Ukrainians Hoping for '12 Papal Visit


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KIEV, Ukraine, MAY 25, 2010 ( The archbishop of Lviv says Benedict XVI has been invited to visit Ukraine in 2012, to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the change of the Church's headquarters from Galich to Lviv.

Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki announced today that the invitation has been made, clarifying that no official dates were set.

The archbishop -- who worked in the private secretariat of Pope John Paul II and then of Benedict XVI -- added that possible dates are to be analyzed so that the Holy See can give an official confirmation.

It would be the second papal visit to Ukraine after the nation's 1991 independence. John Paul II visited in 2001.

The visit would have particular importance in the context of ecumenical relations with the Orthodox Church, which is one of Benedict XVI's priorities.

Ukraine has a population of some 45 million, with about 80% of them belonging to branches of the Orthodox Church. About 10% of Ukrainians are either Greek or Roman Catholic.