On November 9, Patriarch Sviatoslav took part in the International Assembly of Senior Abbots of Monastic Ranks and Congregations of the UGCC, which is being held in Rome.
This is reported by the Department of Information of the UGCC.
Addressing the monastic abbots, the Primate noted how the war forced a completely new rethink of the meaning of space and time.
The head of the UGCC expressed gratitude to His Holiness Father Francis and the entire Apostolic capital for the fact that the Vatican is worried about Ukraine and opens up all its communication channels and all opportunities for the Ukrainian state to stop the war.
Patriarch Sviatoslav thanked Vladyka Michael Bubniy, Exarch of Odessa and head of the patriarchal Commission of monasticism of the UGCC, for “fulfilling the dream of our monasticism in New circumstances — to go beyond the borders of Ukraine in the activities of the patriarchal Commission for monasticism and bring together all our monasticism.”
The head of the UGCC said that the Synod of Bishops, which was held in Przemysl in July this year, approved a pastoral plan until 2030, which outlines the Synodal path of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
“We want to be the Church that is experiencing pastoral conversion, a church that is looking for new ways to best serve God’s people, to be close to those in need. We are looking for new channels to create unity in our affairs. We want to be the Church that heals wounds. Every community has its own wounds. Today, as Church, we see that God, as a healer of souls and bodies, gave the Church a very special medicine — a life-giving balm. It is the grace of the Holy Spirit, which works through the sacraments of the Church, which we, as a good Samaritan, must pour out on the wounds of our people, starting from the healing of our wounds,” the first hierarch said.
We want to be the Church, the Patriarch continued, that will be close to those who are the most marginalized, excluded, and poor. We want to be the Church that leans over the victims of this war, in particular over internally displaced persons in Ukraine, as well as over refugees who have left Ukraine by the millions.
“Your communities in Europe and North America should be open to accept them. Regardless of what language they speak, who they consider themselves confessionally. We must accept them as our brothers and sisters,” the Primate stressed.
“When the war started, 500 people often spent the night in the crypts of our Patriarchal Cathedral. They took cats, dogs, parrots, hamsters, fish with them. In this I saw the Church as the ark of Noah, saving those people in the midst of a raging world, in the midst of death that lay in wait outside. We saw Russian helicopters circling over our Cathedral, how rockets flew before our eyes at high-rise buildings in Kyiv. Where were people rushing to? To their Church. Because they knew that they would be received there, hugged, warmed, fed and comforted,” the Head of the UGCC said.
“We want to be a church that is not easily closed in its bomb shelters, but it turns out that the Basilian Fathers came out to serve the Divine Liturgy in the Kyiv Metro,” His Beatitude Sviatoslav said and stressed: “I want us to remember especially the fathers in the occupied territories, because now it is more difficult for them. I spoke personally to the Holy Father about their fate: about the Basilian Fathers in Kherson, in the Crimea, about the Redemptorist fathers in Berdyansk, about the fathers of the Incarnate Word in Skadovsk — about our newest confessors of the Gospel of Christ in extraordinary circumstances.”
“Those who survived the confession in the Kyiv Metro under bombs will never forget the loving mother face of their church,” the head of the UGCC stressed.
“One of our priests in Zaporizhia, the Russian military called a priest who smells of bread. Because he was carrying bread and smelled it. The smell of bread for him was a document that opened all Russian roadblocks,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.
“I am proud that we have such a monasticism that is ready to serve its church where it is most difficult, where there is the greatest need. Then, when we serve others, we solve many internal problems. We heal our wounds, overcome difficulties,” the head of the UGCC stressed.
As reported, on November 9-12 in Rome (Italy) the second international assembly of the highest abbots of the UGCC is being held. It it held once every five years. During this event, a roadmap is being developed — a program for the activities and development of monastic communities.