Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Ukraine: 'Catholic-Orthodox Relations Have Never Been so Good as Today'
The Grand Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church: In a time of insecurity the Christian churches have been brought toward greater trust.
Kiev (kath.net/KIN) The Superior of the Ukrianian Greek Catholic Church, Grand Archbishop Swjatoslaw Schewtschuk, has descried the relations between the Catholic and Orthodox churches as "excellent" . During a visit to the international center of the Catholic agency "Kirche in Not" he stressed, relations have not been so good since today. The friendly and brotherly contact and concern lays close to him especially in the heart, explained Schewtschuk.
The Ukraine has over 45 million inhabitants, around 75 percent belong to the orthodox church, and most of them are of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is an autonomous part of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1991 there was conflict for legitimacy and primacy in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kievian Patriarchate. The third Orthodox Church of the land is the Ukrainian Autocephalus Church.
In 1596 the uniate Ukrianian Greek-Catholic Church arose, which has around 5.5 million faithful. Roman Catholics are about 1.1 million (which are mostly Poles and Germans). The conflict between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church has been cited as an obstruction to ecumenism by the Moscow Patriarchate.
The Ukraine looks back on more than a thousand years of Christendom, explained Grand Archbishop Swjatoslaw. In the past century they have lived yet through another hundred years of aggressive atheism. The special mission of the Christian Churches lay in, "these Christian roots to rediscover and find new ways, to be present in society as Christians," said Schwetschuk.
"In a time of insecurity, in which there are processes at work in society, from which many have gotten the feeling that they aren't controllable any longer, the Christian Church will bring back great trust," exclaimed the Grand Archbishop. "The results of polls show that more people trust me than the president."
That since the Church is not dependent on the state, may "tell the truth and play an important role in society". Christendom has an essential role for the national unity of Ukraine. 'We are neutral, as far as politics goes, but we teach Christian Social teaching, promote the Gospel and defend the defenseless", explained Schewtschuk. In this authentic sense to be able to work, is one of the priorities for the Church of well formed priests.
The Superior of the these uniates of the Ukrianian Greek-Catholic Church thank "Kirche in Not" for the help, which they have made possible in the Ukraine for decades. He especially honored the founder of "Kirche in Not", Father Werenfrieds van Straaten in 2003. He himself is "a fruit of the work and the activity of Father Werenfrieds", there he received a stipend from "Kirche in Not" after the collapse of the Soviet Union from "Kirche in Not" where he received his Doctorate in Theology and returned back to his home. There he also was able to rebuild the priest seminary in Lemberg with help from "Kirche in Not". "Kirche in Not" still supports the Church in Ukraine today.
Link to kath.net....