UGCC head and Patriarch Bartholomew discuss ecumenical dialogue with OCU

Head of the UGCC Sviatoslav Shevchuk and Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. Photo: UGCC

Now “the main interlocutor for the UGCC in the ecumenical dialogue is not so much the Russian Orthodox Church, but the local OCU,” Sviatoslav Shevchuk emphasized.

On September 16, 2019, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, met in the Vatican with the Patriarch of Bartholomew of Constantinople “to discuss the situation in Ukraine and the ecumenical relations between the UGCC and the OCU,” the UGCC official media resource reports.

The meeting, initiated by the head of the UGCC, took place in the guest residence of Santa Marta, as part of the official visit of Patriarch Bartholomew to the Vatican, organized by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.

The meeting began with the exchange of gifts: the head of the UGCC handed to the Patriarch a facsimile edition of the Galician Gospel of 1144, while Patriarch Bartholomew gifted Sviatoslav Shevchuk with a publication on the residence of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and a historical stamp in honor of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Constantinople in 2006.

During the conversation, the head of the UGCC expressed hope that "with the autocephaly granted, the ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine will rise to a qualitatively new level".

“It is from this historic moment of the proclamation of autocephaly for the OCU, that the main interlocutor for the UGCC in the ecumenical dialogue is not so much the Russian Orthodox Church, but the local Orthodox Church in Ukraine,” Shevchuk noted.

Shevchuk also summarized the results of the Meeting of Eastern Catholic hierarchs of Europe, which took place in Rome on September 12-14, emphasizing that “Eastern Catholic Churches make their theological contribution to the tradition of the Catholic Church itself, helping it to more fully express its universal dimension. The Catholicism of the Church cannot be limited only by its Latin tradition.”

Regarding the ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox Church, Shevchuk noted that “the Eastern Catholic Churches offer new elements in understanding the primacy of the Bishop of Rome and synodality,” upon that “the Eastern Catholic Churches offer the Roman Catholic Church new forms of Apostle Peter's service,” and suggested that Patriarch Bartholomew create a mixed commission between the Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches to "give a new impetus to the ecumenical dialogue".

In turn, according to the resource, Patriarch Bartholomew “explained to His Beatitude Sviatoslav his steps on granting autocephaly to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, praised the openness of the UGCC in ecumenical communion <...> and expressed his happiness that the children of the Kiev Church remember that their mother Church is the Church of ancient Constantinople ”

Recall that earlier the head of the OCU, Epiphany Dumenko, said that the unification of the OCU and the "patriotic church" of UGCC is "theoretically possible in the future" and the key to their unification lies in Rome and Constantinople.

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