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Patriarch Bartholomew I Opposes a Greek-Catholic Patriarchate in Ukraine

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    Ukraine Catholic ZENIT04B04 Patriarch Bartholomew I Opposes a Greek-Catholic Patriarchate in Ukraine Orthodox Warns Pope of Break in Ecumenical Ties ISTANBUL,
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 5, 2004
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      Ukraine Catholic ZENIT04B04

      Patriarch Bartholomew I Opposes a Greek-Catholic Patriarchate in Ukraine
      Orthodox Warns Pope of Break in Ecumenical Ties

      ISTANBUL, Turkey, FEB. 4, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew
      I of Constantinople has asked John Paul II not to establish a Greek-Catholic
      patriarchate in Kiev, Ukraine, warning him of the risk of a break in
      ecumenical relations.

      The patriarch's request came in a letter, published in Greek in the
      patriarchate's Web page, which discusses a document presented by Cardinal
      Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian
      Unity, to Alexy II, patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

      Alexy II sent the document, which alludes to the eventual recognition of a
      patriarchal title for the Ukrainian Greek-Catholics, to Orthodox patriarchs.

      In the letter dated Nov. 29, Bartholomew I rejects Cardinal Kasper's
      document, labeling it "erroneous, confused, unacceptable, provocative," and
      after a lengthy refutation of the cardinal's historical-canonical document,
      warns about the possible negative consequences of an eventual recognition of
      a patriarchal title for the Greek-Catholic Church in Ukraine.

      "[It] will cause strong reactions on the part of all the Orthodox sister
      Churches and will put a stop to attempts to continue the theological
      dialogue between the Catholic Church and Orthodox Churches," the Italian
      magazine 30 Giorni reported.

      In his letter to the Pope, Bartholomew I said there is a danger "of
      returning to the climate of hostility that reigned up to a few decades ago."

      "Therefore," the patriarch wrote, "it is necessary that you assure the
      Ukrainian people and all the Orthodox Churches with persuasive force that
      you have no intention of initiating the institution of the Greek-Catholic
      Patriarchate in Ukraine as Cardinal Kasper's text alludes."

      The issue relates to the matter of "Uniatism," a pejorative term applied by
      the Orthodox to refer to the Greek-Catholic Churches, such as that of
      Ukraine. The latter belongs to the Byzantine tradition -- as do the
      Orthodox -- and at the same time is in full communion with the Successor of
      Peter. The majority of the population of Ukraine is Orthodox and under the
      Russian patriarchate.

      Recognition of the primacy of Peter is a key point in the discussion between
      Eastern-rite Ukrainian Catholics (who number about 5 million) and the
      Orthodox.

      Recognizing the level of development reached by its Church, the Ukrainian
      Greek-Catholic Synod's plenary assembly, held in Kiev in July 2002, asked
      the Holy Father to sanction this process by granting it the patriarchal
      title.

      According to the conciliar decree "Orientalium Ecclesiarum" on the Catholic
      Eastern Churches, a pope has the faculty to recognize on his own initiative
      the patriarchal rank of a Church without having to submit this recognition
      to the consensus of other ecclesial authorities.

      The Catholic-Orthodox dialogue has two events planned: Cardinal Kasper is
      scheduled to meet with Alexy II in two weeks; and Bartholomew I recently
      said he would visit the Pope on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, in June.
      ZE04020401

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