The Lord “has sustained them in such a difficult period of their history, enabling them to preserve the wealth of their Eastern tradition and to remain at the same time in full communion with the Bishop of Rome,” he continued.
“They thus bear witness to that universality which makes the Church a diverse reality able to embrace, under the charism of Peter, that legitimate variety of traditions and rites which, far from harming her unity, shows forth all her richness and splendour.”
During the anniversary of the union in April, celebrations took place at the Ruthenian Eparchy of Mukachevo, which was formed following the Union of Uzhhorod, and is located in what is now western Ukraine.
Since the Union of Uzhhorod, eparchies have been created to shepherd Ruthenian Catholics wherever they live, including the Metropolitan Eparchy of Pittsburgh and its three suffragan eparchies in the United States, and the Metropolitan Eparchy of Prešov in Slovakia with its suffragans, as well as a Slovakian eparchy in Canada.
“These are all the spiritual daughters of the Eparchy of Mukachevo, and all of the faithful and the clergy of these ecclesiastical structures derive, or are really the heirs, of what was then the Union of Uzhhorod,” the historian said.
He said Pope Francis’ trip will be a good opportunity for him to visit the eastern, and poorer, part of Slovakia.
Černý said like many places in the world, the coronavirus pandemic has isolated people and exposed deeper divisions in society, but the pope’s visit is widely looked forward to.
“It seems like all Slovakia is looking forward to this visit,” he said.
Most of Slovakia’s population is Catholic, but the country’s ruling political party leans liberal, Černý explained. Yet, enthusiasm about the pope’s visit seems to unite both the practicing Catholics and those who are not churchgoers.
“I really hope that [Pope Francis] will bring the calmness, the peace to the faithful,” he said.
“This time reveals how deep the divisions between people get. Especially during the pandemic situation when many people lost their social contact and became much more secluded…”
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He said there is a painful division showing up in Slovak society. “And really what we need to focus on is bringing back the peace.”
“Of course peace can be achieved only by Christ. So that’s probably what the people are expecting from the visit of the pope – [for him] to be the messenger of hope and peace,” Černý stated.