Friday, March 9, 2012

Ukrainian Archbishop: Moscow Patriarchate Incapable of Asking Forgiveness

The Superior of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Union with Rome, Schwetschuk: "The Russian Clergy has not asked for forgiveness, for annexing our entire property."

Vienna (  An actual obstacle involving the  holdup of a meeting between the Pope and the Moscow Patriarch, is "the incapability of the Russian Orthodox Church, to recognize their own errors":  This is what the Superior of the Greek Catholic Church in Union with Rome, Senior Archbishop Swjatoslaw Schewtschuk (or Shevchuk),  told the organization "Pro Oriente" on Thursday as  reported by Italian Catholic news agency, "SIR".  The Moscow Patriarch Kyrill is saying  that the conflict between Western Ukrainian conflict between Uniates and Orthoddox must be resolved before a meeting can take place between himself and Pope Benedict, says Shevchuk.  The  Senior Archbishop considers this, however, as a pretext.

Schwetschuk recalled that the Russian Orthodox Church was used by Stalin's regime to liquidate the Greek Catholic Church.  "The Russian clergy have still not asked for forgiveness,  for annexing the entire property of the Greek Catholic Church,"  said Schewtschuk.  The ability, to ask for forgiveness, is yet an indicator of the presence of a living Christian conscience.

The Archbishop has made it clear that he is prepared, now as before,  take a long and common look at the "Psuedo-Synod" of Lwiw (Lemberg) in 1946, at which Stalin's intervention forced the unification of the Greek Catholic Church and the Moscow Patriarchate.   From 1946 to 2989 the Greek Catholic Church in west Ukraine only survived in the "catacombs".

As a positive example of ecumenical work on history and reconciliation, Schwetshuk described the apologies between the Polish Catholic Church and the Greek Catholic Church for the bloody conflicts in the years 1941-47 in the Polish-Ukrainian boarder area.   There are also efforts to make similar requests for forgiveness between the Polish Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church.  Unfortunately, between the Greek Catholic and Russian Orthodox Church, there isn't even a symbolic act of reconciliation being undertaken.

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JMJ Ora Pro Nobis said...

The Orthodox church and in particular the Russian Orthodox Church has always been an instrument of the state and always will be, so its no great surprise they can't apologise.

Anonymous said...

And how about the Union of Brest of 1596 that led to the Greek Catholic Unia in the Ukraine and the immense violence this unleashed against Orthodox in that land? When will the Greek Catholics apologize for that?

Dan said...

Dear JMJ and Anonymous:

My words here are not going to heal a thousand year schism, but I would like to offer one or two observations and at the same time invite someone far better versed in this whole question to join the discussion.

JMJ: Yes, the Orthodox in Russia are intensely nationalistic. It does seem from their writings that "Russia is Orthodoxy" and "Orthodoxy is Russia". This is indeed sad and is something that, God willing, will be corrected one day. But to say that they are "an instrument of the State" right now is perhaps not accurate, in the sense that they robotically do the bidding of the State as had happened during the Communist oppression. I don't believe that is the case but would welcome any correction. I do know that the Virgin Mary has an especial love for Russia and that is a fact that we must always keep in mind. That is not to say she is happy with the schism; I don't see how she could be.

Anonymous: bloodshed, as you no doubt know, happened on both sides. These questions need to be addressed but only in the sense of mutual forgiveness. And surely you know that not all the actions of Orthodox or Catholics are approved by their churches. What individuals do should not necessarily betoken what their church teaches them to do, or not to do.

I know I wont live to see the reunion between the Catholics and the Orthodox but I know it will happen in God's good time. Both need each other. And both will have to work hard to overcome obstacles. But I also know that Christ appointed only one head to govern His Church, and that was Peter. He didn't promise that Peter would be impeccable, He only promised that he would be infallible on matters of faith and morals. That is something both "sides" will need to be aware of.

And as a final thought to our dear Orthodox and Catholic friends and brothers: both Churches today share a common enemy, and a vicious one at that, an enemy who has been attacking the Faith for 2,000 years - and I'm not necessarily referring to the devil, though, of course, he is very much involved. Holy Writ used well-chosen words when it said, "the synagogue of Satan". Both Orthodox and Catholic need to remember that, too.

Anonymous said...

The Czarist double-headed eagle, symbol of pre-communist Russia is a visual statement of the relationship between church and state. It says over centuries how Russians think. This national psychology will not change as it is part of the Russian character. Salvation for Russia and the rest of the world would appear to depend on a wholesale conversion of those in power (the State!) to Gospel values --which will be one of the greatest miracles of grace since the Church began. After that, reconciliation of the Orthodox Church with Rome would be inevitable and swift. Sound impossible? That's what everyone said before the Berlin wall fell without a shot.