People in the square turned to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and other churches asking to be with them and pray together. Indeed, at a time when the lack of dialogue between the government and the citizens who believe in God feel a special need to strengthen the prayer for peace and tranquility in our country, the cessation of violence and trampling the dignity and the constitutional rights of the citizens of Ukraine .
This was stated by His Beatitude Svyatoslav ( Shevchuk), Father and Head of the UGCC, during a press conference at the ” Ukrainian News ” 13 January 2014.
In this case, the hierarch said that such behavior of priests is an embodiment of ideas expressed by Pope Francis in his last year’s message, ” The Joy of the Gospel ” that pastors need to be with people, because “a pastor should have the smell of his sheep .”
During the press conference the declaration of the head of the UGCC on the letter of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine on the grounds for termination of Religious Organizations Church was made public.
His Beatitude Svyatoslav said that for the first time since the independence of Ukraine the threat ” on the termination of the respective religious organizations” was voiced. This is stated in an official letter to the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine from 03.01.2014 (№ 1/3/13-14) signed by First Deputy Minister Timofiy Kokhan (see attached) .
The reason for such a reaction of the government is a religious activity , which is allegedly executed by ” the representatives , in particular of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, on Independence Square in Kyiv during December of last year and in the new – 2014, to violate the law of Ukraine on freedom of conscience and religious organization”.
The Head of UGCC said that the Church is not a member of the political process , but it can not stand by when its faithful ask for spiritual care . To be with his faithful is the priest duty , which is connected with the very mission of the Church .
“Our church has always been true to this mission that Christ entrusted to our Church and will remain so for the future and despite any threats ,” – stressed the Head.
Speaking of the official position of the UGCC on the actual socio-political situation, His Beatitude Svyatoslav said that it is described in a number of applications , both on behalf of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, andcommon with the members of AUCCRO.
“The Church reserves the right to assess the situation in the country , if human rights and the principles of public morality flowing from God’s law and reflected in the social teaching of the Church are violated,” – said in a statement the Head of the UGCC .
In conclusion, the patriarch has repeatedly stated that the only way to solve the socio- political crisis in Ukraine is honest and open dialogue between all parties, the starting point of which is the willingness of the authorities to listen to their people.
UGCC Department of Information