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Pope pays tribute to fidelity of Ukraine’s Greek Catholics

Catholic World News - June 23, 2014

Pope Francis has paid tribute to the fidelity of Ukraine’s Eastern Catholics in a letter commemorating the 25th anniversary of the restoration of religious liberty for the Greek Catholic Eparchy of Mukachevo.

The commemoration of the anniversary will take place on June 28 in Uzhhorod, the site of the 1646 agreement in which 63 Eastern Orthodox priests entered into full communion with the Holy See. Following World War II, Joseph Stalin’s Communist regime brutally suppressed the eparchy (diocese), which is the mother eparchy of the Eastern Catholic churches of the Ruthenian tradition and is immediately subject to the Holy See. In 1989, the Ruthenian Catholic eparchy was able to emerge from the underground.

In his Latin-language letter, dated June 9 and released on June 21, the Pope said that the Greek Catholics who “experienced persecution against the Church” gave a “most beautiful example of faith.” Pope Francis noted that Blessed Theodore Romzha (1911-1947), bishop of the eparchy and martyr, “merited to attain the glorious palm [of martyrdom] on account of his untiring fidelity to the Church.”

The Pope called upon those who take part in the commemoration to “manifest, with new strength and new diligence, their personal love for Christ and the Church” and to “be ardent in the virtue of faith.”

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