On 11 November 2021, Patriarch Sviatoslav, the head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church met with Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, to discuss a myriad of topics related to their Churches' relationship. According to a summary of the meeting released by the UGCC, the topics appeared to be deeply rooted in the spirit of social justice. Here is an excerpt of the Patriarchal Secretariate's Report:
During the meeting between Pope and Patriarch, special attention was paid to the humanitarian situation in Ukraine amid the pandemic. His Beatitude Sviatoslav told the Roman Pontiff that “the modern post-Soviet economy has creation conditions where the rich become richer and the poor poorer. A small oligarchic group is enriched by the destruction of small and medium-sized businesses. The middle class is disappearing, and people are quickly falling into poverty. People are afraid of winter since prices are rising. The energy war against Ukraine adds to the aggravation. These problems are compounded by the war in eastern Ukraine, which has not stopped since 2014. " The head of the UGCC thanked Pope Francis for his constant prayers and support for Ukraine. ...
His Beatitude Sviatoslav also touched upon the issue of emigration, pointing out that in the years since independence, about 10 million people have left Ukraine. "Our Church has followed the faithful since its earliest days of emigration. The motto of our Patriarchal Council is "Your Church is always and everywhere with you."
Pope Francis praised the pastoral care of the UGCC: "This is the synodal path in action, when you seek your faithful, follow them and serve them."
The Pope also heard about the UGCC Synod's pastoral letter in 2021. His Beatitude told His Holiness about the ideas present in the document, namely pastoral conversion: “It is about changing the way of pastoral care, the ways the bishop and the clergy, priests and faithful relate. The horizontal network of relationships brings people together. It creates communication in communion. This is fundamental to us. ”
"One of the priorities of the pastoral plan," said the Patriarch Sviatoslav, "is the healing of various traumas: those that were provoked in different periods of our people's history, as well as modern ones, caused by the abuse of power in the Church, and so on." This trauma needs immediate treatment. We strive to understand the traumas of modern people, to be sensitive to their needs, to open the medicine of Divine grace and the Holy Mysteries.
While discussing the pandemic, the two bishops also discussed family life. According to His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the family has become "the most effective hospital for treating patients with coronavirus." That is why the role of the family in public and church life needs to be rethought. "We cannot talk about a living parish without a family. This is the ultimate way a parish can be inclusive and serve modern people. "
His Beatitude Sviatoslav also told the Holy Father about the Church's service to the poor and marginalized. The "Feed the Poor" campaign has become a concrete manifestation of Christian charity in our parishes. Christians need to feel solidarity with the poor. Many of our faithful have returned from "online" to parish life through this kind of charitable work. We especially marked the Day of the Poor in the Catholic Church through our charitable work since that is a lifeline for many families amid the pandemic."