message served to mark what he called "the sad events to which the
cathedral of St. George at Leopoli was witness, in March of sixty years
In the letter,
which was dated February 22nd, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, the
Holy Father recalled the infamous March 1946 date, during which "a
group of prelates meeting in a pseudo-synod which took upon itself the
right to represent the Church, made a serious attack against ecclesial
against those who remained faithful to the Bishop of Rome intensified,”
he wrote, “giving rise to further suffering and forcing the Church to
descend once again to the catacombs."
the Pope expressed his thanks to God that "the Greek-Catholic Church
did not disappear but continued to bear her own witness to the unity,
sanctity catholicity and apostolicity of the Church of Christ."
expressed hope that the anniversary would stimulate the Greek-Catholic
community in Ukraine "to strengthen its intimate and committed bond
with Peter's Successor."
emphasized how, "in the patient daily journey of faith, in communion
with the successors of the Apostles, ... the Ukrainian Catholic
community has managed to uphold Sacred Tradition in its integrity."
"In order”, the
Pope went on, “for this precious heritage of 'Paradosis' (or Tradition)
to survive in all its richness, it is important to guarantee the
presence of the two great currents of the one Tradition - the Latin
current and the Orthodox current.”
Each, he said, contains “the multiplicity of historical characteristics that the Ukraine has been able to express."
the letter by calling to mind what he called "the dual mission
entrusted to the Greek-Catholic Church in full communion with Peter.”
“On the one
hand,” he wrote, “her task is to ensure the oriental tradition remains
visible in the Catholic Church, on the other, to favor the encounter of
the traditions, bearing witness not only to their compatibility, but
also to their profound unity in diversity."
the Vatican released a letter sent by Pope Benedict XVI to Cardinal
Lubomyr Husar, major Archbishop of Lviv of the Ukrainians, recalling
the forced fusion of Catholics into the Orthodox Church by the
communist Soviet government in 1946.