Israel dismisses Andrey Sheptitsky as a Righteous Man of the Nations again
The UGCC believes that recognizing Met. Andrey Sheptitsky as the Righteous Man among the nations is “a matter of honor and credit to the Moses of the Ukrainian people”.
On January 9, 2020, the Israeli national Holocaust and Heroism Memorial turned down the appeal of representatives of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church of November 17, 2019 to recognize Metropolitan Andrey Sheptitsky as a “holy man of the nations”. The priest of the UGCC Justin (Yuri) Boyko informed the resource “Spiritual Valor of Lviv” about this.
“As you know, the issue of rewarding Metropolitan Andrey has been raised and discussed more than once by a special commission to award this honorary title,” says the official answer of the Yad Vashem Institute, signed by Katya Gusarova, head of the CIS sector in the Righteous Among the Nations Department. “Among the members of the commission was Rabbi David Kahane, who participated in the discussion of this issue. Due to well-known reasons (cooperation with the German occupiers, participation in the creation of the SS division "Galicia"), the commission did not take a positive decision."
At the same time, the official representative of the Institute noted that, “like any other case of the salvation of Jews during the Second World War, which was rejected by the Commission, the case of Metropolitan Andrey can be returned for re-consideration if documents and testimonies so far unknown have been received which "cover the activity of the metropolitan during the German occupation in a new way."
Commenting on the current situation, the Uniate Priest Yuri Boyko emphasized that the UGCC is very hopeful of beatification of Andrey Sheptitsky, but this issue is “closely intertwined with the process of the latter’s recognition as the Holy Man among the Nations of the World.” According to him, it will take a lot of time “in order to properly understand and comprehend the legacy” of the Metropolitan, whose “personality was defamed” for decades by entire departments of the Soviet special services, because they “perfectly understood that he is a symbol not only of the UGCC but also of independent Ukraine.”
“The recognition of Metropolitan Andrey as the Righteous among the Nations of the World for Ukrainians is a matter of historical justice, while for the Jews saved by him it is a matter of honor and duty to ‘Moses’ of the Ukrainian people, since in the 20th century during World War II, he also became a kind of Moses, who saved them from the destruction by the totalitarian fascism,” assures Boyko.
Recall, Metropolitan Andrey Sheptitsky is the eighth supreme archbishop of Lviv, Metropolitan of Galicia, primate of the UGCC. Sheptitsky is considered a great patriot of Ukraine, often called the “spiritual leader” and “spiritual authority” of the Ukrainian people. At the same time, there are other, directly opposing opinions related to the fact that during the Great Patriotic War, the Greek Catholic Church, headed by Sheptitsky, supported the German invaders. The issue of awarding the title of Righteous among the Nations to Andrey Sheptitsky has been considered in Israel more than once, but the commission rejected this proposal each time.
As the UOJ reported, earlier the Church Order of Andrey Sheptitsky was established in the UGCC to distinguish those who "bring to life the principles which the righteous metropolitan would live by and serve the Church and people."