UGCC awaits Vatican’s clarification on the Pope's words about Mother Russia

29 August 13:09
Head of the UGCC Sviatoslav Shevchuk. Photo: Head of the UGCC Sviatoslav Shevchuk. Photo:

The UGCC head said that the pontiff’s words about Russia are “the worst example of imperialism”, as they “inspire the neo-colonial ambitions of the aggressor country.”

The UGCC is awaiting an explanation from the Vatican regarding the statements of Pope Francis about the greatness of Russia, spoken up during an online meeting with the Catholic youth of the Russian Federation. This is discussed in the statement of the head of the Ukrainian Uniates Sviatoslav Shevchuk.

At the beginning of the statement, he called the words of the pontiff "attributed to His Holiness" and expressed the hope that they "were uttered spontaneously, without any attempt at historical assessments, let alone support of Russia's imperialist ambitions."

“Nonetheless, we share the great pain which they caused, not only among the episcopate, clergy, monastics, and faithful of our Church, but also among other denominations and religious organizations,” continues Shevchuk. “At the same time, we are also aware of the deep disappointment that they have caused in society. The words about "the great Russia of Peter I, Catherine II, that empire – great, enlightened, a country of great culture and great humanity" – the worst example of imperialism and extreme Russian nationalism. There is a danger that these words could be taken as supporting the very nationalism and imperialism that has caused the war in Ukraine today — a war that brings death and destruction to our people every day.”

According to the head of the UGCC, the examples given by the pope "contradict his teachings on peace, since he has always condemned any form of manifestation of imperialism in the modern world and warned of the dangers of extreme nationalism, stressing that it is the cause of the 'third world war in segments'.”

“As a Church, we wish to state that in the context of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, such statements inspire the neo-colonial ambitions of the aggressor country, even though such a way of “being Russian” should be categorically condemned. In order to avoid any manipulation of the intentions, context and statements attributed to the Holy Father, we await a clarification of this situation from the Holy See,” writes the head of the UGCC.

He expressed the hope that the pope would "hear the voice" of the Ukrainian Greek Catholics.

Shevchuk added that a meeting of the Synod of the UGCC would take place in Rome in a few days, and the UGCC bishops will have the opportunity to “meet with His Holiness and personally convey to him the doubts and pain of the Ukrainian people, trusting in his parental care for them.”

Earlier, the UOJ reported that during an online meeting with young Russian Catholics, the RCC leader called them "heirs of the great Mother Russia" and urged them "never to forget about this heritage" and not to give it up.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry stated that “it is precisely with such imperialist propaganda <...> that the Kremlin justifies the murders of thousands of Ukrainians and Ukrainian women and the destruction of hundreds of Ukrainian cities and villages.”

The UOJ also wrote that the other day Sviatoslav Shevchuk expressed gratitude to the Pope "for his spiritual care for the suffering Ukrainian people and his voice of truth regarding the Ukrainian issue."

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