MP's destruction of 3 Orthodox eparchies is "restoring Justice" to Uniates
- Expert: What Moscow persistently calls the "destruction of three Orthodox eparchies" was first of all restoring historical justice
29.09.2009, [14:19] // Inter-Christian relations //
Greek Catholic Scholar Responds to Statement of Moscow Patriarchate Representative Made During Meeting with Pope
LVIV The head of the Department of Church History of the Ukrainian Catholic University, Professor Oleh Turiy, commented on the recent statements of the head of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, Archbishop Illarion of Volokolamsk, expressed by him during a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI and the Prefect for the Congregation of the Oriental Churches, Cardinal Sandri. The professor called the arguments of the archbishop used to substantiate the statement about the difficult situation in western Ukraine and the problem with Greek Catholics being a "stumbling block" for the dialogue between the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches as ungrounded. RISU's Ukrainian-language web page posted this commentary on September 24, 2009.
"The crises of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and the loss by the Moscow Patriarchate of its influences in western Ukraine is due first of all to the fact that these influences were gained here in a controversial way, by means of violence of the Soviet regime over the conscience of the believers," noted the scholar.
Oleh Turiy stressed that when the representative of the Moscow Patriarchate first visited Rome he repeated the theses which have been predominant in the ideology and rhetoric of the leadership of the ROC in regard to the revival of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. In particular, it is about the "destruction by the Uniates of three Orthodox eparchies in western Ukraine." "What Moscow persistently calls `the destruction of three Orthodox eparchies' was first of all restoring historical justice and the Greek Catholics' exercise of their right," noted the scholar.
In addition, he noted that "the destruction of three Orthodox eparchies" after 1989 does not mean at all that Orthodoxy disappeared from Halychyna [Galicia]. "Rather the opposite: Ukrainian Orthodox believers did not wish to be identified anymore with the church they could not view as their own for various reasons... Orthodoxy exists in Halychyna but it is represented by other ecclesial forms, by structures of other Orthodox churches, of the Autocephalous and Kyivan Patriarchate churches," reads the commentary Prof. Turiy gave RISU.
He also stressed the need "to differentiate the notion of `Uniatism' as an unusual way of unification and the issue of the right of Union churches, that is Eastern churches, which are in communion with the Roman See, to exist and freely develop." He noted that it was the UGCC which condemned the method of "Uniatism," while demonstrating that the ROC needs to re-evaluate its own history, which clearly shows the use of the "Uniatism" method, particularly, toward the UGCC.
The professor stated that such statements show that the new leadership of the ROC has no new evaluations of the past.