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Ukrainian Catholic leader thankful for meeting between Pope, Russian patriarch

May 31, 2016

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church expressed gratitude for the meeting that took place on February 12 between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.

While expressing reservations about portions of the joint declaration that was signed at the meeting, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk said that “we are very thankful to God that it finally happened, because for decades we as Ukrainian Greek Catholics were called an obstacle for that meeting.”

Referring to the reservations, the Major Archbishop said:

But the Holy Father, many times when I had the chance to talk to him, underlined that for him the most important (thing) is a person and not a paper, a meeting and not a declaration, cooperation and not some theoretical thinking, some philosophical statements, because that theory would come and go, a declaration would be forgotten, but the gesture of open arms will remain …

I think really that he’s under the motion of the Holy Spirit, which brings him to appreciate the dignity of the human person regardless of what confession, Church or political background that person comes from. I think this is how we Christians are supposed to bring our witness to Christ in the future, and I think in that motion of the Holy Spirit we can build unity.


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