More than 3,000 pilgrims from the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church welcomed Pope Francis, amid applause at St. Peter's Basilica.
The ceremony took place to mark the 50th anniversary since the relics of Ukrainian martyr St. Josaphat were transferred to the Basilica.
"Blessed Father. Beloved by all Ukrainians, Pope Francis!”
The enthusiasm from the major archbishop for the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, was evident as he greeted Pope Francis in the Pope's native language.
Along with the much larger Ukrainian group, a smaller Greek-Catholic delegation from Belarus attended. The Pope spoke about how St. Josaphat is an example of the communion of saints.
"The memory of this martyred saint speaks to us about the communion of saints, of the communion of life between all of the people who belong to Christ.”
The Pope added that the best way to honor St. Josaphat is to love and serve towards the unity of the Church. He called on Ukrainians to build stronger relationships with other Churches.
"I hope that the deep communion that you wish to strengthen each day within the Catholic Church, will help you build bridges of fraternity also with other Churches and ecclesiastical communities in Ukrainian land, and wherever your communities are present.”
St. Josaphat was a Ukrainian Greek-Catholic bishop from the 17th Century, beatified by the Catholic Church in 1643, and canonized by Pius IX in 1867.