The first step toward unity of the Churches in Ukraine “must be the unification of the Orthodox Churches, because they have no dogmatic difference,” the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav maintains.
“We pray for that,” he said in an interview with the Internet publication Tsenzor.net. “When one Orthodox Church [in Ukraine] is created, the next step must be the unification of the Orthodox and Catholic sides.”
According to remarks by Pope Francis, who recently visited Istanbul and met with Patriarch Bartholomew, the path to unification consists not in the subordination or absorption of one Church by another, His Beatitude noted. Church unity consists of intercommunion [soprychastia]—Eucharistic fellowship and the possibility of celebrating the Divine Liturgy together.
“Our position differs from the position of the Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate),” the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church emphasized. “They maintain that one local Orthodox Church already exists in Ukraine, and that they are it. To their way of thinking, the path to unification consists of subjecting everyone who is outside of their structure. Just like in the well-known expression: ‘There are two opinions, one is mine and the other is wrong.’ If the Moscow Patriarchate sticks to that practical approach much longer, then the chances of honestly creating one Church will be quite illusory, and the path to unification will be almost impossible.”
However, His Beatitude Sviatoslav said, if “any country exploits the Church as an instrument of geopolitics, that Church will suffer and will lose its essence and its mission.”
“Sooner or later,” the Head of the UGCC thinks, “such a geopolitical plan will turn into a fiasco. We in Ukraine today have a unique opportunity, as never before in our history, for the Churches to be Churches and not to get involved in politics or in carrying out the plans of various countries.”
Information Resource UGCC