Greek Catholic Bishops gathered in Synod in Rome; Redemptorists are taking part in the ‘Synod of Hope’


On Sunday, 3 September, the Synod of Bishops 2023 of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church began in Rome, with the central theme “Pastoral Support for Victims of War.” The Synod is attended by 45 out of 55 bishops from Ukraine, Central and Western Europe, North and South America and Australia. His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk called this year’s Synod in Rome, the second during a large-scale war, the ‘Synod of Hope’.

Redemptorists are participating in this important gathering:

Mgr Bryan Joseph Bayda CSsR – Bishop of Toronto and Eastern Canada;
Mgr Mikhaylo Bubniy CSsR – Archiepiscopal Exarch of Odessa;
Mgr Mykola Bychok CSsR – bishop of the Eparchy of Saints Peter and Paul in Melbourne of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Australia;
Mgr Bohdan Dziurakh CSsR – Apostolic Exarch of Germany and Scandinavia;
Mgr Volodymyr Hrutsa CSsR – Auxiliary Bishop of Lviv;
Mgr Mychaylo Koltun CSsR – eparchial bishop of Sokal-Zhovkva (Sokal, Lviv);
Mgr Petro Loza CSsR – Titular Bishop of Panio and Auxiliary Bishop of Sokal-Zhovkva of the Ukrainians (Sokal, Lviv); Mgr Stephan Menjok CSsR – Archiepiscopal Exarch de Donets’k;
Mgr Yarosláv Pryríz CSsR – Bishop of Sambir-Drohobych;
Mgr Ihor Wozniak CSsR – Archbishop of Lviv.

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, presided over the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in St. Sophia Basilica, concelebrated by UGCC bishops from all over the world. The prefect of the Dicastery for the Eastern Catholic Churches, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, arrived to greet the synodal fathers.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav, in his sermon, pointed out three signs of hope that he could see in this second year of the war in the Ukraine:

The first sign of hope is that the synodal work is the moment of the descent of the Holy Spirit: “Whenever the Church or the people have undergone some rough moments in their history (in modern times, we would describe these as moments of crisis), the Church has convened local synods or even Ecumenical Councils. For such an assembly of the apostles of our time, our bishops, is a special moment of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Church and the people.”

The second sign of hope of this year’s Synod is that having gathered in Rome, the bishops of the UGCC receive a special pulpit to speak with a powerful voice “Urbi et Orbi” — to the city of Rome, the Holy Father and the whole world. “Today, when old empires are awakening, when the Russian aggressor is waging a neo-colonial war in Ukraine, it is so important that the world hear the true history of Ukraine, even Russia, Eastern Europe, written not by colonizers and imperialists, but written with the blood of subjugated peoples who are now fighting for the right to exist, freedom, their own special independent Ukrainian state,” said His Beatitude Sviatoslav.

The third big sign of hope is the opportunity for Ukrainian bishops to meet the Holy Father in person and receive a token of hope from him. “We know that he is a great maestro of listening and gestures. The Holy Father wishes to listen to the Synod of Ukrainian Bishops. He specifically invites us to a meeting an hour earlier to give not only the Head of the Church an opportunity to speak to him but also to every bishop of our Church on behalf of his congregation, diocese, and exarchate. And as an expert in listening, he is ready to hear us. And as a master of gestures, which can sometimes convey more than written or spoken words, I believe he will offer us such a gesture of hope,” His Beatitude Sviatoslav said, feeling hopeful.

In his address to the Synod, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Eastern Catholic Churches, greeted the Father and Head of the UGCC, the bishops, and the faithful, conveying greetings from Pope Francis. He assured them that the Pope’s love and attention to Ukraine stands.

The Prefect of the Dicastery for the Eastern Catholic Churches ensured that the Church of Rome and the Pope are immensely grateful to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church for all the aid and sacrifice it has shown to the Ukrainian people: “You are tireless workers in the works of mercy. Your task is to wipe away tears and comfort those who suffer. It is the task of God’s people and those who follow and imitate Him.”

On the evening of 3 September, the bishops gathered for prayer to the Holy Spirit and took the synodal oath. On the morning of 6 September, Pope Francis received the Synod participants in the audience. The Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Rome will last until 13 September 2023.

Scala News, source:

On the website of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, you can find the entire discourse of His Beatitude Sviatoslav and more information about the Synod.