On September 8, at a meeting of Eastern Catholic Bishops of Europe in Budapest, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, presented practical aspects of the activities of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC, in particular in the context of coronavirus.
The primate noted that the UGCC, as one of the Eastern Catholic churches, lives and is guided in its structure by the principles of synodality and collegiality.
The Synod of bishops currently includes 53 bishops from four continents.
According to him, the Synod usually takes place once a year at a set time in the first decade of September in the Recollection center of the Lviv Archdiocese (Bryukhovichi village) or in another relevant city, previously determined by the head of the church, with the consent of the Permanent Synod. If it is planned that the Synod will be held outside the mother territory, then this requires the consent of the Apostolic capital. So, in recent years, the Synod has been held outside of Ukraine in Philadelphia, USA (2007), Curitiba, Brazil (2011), Winnipeg, Canada (2012), Rome, Italy (2019).
His Beatitude Sviatoslav drew attention to the fact that the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 made adjustments to the life of the Church around the world and made it impossible to hold a Synod of bishops in the usual way. Nevertheless, based on the recommendations received from the Holy See, the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC was able to carry out its activities in 2020-2021 in the format of online sessions.
As a preparatory stage for the Synod’s plenary session, during the first half of 2020, the Synod held three regional meetings for bishops of each of the four regions:
1) USA and Canada;
2) South America and Australia;
3) Western and Central Europe;
At these regional meetings, three blocks of issues were discussed, respectively: pastoral, canonical and economic. Therefore, at the end of September 2020, a plenary session of the Synod of bishops was held with the participation of all bishops from Ukraine and settlements.
Read the full text of the report of the head of the UGCC “Practical aspects of the activities of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC” here.
“In 2021, we decided to slightly improve the Synodal act by distributing the plenary sessions of the Synod of bishops for the whole year. In addition, during the interplanetary period, we hold regional online meetings according to last year’s scheme. Thus, this year the Synod of Bishops will hold four online sessions, which will be attended by all members of the Synod of Bishops, as well as two regional meetings,” the head of the Church said.
“We share with you these best practices of ours in the hope that this ecclesiastical experience of ours, acquired and developed over the decades, will serve you in your collegial and synodal work,” His Beatitude Sviatoslav said, addressing the Eastern Catholic Bishops of Europe, adding: “on our part, we will be glad to welcome you to our synodal meetings and ask for prayer for our bishops, for the Synod of Bishops and for our entire Church.”