthodox. That's glossed over, along with the Revindication Campaigns of the Second Polish Republic doing the same before the Soviets took over. That includes "Church property was usurped": no Church owned any property in the Soviet Union (proletariat ownership of the means of production/abolition of private property and all that). Did the Orthodox Church take advantage of what Churches the Soviets allowed to be open for Divine Services? Sure-would you prefer them to have been used for barns and barracks or museums of atheism, as many were? Much of the property still has not been returned. IIRC, we had a thread on that fact on the Pochaiv Lavra.
The situation has more complexities than are being admitted here (and touching on the "sanity" of His Eminence over support in the Vatican for Major Arbp. Shevchuk). Such as:
When we asked UOC-KP Bishop of L'viv Andrii (Horak) why he thought that the Vatican did not counter Patriarch Aleksi' s accusations, he replied: 'The Vatican never complained in 1946 either. Maybe because it is the promoter of the accusations.' Patriarch Filaret of the UOC-KP explained to us that 'The Vatican's current policy is to leave the Greek Catholics alone. They are a barrier to dialogue with the Moscow Patriarchate and therefore the Vatican is not supporting Uniatism.' Maintaining links with Moscow, he thought, was also the motivation behind not highlighting the activities of the UOC-KP in Galicia: 'That would mean recognising that the UOC-KP is the largest Orthodox jurisdiction in western Ukraine and upsetting the Moscow Patriarchate.'
Greek Catholic Bishop Yulian Gbur confirmed the Vatican's reluctance to involve other Orthodox jurisdictions in the dispute over western Ukraine: 'Rome allows us to talk only to the Moscow Patriarchate, because the others are not canonical - although they are closer to us.' L'viv Roman Catholic priest Fr Andrzej Legowicz confirmed this. He explained to us that the Vatican would have to come to an official agreement with the Moscow Patriarchate that the conflict with the Greek Catholics was over before it could make a public statement to that effect.
Several of our interviewees felt that the Greek Catholics had been abandoned by Rome. The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church's Department for External Church Relations Ihor Ozhievs'kyi cited to us the absence of direct financial support for his church from the Vatican. The funding which had permitted the extensive church construction we had observed in L'viv and Ternopil' oblasti had come, he said, from two German-based Catholic charities, 'Aid to the Church in Need' and 'Renovabis', as well as from the US Catholic Bishops' Conference - but not from Rome. The Vatican, he maintained, was terrified 'that we will destroy the system which has developed within the Catholic Church', since in effect the Greek Catholic
Church was a 'local church', and the Catholic Church 'does not recognise local churches'.
In Patriarch Filaret's view, the Greek Catholics already sensed that 'Rome does not need them any more'. Greek Catholic village priest Fr Ihor Fedorishin told us that in his view the Roman Catholic Church was a quite separate structure. The Greek Catholic union with the Vatican, he maintained, was purely symbolic, 'just as the Moscow Patriarchate is symbolically subordinate to Constantinople'...
Whatever its policy towards them might be, the Vatican's failure to lend public support to the Greek Catholics in Galicia is being rewarded by complete silence over Roman Catholic activity in central Ukraine. According to the Ukrainian Centre for Economic and Political Studies, the Roman Catholic Church had 324 registered religious communities in Zhytomir, Vinnytsa and Khmel'nyts'kyi oblasti as of 1 January 2000 (the Greek Catholic figure for the same area is just 29). Viktor Bondarenko told us that the Roman Catholics were the fastest growing of the traditional churches in Ukraine. Surprisingly, Patriarch Filaret assured Keston that the Roman Catholic Church was ministering to 'its own people' in these regions. He did not complain about this activity precisely because it was being conducted among Poles, he said, although earlier in our interview with him he mentioned that in Ukraine Roman Catholics were 'trying to attract Orthodox'. Although the language of Roman Catholics in L'viv is frequently Polish, Fr Legowicz told us that as far west as the city of Ternopil' - where we noted that a large Roman Catholic church was being constructed - masses are celebrated in Ukrainian and not Polish. Archbishop Mitrofan (Yurchuk) of the UOC-MP told us that the Roman Catholic Church was very active in Ukraine and brought in numerous missionaries from Poland. When he agreed that most Poles in Ukraine were by now completely russified (or
ukrainified), we asked him why the UOC-MP did not complain about Roman Catholic activity in the country's central regions. 'We have no problems with Roman Catholics' , he replied...
