Shevchuk: Ukrainians can’t be barred from considering UGCC as patriarchate
The spiritual leader of the Uniates of Ukraine believes that the UGCC, in fact, exists as a patriarchal structure.
The head of the UGCC Sviatoslav Shevchuk believes that the use of the title of “patriarch” by the Greek Catholics in relation to their leader is a right that no one can take. He stated this in his interview with the Uniate edition “RISU”.
According to the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics, “for us, the patriarchate is not only a title or a rank, but, above all, a way of being”.
Besides, according to Sviatoslav Shevchuk, “the method of organizing pastoral life”, which is used by the UGCC, “corresponds to the way the patriarchal structures exist”.
Moreover, “it is the head of the UGCC that sanctifies myrrh annually for the whole Church. We do not take myrrh from the Vatican or anywhere. The head of the church sanctifies myrrh in Kiev, and then it goes throughout the world. And all the children who are baptized in any part of the world are anointed with the myrrh that was sanctified in the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Kiev ... This is part of our particular right.”
That is why, says Shevchuk, “patriarchate is not given, but it is recognized ... For our part, we do everything to function as the patriarchal Church. And the question of recognition (not creation or proclamation) is a question that is to be decided by the Ecumenical Bishop, and we respect the freedom of his decision.”
At the same time, the head of the UGCC asserts, "we ask him (the Pope of Rome – Ed.) about this at every meeting, in particular, when we talk about how we live."
Responding to a question of whether there are no complaints from Rome regarding the use of Uniates in some documents and during the Liturgy of the title of “patriarch”, Sviatoslav Shevchuk replied that “this is already our tradition because the people have the right to it – to pray for the patriarch. And no one can take this right away from them.”
Earlier, the UOJ wrote that the head of the UGCC stated that his religious structure would build a patriarchate and extend the hand of unity to the Orthodox.