Vatican City, Dec 3, 2013 / 14:47 pm
The head of the Ukrainian Church revealed that in a recent private meeting with Pope Francis, the pontiff praised the structure of Eastern Churches for their emphasis on collaboration among bishops.
Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk said his discussion with Pope Francis mainly focused on “the synodality of our Church,” as the Pope is looking for ways to “foster the collegiality in the Catholic Church.”
“For him,” the archbishop told CNA, “the way how we live our synodality as an eastern Catholic Churches is an example.”
The private conversation between the archbishop and the Pope took place Nov. 25 after the prelate celebrated a Mass commemorating the 50th anniversary of the transfer of the relics of St. Josaphat – a Ukrainian bishop martyred in the 17th century – to St. Peter's Basilica.
His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk is the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, and was present in Rome for the Nov. 19-21 plenary assembly of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, remaining in Rome afterwards to preside over the special Mass honoring the Ukrainian saint.
Archbishop Shevchuk explained that within the Greek Ukranian Church there are currently 48 bishops, “including an emeritus one,” and that normally “each year, world-wide, we have a synod gathering of more or less 35 bishops.”
Of these, 30 were present at last week's plenary assembly and “all active synod came to pray together, to listen to the pope and to foster that synodality in his presence.”
In wake of these discussions, noted the archbishop, he and the Pope spoke together “about the collegiality and the synodality of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.”