During the meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew, we stated that for our Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate is the Mother Church. Therefore, communication and dialogue with his Patriarch Bartholomew are very important for us. Just as it is for the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
This was stated by Patriarch Sviatoslav in the “Open Church” program, according to the Information Department of the UGCC.
According to the Primate, several topics were raised during the recent meeting of the Head of the UGCC with Patriarch Bartholomew in Rome.
“First of all, I wanted to explain what the role of the Eastern Catholic Churches is within the Catholic Church today. For example, as bearers of the Byzantine tradition, we are of interest the Roman Apostolic Capital as we can explain how Peter’s service can be performed by the Holy Father differently. This is what St. John Paul II asked everyone in his Encyclical “Ut Unum Sint” saying, help me understand how I can exercise my Ministry in a different, new way. Therefore, from the perspective of our tradition, given our memory of the first millennium, we can offer it,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav and added: “and we want to do it with other Eastern Catholic Churches in Europe.”
“We also came up with an initiative so that the Ecumenical Patriarchate could have certain contacts, a certain opportunity to talk with the Eastern Catholic Churches. As today, we are members of this joint theological Orthodox-Catholic Commission, but, obviously, we are seen by the Orthodox brothers as members of this Roman Catholic group. It would be interesting for us to have our voice, our peculiar style in this dialogue,” the Primate stressed.
At the same time, the Head of the Church recalled the history concerning the question of whether Greek Catholics have the right to worship in St. Sophia. “I saw some positive things in this story. This is not the first time Ukrainian society has discovered who Greek Catholics are, what is their origin, what is their relationship to St. Sophia. For many, it was a surprise. It caused mixed feelings. But this is one of the important elements of the beginning genuine dialogue when we know who our interlocutor truly is,” Patriarch Sviatoslav said.
The Head of the UGCC noted that he did not see any obstacles to communication with the Orthodox brothers in connection with the discussion around the common roots.
“Moreover, when we want to look for ways to mutual rapprochement -this road implies the discovery of joint roots, the study and the realization of what unites us. And we are united by the common Mother,” he said.
According to the Patriarch, we must discover that we come from the same baptismal font. We were born in the waters of the Dnieper. We are children of the very Baptism we must acknowledge.
“If we recognize that we share the grace of that very Baptism, then we will understand that we can pray together. For if we pray together, we recognize ourselves as Christians together. If we can understand that we have common roots for many centuries and our common mother Cathedral was the Cathedral of St. Sophia, it will help to open the Sophianic dimension of the Kyivan Christianity. This divine wisdom, which is laid down as a civilizational matrix of the Kyivan Christianity in our history, in our identity. This, in my opinion, is the foundations of our common being, which already unites us,” said the First Hierarch.
The head of the UGCC recalled the statement of Pope John XXIII, who convened the Second Vatican Council and said the following phrase: “We have more things that unite us with our Orthodox brothers rather than those that separate us.”