The theme of the next Patriarchal Council of the UGCC is “Emigration, settlement and global unity of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church“. The slogan of the Council will be the phrase “Church is always and everywhere with you.” This was stated by the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Patriarch Sviatoslav, in his video message on the occasion of the next session of the UGCC Council, which will be held on August 26-29, 2020 in Lviv.
The UGCC information Department reports that the Head of the Church stressed the importance of the Council on emigration and global unity and noted how to prepare for it.
The head of the UGCC noted that today the phenomenon of emigration creates a completely new face of our Church. “We are expanding around the world and our Church has become global because of the fact that in different parts of the world its Church was spread by its children and faithful people. The Church is always and everywhere with you because you carry it within you wherever you live, work or study today,” His Beatitude Sviatoslav said.
The head of the Church believes that we should rethink what kind of Church we are today and how we should act together today.
According to the Primate, in preparation for this Council, diocesan or Exarchate councils should take place in each diocese and Exarchate of the UGCC all over the world, so that three questions could be raised within each diocese, Exarchate, or Metropolia:
First – where are we today? “Even within each local diocese today we see three phenomena of migration, immigration and emigration. Migration is when people move within their country, their state, even their diocese. And every time we move, we are in danger of falling out of the network of our communities. Immigration is when a lot of people come to us from abroad. How can they be integrated into parish communities? There is also the phenomenon of emigration when people leave our diocese, metropolis, Church, country. How do we find our faithful where they are today?” explained His Beatitude Sviatoslav.
The second question – what are we like today? How do we respond to the specific needs of our faithful? Наскільки наші структури, наші парафії відповідають сьогодні мережі фактичної присутності наших вірних?
“The Church must become dynamic and mobile following the mobility of our faithful. At your local diocesan councils, ask yourself whether the network of the presence of our parishes correspond to the actual presence of our faithful? How can we focus on going where we are not today? How do we go where we’re expected today? As far as our diocese, the parish meets the needs of pastoral care that our faithful have today,” the spiritual leader of Ukrainians believes.
The third question is, what should we do today, how should we be a Church today? His Beatitude Sviatoslav believes that “the phenomenon of the new atomization can be very dangerous if we do not find the appropriate elements, how to gather today, how to create a community in that dynamic movement? How can we be one global Church at different levels?”
To help process or comprehend these challenges, the head of the UGCC offered two tools: the message of the Synod of our Church entitled “Communion, unity in the life and service of our Church” and the Message of his Beatitude Sviatoslav “Our Saint Sophia”, which just speaks about the identity of our Church in the modern world. The text “Our Saint Sophia” also gives answers to the question of what elements of our identity as the Church of Kyivan Christianity can unite us.
His Beatitude Sviatoslav wished everyone to think creatively, responsibly and seriously at the councils about the questions: where we are, what we are, how we should be together.
The Primate expressed hope that the delegates elected at the diocesan councils will be real representatives of the communities at the Patriarchal Council of the UGCC – “Emigration, settlement and global unity of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church”.
The head of the Church also expressed hope that the Council in Lviv will help to work out a new pastoral strategy for the development of the UGCC. After all, the previous strategy called “Vibrant parish – a place of meeting the living Christ” was envisaged until 2020.