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Sviatoslav Shevchuk: A papal visit to Ukraine would help end the war

The archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church has invited the pope to Ukraine.

After five years of war in the Donbas, he dreams the pope's presence in the region will denounce this forgotten war and bring new winds of peace.

Archbishop Major, Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church

"For five years, Ukraine has been a victim of a war the pope has called a hybrid war. It is not only done with foreign weapons, but also with misinformation, and the distortion of the truth.

"The Holy Father's visit to Ukraine would be a very eloquent and symbolic way to end this war. Many believe this, not only Catholics." 

The trip was one of the proposals from the two days of meetings between Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church representatives, the pope and authorities of the Vatican. The archbishop is leaving the Eternal City very satisfied.

While he and other representatives arrived concerned about the role of Eastern Catholic Churches, they are returning home with hope for the future.

Major Archbishop, Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church

"Many wonder, with 'uniatism' condemned as a method to fully and visibly unite the Church of Christ, what happens with the Eastern Catholic Churches? The pope gave a very clear, eloquent and symbolic answer. The pope wants our Church, but also the other Eastern Catholic Churches, to 'develop and flourish.'"

The major archbishop also considers one of his main missions is to build positive relations with the Orthodox Church.

He explains that in the last five years, he has not been able to advance in dialogue with the Orthodox in his country who are dependent on the Moscow Patriarchate. However, he keeps knocking on his door, because he does not believe he is a threat.

Major Archbishop, Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church

"We do not want to be an obstacle, but catalysts of ecumenism. Not only do we want to understand why there are difficulties among us, but we want to be the first to announce this vital need for Christian unity, of which we must bear witness. We believe the ecumenical mission is part of the identity of an Eastern Catholic Church."

The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church is the second largest Catholic tradition, after Latin. It has between 6 and 10 million faithful, especially in Ukraine, but also in Poland, Canada, USA and Brazil.