Declining to name specific regions, Viktor Bondarenko complained to us that his national committee did not have control over local committees for religious affairs, 'which is totally wrong because we now see blocs forming, uniting local authorities with the dominant church in the area'. It appears that Roman Catholics get a raw deal from the local authorities in Galicia, where Greek Catholicism predominates. On 23 September an elderly parishioner in the Roman Catholic cathedral in central L'viv told us, with obvious resentment, that all but two of the city's 36 pre-Second World War Roman Catholic churches had been 'given to autocephalists, Greek Catholics and Baptists. The authorities did not return them to us even though we wanted them.' The Greek Catholic Church currently holds more than 40 churches in the city.
According to Zhaborinskaya, the large neo-Gothic former Roman Catholic church of SS Olga and Elizabeth near L'viv railway station has been given to the Greek Catholics, while a former Roman Catholic church two doors up from the UOC-MP church in L'viv has been taken over by a community of Seventh-Day Adventists. Fr Andrzej Legowicz confirmed to us that a Roman Catholic community was given permission to celebrate mass in SS Olga and Elizabeth in the mid-1990s, but that this decision was subsequently overturned by the local authorities, who then handed the church to the Greek Catholics. Although Fr Legowicz claimed not to know about the Adventist church, he added that the Roman Catholics had failed to recover their former seminary building in L'viv - now a Greek Catholic church - and that the
present Roman Catholic seminary was approximately 20 miles outside the city. Elsewhere in L'viv oblast', he said, the Roman Catholic community in the village of Riashne had been refused permission to build for the past five years, while in the village of Komame the Greek Catholics had taken all three church buildings and the Roman Catholics were now obliged to celebrate mass in the village cemetery. In his view the L'viv authorities were 'trying to control the number of Roman Catholic churches'...In L'viv, he claimed, 'we do
not have any Roman Catholics'. Abbot Venedikt (Aleksichuk) suggested to us that two churches in central L'viv were enough for the city's Roman Catholics since 'there are no Poles here any more'. We also encountered a cool attitude towards the Roman Catholic Church at the 'Anisiya' church credit union, where general manager Volodymyr Sydorovs'kyi explained that the union 'works with all traditional confessions of the region' - but not Roman Catholics: 'only churches of the eastern rite' .
In fact, the large number of former Roman Catholic church buildings in the city testifies to a tradition established during recent centuries of Polish rule, curtailed when Soviet troops occupied the region during the Second World War and those of Polish nationality were deported westwards in Operation Wisla. Sixty years on, however, resentment of former Polish domination coupled with fear of a resurgence of polonisation fuels both hostility towards Roman Catholicism - which many Ukrainians fuse with Polish identity - and nationalist feeling within the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church as it seeks to preserve its own identity.
According to Fr Legowicz, Roman and Greek Catholics used to attend each others' churches before the Second World War, but now Greek Catholic priests sometimes forbid their parishioners to attend Roman Catholic churches: 'The Greek Catholics are viewed as a Ukrainian church, the Roman Catholics as Polish.' This clear demarcation of nationality was reflected in the words of one woman leaving the Roman Catholic cathedral in L'viv: she apologetically remarked to us that she liked the church very much and attended it 'even though' she was Ukrainian...The village priest Fr Ihor Fedorishin later told us that he believed the latinisation of Greek Catholics to be the aim of Poland rather than of the Vatican, 'because then it will be easier for Poland to take this territory'.
Although over a decade old, I don't know if it can be said that it is dated.
But back to your "example":
“I think that today, we should heal the wounds rather than irritate and deepen them. One can heal the wounds of our memory only with mutual forgiveness,” Archbishop Sviatoslav remarked. “Therefore, as for any our brethren or neighbors who wounded us or were wounded by us, the best way to communicate is to be open in a brotherly dialogue, be open to the purification of our memory, to ask for forgiveness and to forgive.”
I would be very curious as to what wounds the Major Archbishop admits to and is confessing. As to the Patriarch
Defending one thing, it was necessary to give somewhere else. Were there any other organizations, or any other people among those who had to carry responsibility not only for themselves but for thousands of other fates, who in those years in the Soviet Union were not compelled to act likewise? Before those people, however, to whom the compromises, silence, forced passivity or expressions of loyalty permitted by the leaders of the church in those years caused pain, before these people, and not only before God, I ask forgiveness, understanding and prayers.
"A long walk to church: a contemporary history of Russian orthodoxy." Nathaniel Davis p. 84.