Pope Francis meets all Ukrainian church leaders for first time

Pope Francis has met a delegation from the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organisations (UCCRO) in the first such visit to the Vatican by a Ukrainian interfaith association.

Source: Vatican News; Metropolitan Epiphanius, the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, on Telegram, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, on Facebook

Details: Ukrainska Pravda’s sources state that Archpriest Mykola Danylevych, the Deputy Head of the Department of External Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, was present at the meeting instead of Metropolitan Onufriy, Head of the UOC MP.


Quote from Pope Francis: "I thank you for your unity: this, for me, is something great, like the children of a family – one here, another there, another over there, but when their mother is sick, they all come together. This is not so much about Jewish Ukraine, Christian Ukraine, Orthodox Ukraine, Catholic Ukraine, Islamic Ukraine..., no, it is about Ukraine, ‘mother’ Ukraine, for whose sake everyone is coming together! This is an example in the face of the superficiality seen in our culture today."


Details: The Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine reported that during the meeting, the Ukrainian delegation had asked Pope Francis to continue his prayers for Ukraine and to fight for truth.


The Pope assured them that he is praying for Ukraine. "Be in no doubt, I am praying for you! I carry you in my heart and I beg God to have mercy on these brave people [of Ukraine - ed.]!" he said.

Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), in turn, said that during the meeting he handed over lists of imprisoned doctors to the Pope. "I handed over to the Holy Father the lists of prisoned medics that I received the day before from the Honourable Council of the Order of Saint Panteleimon," he said.

He also thanked the Pope for his letter to the Ukrainian people, his spiritual closeness with our martyr nation, humanitarian solidarity and international support for Ukraine.

Francis assured that "he is with us in the effort to free captives and political prisoners", and stated that he "prays for Ukraine every day".

Background: Fifteen churches and religious organisations and one inter-church organisation, including the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC MP), are part of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organisations (UCCRO).

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