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Unrest in Ukraine brings new ecumenical opportunities, Catholic cardinal reports

June 17, 2014

Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, the retired Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, reports that ecumenical relations with the Ukrainian Orthodox have improved during the recent months of political unrest in Ukraine.

Historically, the cardinal explains, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church- Moscow Patriarchate has taken its lead from the Russian Orthodox Church, which has been hostile to Byzantine Catholics in Ukraine. But now, with Russia showing its determination to dominate Ukraine, the Orthodox are more receptive to talks with Ukrainian Catholics.

Speaking to Catholic World Report, Cardinal Husar says that Church leaders, Orthodox and Catholic, were sympathetic to the “Maidan movement.” He says: “The Church was not an agent, but served.”

Cardinal Husar—who was leader of the Ukrainian Catholic Church from 2001 until his retirement in 2011—recalls that St. John Paul II referred to Ukraine as an “ecumenical laboratory.” He says that Ukrainian prelates—again, both Orthodox and Catholic—would prefer to speak directly with each other, rather than to be represented by officials at the Vatican or the Moscow patriarchate.


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