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Documentation: Press Releases of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine


[Translated from Ukrainian]

By the grace of God and with the blessing of ecclesial authorities, an ecumenical meeting took place in Vienna, Austria from June 30 - July 4, 1998 with the participation of delegates of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) and the Ukrainian Catholic Church (UGCC). The meeting was the initiative of the Catholic organization "Pro Oriente" and was directed by its president, Mr. Alfred Stirnemann.

Taking part in the meeting from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church were:

1. Most Reverend Augustine (Markevych),
                Bishop of Lviv and Drohobych,
                Delegation Head
2. Most Reverend Serhij (Hensitsky),
                Bishop of Ternopil and Kremenets
3. Protopresbyter, Rev. Basil Zayev
4. Mr. Andrij Savytsky

Delegates from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church included:

1. Most Reverend Lubomyr (Husar),
                Auxiliary Bishop to the Head of the
                Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church,
                Delegation Head.
2. Most Reverend Michael (Koltun),
                Bishop of Zboriv
3. Protopresbyter, Rev. Dr. Iwan Dacko
4. Mr. Myroslav Marynovych

The members of the ecclesial delegations from Ukraine thanked Cardinal Christoph Schonborn for his assistance in organizing the symposium and congratulated him on his election as president of the Austrian Conference of Bishops. They also expressed their thanks to Cardinal Franz Konig for his
role in the discussions.  The meeting was opened with speeches by each of the heads of the two delegations, where they explained their somewhat differing points of view and assessments of the religious situation in the western part of Ukraine.

Both sides conceded, with regret, that inter-confessional conflicts still exist between the Orthodox and the Greek-Catholics in Ukraine. The delegate members agree that this is contrary to the norms of Christian morals and that it has a negative effect on spiritual rebirth in Ukraine.

It was generally agreed that meetings with a set theme are both indispensable and indeed useful. Cooperation in the following fields was still necessary:
 - charitable activity and social services
 - the spiritual and moral development of younger generations
 - spiritual-developmental ministry in the armed forces
 - the spiritual healing and consolidation of society

Such cooperation is appropriate to Christian principles and encourages reconciliation in the spirit of Christian love.

Both sides condemned as incongruous with the ideals of Christian life any type of force - be it physical or moral - that is employed for the acquisition of church property, especially church buildings, on the part of any members of any confession.

The representatives of both Churches believe that the normalization of relations is possible if concrete measures designed to remove tensions in the relations between the Churches are employed. Such measures would demonstrate to the Faithful that tangible steps for the peaceful resolution
of conflicts are being taken on the part of their leaders.

Both delegations propose to the leadership of their Churches:
1. The use of appropriate measures that would end the occupation of church buildings as a method for resolving questions of church ownership throughout Ukraine
2. As soon as possible, resolve all existing conflict situations by peaceful negotiations in the manner set forth by the common working group in Bari, Italy in 1997, which would follow the established norms, especially those set forth in the communiqué (Bari, 1997).

Both Churches must respect the canonical decisions of each other and entrust their respective synodal commissions with the deeper study of those things which regard the relations between Orthodox and Greek-Catholic believers.  A common working group should develop a plan for the further regularization of relations between the Churches and the plan should be submitted to the
leadership of each Church for their review.

By agreement of all members of the delegations,

Bishop Augustine  Bishop Lubomyr
Bishop Serhij   Bishop Michael

Vienna, 4 July, 1998
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
Ukraina 290000
m. Lviv
Ploscha sv. Yura, 5
Tel./fax: ++ [38](0322)798693
Note:  These press releases are provided as on-going documentation of all news and events in the Byzantine Churches throughout the world.  The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is a different sui iuris Church than is the Byzantine-Ruthenian Catholic Church.  Please direct any questions regarding these press releases to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church at the above addresses. 
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