“The victims of Holodomor [Great Famine] were not only denied their right to life but also their right to memory,” UGCC Head

Monday, 25 November 2013, 15:05
His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) voiced this in an interview with published in the internet edition of Vatican Insider, a leading informational source for the life of the Catholic Church in the world.

In conversing with a renowned Vatican expert, Andrea Tornielli, UGCC Head described the ecumenical dialogue, the influence of Pope Francis on Christians in Ukraine and the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of  Holodomor of 1932-33.

“It is very unfortunate that Christians in Ukraine are divided among themselves,” stated His Beatitude Sviatoslav, “often the Orthodox Churches do not understand the sense of our existence, consider us a geo-political project of the past.  However, there are also positive signs: many Christians are tired of the splits and yearn for unity; the ecumenical movement is growing from “the bottom up.”   UGCC Primate contends that ecumenism cannot be an issue only for diplomats and politicians and a topic of conversation among a narrow group of theologians:  We have to preach ecumenism in our parishes, teach our faithful not to do anything that could harm their neighbors.    Pastors and confessors should begin to preach ecumenism in their parishes.”   His Beatitude Sviatoslav also said that the Christian Churches in Ukraine are standing “aside from the world ecumenical movement, they are almost ‘frozen’ in this process,” simultaneously acknowledging that “only Catholics in Ukraine have begun the period of re-thinking the Second Vatican Council.”

In answering the question of a journalist on the influence of Pope Francis in Ukraine, UGCC Head answered the he is “most stricken by the Pope’s simplicity and ability to be with people.  Very often bishops of various Churches in Ukraine are accused of excessive luxury in their life style and a creation of a Church for the wealthy. Pope Francis bears witness to a Church that is close to people, especially to the indigent, and proclaims the Gospel of Christ.”

In  referring to the 80th anniversary of Holodomor in Ukraine, UGCC Primate emphasized the significance  of the historical memory about this horrific event, since the victims of this  ghastly Holodomor were also denied the right of memory about them.”  “I would like to clarify,” he added, “we are not talking about a famine cause by natural catastrophes …  This was an artificially engineered famine, a cheap tool of destroying masses, a crime which when mentioned today, still freezes the blood in our veins.   At that time the Communists were selling the grain to western countries, some of them being conscious of the fact that the price was the death of people who perished from the famine.  I believe that commemorating the victims of this great tragedy will also grant us the possibility of expecting also international justice.”


UGCC Department of Information 


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