According to representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate, the recent establishment of three new metropolitanates of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church will complicate the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue in Ukraine. So reported RIA NEWS.
“We are always concerned over activization of Catholics at the territories which are not considered Catholic. Ukraine is not considered a Catholic region. Reforms of the Church structures are an internal matter of UGCC but establishment of metropolitanates is an indication that they strengthen their positions which will inevitably cause tension in the Orthodox-Catholic relations in Ukraine,” stated the Secretary of the Department of External Church Relations, Fr. Dmytro Syzonenko.
Many actions of UGCC in the post-perestroika period are viewed by the Russian Orthodox Church as aggressive expansion to the east, to the canonical territories of the Moscow Patriarchate.
As RISU reported, on 8 November, the head of UGCC, Patriarch Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) stated that 3 new metropolitanates are established. The rise of new metropolitanates is an important step towards the proclamation of the patriarchate of UGCC. “We are going to establish three metropolitanates. Today, in Ukraine, there is only one metroplitanate, that of Kyiv and Halych. This structure of our metropolitanate reflects the state of our Church at the time of the Kyivan Rus. There was one metropolitanate who was de facto the head of the local church and ruled over the bishops of his territory. Obviously, for more than a thousand years, our Church has developed, particularly, in Ukraine. Today, this natural state of development of the Church structure needs improvement. Therefore, to be able to provide better pastoral care to our faithful, by the decision of the Synod of Bishops of UGCC and with the blessing of the Apostolic See, we have established three new Metropolitanates,” said the primate.
According to the patriarch, on 29 November, Lviv Metropolitanate will be proclaimed and on 13 and 22 December, Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil Metropolitanate is to be proclaimed. UGCC then will have 7 metropolitanates.