Catholic World News

Cardinal suggests joint commission to study historical Catholic-Orthodox disputes in Ukraine

February 15, 2017

The president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity has suggested the creation of a joint commission to resolve historical disputes between the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Byzantine-rite Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Cardinal Kurt Koch said that such a commission might help with the “purification of memory” that could ease tensions between the two Ukrainian churches. “Without memory healing, it is difficult to imagine a common future,” he said.

Cardinal Koch offered this suggestion at a meeting of Catholic and Russian Orthodox leaders, marking the anniversary of the meeting between Pope Francis and Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, which took place last year in Havana.

Russian Orthodox leaders complain frequently about the activities of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, which they regard as a source of division in Ukraine and a violation of their “canonical territory.” There are also many disputes about the ownership of church properties, which were confiscated from the Ukrainian Catholic Church during the Stalinist era and handed over to Orthodox parishes.

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  • Posted by: Gregory108 - Feb. 16, 2017 4:00 AM ET USA

    Strange that fewer or no tensions exist between the independent Ukrainian Orthodox churches and the Greek Catholic Church than between the Russian-backed Ukrainian Orthodox Church, headed by Patriarch Kiril and Vladimir Putin. This might suggest that the tensions are based, not in religious differences, but in Ukrainian nationalism and patriotism against an imperialistic Russian government and a similarly actively- "imperialistic" Russian Orthodox Church with their supposed canonical territory.