07/05/2019, 16.00
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Pope begins meeting with the Greek-Catholic Church of Ukraine

The country, which for years has been tormented by a conflict with pro-Russian separatists, was among the topics addressed in Francis's conversation with Putin.


Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Ukraine is one of the topics at the center of the Vatican's attention. According to some observers, the Ukraine question was decisive in pushing the Russian president to be received by Francis yesterday and was among the topics addressed in the face to face talks. A mere twenty four hours later, Francis has began a meeting with the Greek-Catholic Church of that very country.

It is a meeting that will continue until tomorrow, gathering the Greek-Catholic major archbishop of Kiev-Halyč, Svjatoslav Shevchuk (in the photo), the members of the Synod and the metropolitans together with the superiors of the departments of the Roman Curia that follow teh church in that country.

The encounter with a Church that underwent martyrdom in the times of the Soviet Union, as announced by the Vatican on May 4, "will offer a further opportunity to deepen the analysis of the life and needs of Ukraine, with the purpose of identifying the ways in which the Catholic Church, and in particular the Greek-Catholic Church, can more effectively dedicate itself to preaching the Gospel, contribute to the support of those who suffer and promote peace, in agreement, as far as possible,  with the Catholic Church of the Latin rite and with other churches and Christian communities ".

The Vatican's attention to Ukraine has been heightened by the outbreak of the conflict in 2016 with attempts at secession by pro-Russian separatists.  To aggravate the crisis, there was the schism of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Moscow Patriarchate, deprived of almost half of its faithful.

The Holy See has promoted a humanitarian initiative for Ukraine.  Last November Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for the service of integral human development went to Kiev.

Finally, there were numerous appeals from Pope Francis who expressed the hope in his Easter message, April 21, that "the people of the eastern regions of Ukraine which continues to suffer from the ongoing conflict will find comfort. May the Lord encourages humanitarian initiatives and those aimed at pursuing a lasting peace".  (FP)

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