Pope begins two day meeting with Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church: Stay close to those who suffer
This is how the meeting of the pope with the major archbishop and main authorities of the Greek-Catholic Ukrainian Church began.
Pope Francis interrupted his holidays to participate in these two-day meetings. According to the Vatican, they will address the “delicate and complex situation in Ukraine.”
In his speech, the pope lamented the “hybrid conflict” that exists in Ukraine. He noted those responsible for these acts of war camouflage themselves. Pope Francis said he prays the politicians will seek common good and help build peace.
The war he is referring to is that which began in 2014 after the Russian annexation of the Crimea; and Moscow's support for pro-Russian separatists in the Ukrainian Donbás region.
The pope asked the Ukrainian Church to be close to the suffering people there. In January, a delegation from the Vatican went to the country to provide aid from the European collection gathered by the pope.
In this meeting, Pope Francis wanted to express two points:
1) To show his closeness to the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church.
2) To analyze the life and needs of Ukraine and see how the Greek-Catholic Church can fulfill its mission.
It is a question of preaching the Gospel, sustaining those who suffer; and promoting peace, in accordance with Catholic Church of the Latin rite, as well as the Orthodox Churches that exist in the country.
The situation for Christians in Ukraine is still very complex. In January, the Patriarchate of Constantinople recognized the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as independent from the Patriarchate of Moscow.
This caused the Patriarch of Moscow to break off relations with the Patriarch of Constantinople.
The Greek-Catholic Church has not engaged in this issue, so as to not complicate the delicate relations with the Russian Orthodox.