Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic and Roman Catholic Churches in Ukraine Hold Joint Spiritual Retreat


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On Sunday, in the Kyiv church of St. Oleksandr, the spiritual exercises (retreats) of the bishops of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) and the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) in Ukraine began with a Liturgy. The spiritual exercises last for three days in the seminary of the Kyivan-Zhytomyr Diocese of the RCC in Vorzel. The studies are led by Bishop Emeritus Stanislav Padewski.

"This is about human rapprochement. We want not only to meet but also to stay together for three days in an atmosphere of spiritual renewal, to socialize, to exchange spiritual experience. This draws people together," said the head of the UGCC Patriarch Lubomyr.

As the head of the UGCC reported, about 15 years ago "we met at joint meetings, celebrated together. Then this tradition stopped. But the last three years we began to think how we could restart this communication." According to His Beatitude Lubomyr, about two years ago Bishop Markian Trofymiak, a Roman Catholic bishop from Lutsk, suggested to restart the joint spiritual exercises. Since that time two spiritual meetings have taken place in the Joseph Slipyj Retreat Center of the UGCC in Bryukhovychi and in Lviv Spiritual Seminary of the RCC, but this will be the first retreat that will last for three days.

As the head of the UGCC noted, the Roman Catholic Church has a long history in Ukraine. It is not a church of Kyivan tradition, but it is here historically. In the past this church was made up mostly of non-Ukrainians. Only since the 20th century have Ukrainians made up a large number of members of this church on Ukrainian territory. "This gave the church a special character. It became more local. While there was that difference, the two national churches barely communicated. We are on the same territory, we belong to the Universal Catholic Church, and we wish to cooperate," underlined His Beatitude Lubomyr.

The head of the UGCC said: "We are closely incorporated through the successor of Saint Peter the pope of Rome. In essence of faith there is no difference between our churches. We believe just the same, but we have many historical and cultural differences. Thus, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is a national church of its own right. It has its own synod, own structure, and own spiritual and theological tradition... At the same time there are certain points of misunderstanding, mainly at the practical-pastoral level. To overcome these problems we have to show care and respect to the tradition and needs of the other side. Only by formal declarations or appeals to the law can the matter be resolved. If there will be a friendly spirit and friendly attitude, then we will reach an understanding."

Source: Information Department of the UGCC