March 30, 2011.
During the general audience, the Pope greeted the new primate of the Greco-Catholic Church of Ukraine, it's the largest of the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome. Sviatoslav Shevchuk was elected last week by the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Synod of Bishops. He will now lead the 7 ½ million people that follow the Eastern Church.Benedict XVI“Today I have the joy to greet His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the new Major Archbishop of Kiev-Halyc.”
In recognition of the visit, the pope remembered the martyrs of their Church, which was heavily subjected during the Soviet era. He also recognized Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, the primate who recently resigned for health reasons.Benedict XVI“You will guide this Church in the Faith in Jesus Christ following your own tradition and spirituality, in communion with the See of Peter, which is a visible bond of unity for which so many have not hesitated to deliver even life itself.”
The new primate will meet privately with Pope Benedict XVI to ask for the transformation of Ukraine’s Greco-Catholic Church into a patriarchate. Something they have a historic right to and would give them greater autonomy, but it's something that John Paul II and Benedict XVI have been postponing in hopes to avoid tension with the Russian Orthodox Church, which is the main Christian community in the region.