International Symposium on Greek Catholic Church Held in Poland


  • Category:

LUBLIN - On November 28, 2009, in the Palace of Chortorysky in Lublin (Poland), an international symposium "Past and Present of the Greek Catholic Church" was held. The event was organized by the Ukrainian Greek Parish of Lublin and the Polish Academy of Sciences. The forum gathered the leading specialists in the field of history, art, and theology from Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus. Presenters at the symposium were researchers from the Lublin John Paul II Catholic University, the Maria Curie Sklodowska University, and the Central and Eastern European Institute.

The symposium's material focused on the attempt to liquidate the Greek Catholic Church within the limits of the old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. This year is the tragic 170th anniversary of the destruction by the authorities of the Russian Empire and Moscow Patriarchate of the Church, which in 1596 confirmed its unity with the Apostolic See. By coincidence, the destruction of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church began from the place of the Episcopal ministry of its martyr, Yosafat Kuntsevych. At that time, Polotska Eparchy held the second place after Kyiv and its importance was connected not only with its geographic position (the Kyivan Metropolitanate then bordered with the lands under the Swedish dominion) but also with the development of the missionary activity of its archpastor.

In 1839, the Polotska Union Archeparchy ceased to exist. In 36 years, in Kholm (now, Chelm, Poland), the ancient capital of the Galicia-Volyn state, where its king Danylo is buried, the tragic events repeated. Staring from 1875, the Kyivan Metropolitanate lost also the Kholm Eparchy, of which only its magnificent Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God (now, a basilica) is left. Only a little more than a century passed from 1839 before history repeated itself in Lviv. The only difference is that during the previous events, the Russian Empire by gradual, step-by-step liquidation of the union eparchies, advanced toward the total destruction of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. This activity was crowned with the Lviv Pseudo Sobor of 1946, where the intent of its initiators was fulfilled. The chain of the historic events points to the systematic activity against the unity of the Universal Church.

The year 1989 when the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was established, became a crucial point as to the realization by the general public that any forced actions cannot destroy the Church, which is a living organism. The spread of the evangelical-catechetical activities and the strengthening and development of administrative structures show the great potential of the UGCC.

In the end of the symposium, Senior Priest Stefan Batrukh presented on behalf of Patriarch Lubomyr, the head of the UGCC, an award to Archimandrite Roman Pientka who provided pastoral ministry to the faithful of the Greek Catholic Church in Pidlyashya region for 40 years.;33320/