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Ukrainian Catholic leader creates jurisdiction in eastern Ukraine

Catholic World News - April 02, 2014

Amid continued tensions between Russia and Ukraine, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has created a new ecclesiastical jurisdiction headquartered near the Russian border.

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk created the Archiepiscopal Exarchate of Kharkiv “with the consent of the Synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and after consulting with the Apostolic See,” according to the Holy See Press Office, and has named a Kiev monk, Father Vasyl Tuchapets, to be its first prelate. Pope Francis has confirmed the creation of the new see and the choice of the first bishop.

Kharkiv is Ukraine’s second-largest city and is the largest city in eastern Ukraine, the area of the nation with the strongest pro-Russian sympathies. The creation of a new Eastern-rite Catholic see there will probably draw protests from the Russian Orthodox Church, which still regards Ukraine as its "canonical territory" and has frequently protested the activities of the Ukrainian Catholic Church there.

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