UGCC hierarch: Bukovina is not Galicia, all must be started from scratch

22 November 2019 11:00
Bishop of Chernovtsy UGCC Joasaphat (Moshchich). Photo: Bishop of Chernovtsy UGCC Joasaphat (Moshchich). Photo:

Bishop of Chernovtsy UGCC Joasaphat (Moshchich) believes that in Bukovina the Uniate Church is poorly developed and efforts are needed to develop this territory.

On November 18, 2019, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Sviatoslav Shevchuk appointed Joasaphat as bishop of the Chernovtsy diocese, created two years ago. In his interview published on the official site of the UGCC, the new bishop spoke about the activities of the Uniates in Bukovina.

In particular, he said that the diocese needs seminarians and priests, as well as donors, "especially those who deal with our projects".

In his opinion, the Greek Catholic priests are “like universal soldiers” who “work in all directions, because we have missionary territories”.

The bishop of the UGCC noted that the Uniate Church in Bukovina is poorly developed and efforts are needed to develop this territory: “We are not in Galicia, this is Bukovina and very often it is necessary to start everything from scratch: to begin the construction of new temples, chapels, parish houses, youth centres, and catechism classes.”

That is why, he says, "there is a great need for priests who would not be afraid to take risks".

The UGCC hierarch compared Bukovina with the “unknown land”, which God suggested Abraham should go: “Just as God tells Abraham: leave this and go there. In such a situation, you had to take a risky decision – to go to an unknown land, where you are called.”

According to him, from November 18, 2017, when the Chernovtsy diocese of the UGCC was established, the number of priests increased from 13 to 18. In addition, 4 deacons, 7 seminarians appeared, among whom 5 study in different seminaries, and 2 students who receive higher education in Rome at the Faculty of Canon Law.

He also noted that in addition to the three Greek Catholic churches that are already in Chernovtsy, the authorities allocated three land plots to the Uniates – “two for building churches, and one for the curia”.

At the same time, the number of parishes in the diocese is also increasing. So, initially there were 17 parishes, however, at the moment, the Chernovtsy Uniates, according to the bishop, “opened a missionary village in Novodnistrovsk and intend to open in Bolshoy Kucherov, Mikhalche and other such small towns to expand our presence where people want and need it."

As reported earlier, Maria Filipchuk, a believer in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, is engaged in illegal transfers of the UOC communities to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the Chernovtsy region.

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