Sessions of the Permanent Synod of the UGCC Concluded in New York

March 9, 2024, 21:35 161

On March 8, 2024, the regular 7th (78th) session of the Permanent Synod of the UGCC concluded in the United States of America.

Sessions of the Permanent Synod of the UGCC Concluded in New York

On March 4, four working sessions focused on preparations for the UGCC Synod of Bishops and the report of the UGCC Patriarchal Catechetical Commission. These discussions encompassed evangelization programs and the Church’s endeavors in providing pastoral care for refugees and internally displaced persons.

On March 5, the fifth and sixth meetings of the Bishops of the Permanent Synod took place. Bishop Yaroslav Pryriz began the session with a report on the activities of the Theological Department of the UGCC, which he chairs. The bishop specifically emphasized the recent publication of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC’s message in Ukraine on war and just peace within the context of new ideologies, titled “Rescue the oppressed from the hand of the oppressor” (Jer. 22:3), and its significance for Ukrainian society today.

Thus, Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski, chairman of the UGCC Pastoral Council, presented its activities, focusing on regional meetings in Lviv for representatives of the Council from Ukraine, in Wrocław (Poland) for representatives from Central and Western Europe, in Curitiba (Brazil) for Latin America and Australia, and Washington (USA) for representatives of the Pastoral Council from the United States and Canada. Bishop Kenneth noted that these international meetings occurred during the second half of January and early February. They provided an opportunity to address the local challenges of our Church in various parts of the world and exchange effective pastoral tools to enhance the Church’s ministry to our faithful, regardless of their location.

Bishop Kenneth described to the members of the Permanent Synod the condition of pastoral ministry in Ireland, where he serves as an Apostolic Visitor for Ukrainian Greek Catholics residing in both Ireland and Northern Ireland. The ongoing Russian war against Ukraine, according to the bishop, has significantly altered parish life and ministry, with many centers serving as havens for refugees and new immigrants.

It should be added that the Irish government reports that since the beginning of the full-scale war, Ireland has provided protection to 75 thousand Ukrainians. As of March 9, 2024, 65,000 Ukrainians still reside in the country, receiving temporary protection and financial and social support. At the same time, Ireland actively promotes the integration of Ukrainians.

The sixth meeting featured a presentation of the audit report of the Mission “Postulatory Center for the Beatification and Canonization of Saints of the UGCC,” delivered by Bishop Teodor Martyniuk, Auxiliary Bishop of the Ternopil-Zboriv Archeparchy of the UGCC. Fr. Taras Bublyk, recently appointed to foster cooperation between the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Pontifical Commission of New Martyrs — Witnesses of the Faith, also had the opportunity to report. The meeting concluded with a presentation by Fr. Andriy Soletsky on the preparations of the Catholic Church and the UGCC, particularly for the celebration of the 2025 anniversary.

Subsequently, on March 8, four working sessions of the Permanent Synod of the UGCC were held at once. The first of them focused on canonical issues, namely the presentation of the progress of the work on the Code of Canons of the UGCC by the head of the UGCC Canonical Department, Metropolitan Yevhen Popovych, Archbishop of Przemysl and Warsaw. In turn, Fr. Ivan Datsko told the bishops about the outcomes of the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church held in Alexandria.

During the second working session of the day, Fr. Lubomyr Yavorsky, Patriarchal Economist of the UGCC, presented to the bishops the activities of the Patriarchal Foundation “Wise Cause.” It’s worth emphasizing that the bishops of the Permanent Synod of the UGCC serve as the Supervisory Board of this foundation.

“The Patriarchal Foundation ‘Wise Cause’ serves as one of the instruments of the Church’s ministry. In the early days of our ministry, which coincided with the beginning of the full-scale invasion, we launched a number of emergency response initiatives. These initiatives included the evacuation and resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs), distribution of food and hygiene kits, establishment of Good Samaritan resilience centers, and provision of medical facilities with necessary supplies. Later, we shifted our focus to more sustainable projects, such as spiritual and rehabilitation trips for IDPs, the UGCC Logistics Center, the Charity Kitchen, the Free Children rehabilitation camp for children, and modular houses for IDP families. Today, we are discussing transformational, strategic projects at the Righteous Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky’s level. These include educational projects for the comprehensive restoration of communities — ‘Healing Communities’ and ‘Action in Hope.’ Additionally, we intensify our UGCC Consultation Center to help parish communities in developing social service and entrepreneurship. We cannot overlook the establishment of Wound Healing Centers and the launch of a network of Psychological Counseling Centers that provides both individual and group services to improve the mental health of Ukrainians,” said Fr. Lubomyr in a comment to the press service of the Secretariat of the UGCC Synod of Bishops.

At the same time, the priest emphasized that “today the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is becoming a beacon of hope for many of our compatriots. Through the period of ‘liquidation,’ persecution, and catacombs in the last century, we as a Church have developed a certain DNA of survival. It enables us today, with God’s help and His care, under the leadership of our Head, His Beatitude Sviatoslav, to provide support to people, regardless of their difficulties or suffering. Our primary goal in this difficult period of the Russian war against Ukraine is to instill hope in people through the proclamation of the Good News.”

At the third working session, Bishop Mykola Bychok, Bishop of the Eparchy of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, with its seat in Melbourne for Ukrainians in Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania, presented the current state of pastoral ministry on this continent.

“This was one of the most intensive Permanent Synods I can remember ever having. First, we are extremely grateful to the Lord God for this opportunity to gather on the hospitable American soil. We extend our heartfelt thanks to Metropolitan Borys, his team and all the faithful of our Church of the Philadelphia Metropolitanate for their hospitality and prayerful support. The next session of the Permanent Synod will be held in Germany, and we eagerly anticipate the opportunity to host the members of the Synod, led by our Father and Head of our Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav. We invite everyone to Germany and ask you to support this preparatory period, our Synod, and our entire Church with your prayers,” Bishop Bohdan Dzyurakh said in his commentary to the UGCC Information Department.

The meetings ended on the evening of March 8 with a joint prayer of gratitude.

The UGCC Department for Information
based on the materials of the press service of the Secretariat of the UGCC Synod of Bishops

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