“I would personally be very happy to see a free, independent Russian church, without excessive association with the state”


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On July 3, 2009, an interview with His Beatitude Lubomyr, Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, was published in the newspaper "Levyj Bereh." In the interview, the Head of the UGCC was asked why Greek-Catholics are "moving" to the East, what are the prospects for the relationship with the Moscow Patriarchate and how to unify a country that has been so divided politically and spiritually.

For many online editions, this publication spurred the writing of many information messages. Key phrases used by journalists included the visit to Ukraine by Patriarch Cyril, which is planned for the end of July to the beginning of August, and the relations between the Church and the state. "He is coming to visit the faithful, who serve him very loyally, and this is very natural. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church, under the leadership of His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr, is very excited for his visit. They are closely connected to him. He is the Head, Patriarch, and it is a joyous moment for the believers of this Church. But we have to ask ourselves: is he coming to visit Ukraine or to visit the believers?" quoted the public representatives of His Beatitude Lubomyr.

Another cited quote from the interview included: "It is not a secret that Russia wants Ukraine under its influence and that it disagrees with our aspirations as a state and nation. As I see it, we want to be good neighbors. We want to co-operate with them, to respect each other as partners, not as a part of Russia but as an independent Ukrainian state. With Russia as a neigbor, we can trade, we can exchange ideas and other gifts, however we must maintain our own separate identity."

The Head of the UGCC acknowledged that, "the Church is in a union with the Roman Apostolic See, however this does not make us any less Ukrainian because Ukraine is our home. When Pope John Paul II visited Ukraine, he encouraged us to love our country, to serve it and not Rome. Thus, the Church does not depend on a nation or state. It is disappointing for me to see the mixing up of church and state interests, as it never truly benefits the church."

The Head of the UGCC said that he would personally like to see a free, independent Russian church without excessive association with the state. "In order to live and to develop, the Church must in essence be fully free, and I want very much for the Russian church to develop spiritually as a good, strong Church for their nation. Everyone would benefit from this," His Beatitude Lubomyr explained.[pS]=1241971223&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=1309&tx_ttnews[backPid]=1&cHash=eba13dfb7e