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Russian Orthodox official urges Vatican action on Ukrainian church dispute

Catholic World News - September 13, 2011

The Russian Orthodox Church’s chief ecumenical officer has told the Reuters news agency that the principal obstacle to a meeting between Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill is the dispute over parishes in the Ukraine.

Following World War II, the Stalin regime violently suppressed the Eastern-rite Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, confiscated its parishes, and turned them over to the Russian Orthodox Church. Approximately 500 of these parishes reverted to Ukrainian Catholic use following the collapse of Communism.

While Pope Benedict has shown “more sensitivity to the Orthodox tradition than his predecessor,” Archbishop Hilarion said that “not very much was done or is being done in order to solve this problem” in the Ukraine.

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  • Posted by: damian.riggs8445 - Sep. 13, 2011 2:13 PM ET USA

    Clearly, without the authoritarian communist government to "maintain order" these parishes have returned to their true selves. Even given the exterior appearance of being Russian Orthodox, these parishes hearts remain Greek. Is this not what it means to "WORSHIP in SPIRIT and TRUTH?"

  • Posted by: John Chrysostom - Sep. 13, 2011 11:19 AM ET USA

    Unspoken here is the solution the Moscow Patriarchate wants. They want the 500 church buildings confiscated by Stalin and given to them back. That these 500 parishes were Greek Catholic for hundreds of years and returned to being Greek Catholic when Communism fell is irrelevant to them. It is an incredible lack of Christian charity by the MP.

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