"There is a greater blessing in giving than in getting..." (Acts 20:35)

The Church is always with its people. As we see, the Churches in Ukraine, all as one, declared that they are on the side of people. This is a sign of solidarity and an example to follow by current politicians, social activists, and, in general, by all the people. Because a union of spiritual leaders is a guarantee that the country can be united.

Such thoughts on the activity of the Church within the context of the last political events in the Ukrainian State were shared by Bishop Bohdan (Dziurakh), administrator of UGCC Patriarchal Curia, in a video-blog for Live TV.  

Continuing his thoughts, the bishop said that it is only irresponsible people who can perceive as negative the phenomenon of national, confessional, and language diversity in Ukraine.  For these people this argument leads up to the opposition of one region to another. 

Diversity is a great wealth of a country because in one country there is presented the diversity of cultures, traditions, languages,” he contends.  However, in the opinion of Bishop Bohdan, the politicians are  using this fact to divide lands and to set one group of people against another,  He considers such actions criminal and which is  censured by the Church. 

The hierarch related what in turn the Church proposes to its people in the situation which has developed in Ukraine.  First of all, it is the constant prayer for the people, the government, and the Motherland because neither the statesmen nor the soldiers can protect our land, if God does not protect it.”

One other task which the Church has, according to him, is bearing witness to the truth.  This does not only mean to pass on true information about what is happening in Ukraine, but also to bear witness to Jesus Christ who himself is the Truth.  Also the Church should know how to listen: “The Church lives with people and its chore is to listen to the hearts of people in order to feel through what society lives.”  This will permit the Churches to become the protectors of the indigent and the misfortunate before the mighty, in other words, to become the voice of the people before the government, because the chief mission of the Church is serving God and the people.

UGCC Department of Information

frantsysk_molytva“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” said Pope Francis at noon on July 27, 2014 after praying the Sunday prayer Angelus Domini, – “tomorrow is the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of World War I that caused millions of victims and incalculable ruin.”

This conflict, referred by the Pope as “unnecessary bloodshed”, after four long years poured out into a peace that proved to be even more fragile. Tomorrow it will be a Day of Mourning in memory of this drama. At a time when we recall these tragic events, I wish that the horrific mistakes of the past will never be repeated, but that they become incorporated into lessons of history, so that within the context of a patient and courageous dialogue, arguments on behalf of peace gain the upper hand. “My thoughts today, in a special manner,” continued the Pope, “speed to three territories in the midst of crisis: the Near East, Iraq, and Ukraine. Please do not cease to join in my prayers that God grants the residents and authorities of these territories wisdom and strength, indispenspensible in order to decisively step on the path of peace, approaching every contradiction with the perserverance of dialogue and negotiations and the strength of reconciliation. May the focus of every decision not be separate interests, but the collective good and the respect for every individual. Let us remember that in war, everything is lost. In peace, nothing is lost.” Brothers and Sisters, may there never again be a war – may there never be war! My thoughts first of all are with the children, who are deprived of the hope for a dignified life, for a future: the killed, the wounded, the maimed orpahns and children who play with the leftovers of the military gear. The children who do not know how to laugh. Please, STOP! I beg you most sincerely! It is time to stop! PLEASE STOP!” urged the Holy Father.

Radio Vatican

The one who votes is convinced that his vote is important and that it is one’s real choice. As far as those, who do not go to vote, then it is necessary to understand the reason for such a position. If it is a position along the line of: “I don’t feel like it” or “I don’t care”, — then one can even consider this stand as one of sinfulness.

His Beatitude Lubomyr (Husar), UGCC Archbishop Emeritus, stated this conviction in an interview for Catholic News, the newest issue of which came out in the last few days.  His Beatitude explains that such a feeling of unwillingness can be understood, “since in the past few years there were many negative things that took place during elections.”

“One other reason for now wanting to go and vote can be the realization that certain candidates do not possess the appropriate professional qualities for such a responsible position,” he says.

In order to select a worthy candidate for the position of President of Ukraine, it is necessary, believes His Beatitude Lubomyr, first to research his past, specifically that which he has done for his country.

Another criterion is to what a degree is the candidate ready to explain his steps and his decisions before the voters.  “I want to see a concrete candidate with certain personal morals and professional qualities.  Most of all, the candidate’s personality is important to me.  Even more, I would want to hear directly from the candidate, how the candidate explains his or her own political steps – in the past and in the future,” explained the Archbishop.

His Beatitude Lubomyr advises the use of a principle which one of his acquaintances, who dealt with staff issues, followed in selecting individuals for responsible positions – “the principle of 3p’s”.   First aspect —professionalism.  It is important that the person has needed qualifications; possess appropriate knowledge as well as a political wisdom.  Second aspect —probity [uprightness in one’s dealings].  The person has to be honest; not a swindler and trickster.  The person should not lie, should not hide one’s wealth.  And finally, the third aspect — patriotism.  Does this person really love one’s country?” advises UGCC Archbishop Emeritus.

UGCC Department of Information

From 23 to 27 April 2014 God in Slavutich of Kiev Region the IXth International Youth Environmental Forum on ecology and the First International Festival of Cinema and Urban ” 86″, which is held this year under the slogan “From ecology to ecology soul life” are taking place.

The purpose of this forum is to engage young people in civic life through environmental education, environmental awareness of children and young people on the basis of universal values.

ON April 24 Fr. Yuri Lohaza, the priest of  the Kievan archdiocese of the  UGCC, who cares about the community Slavutich, took part at the plenary session. The administrator of the local parish , made a presentation on the theme ” Human Ecology as a precondition for solvinging environmental problems ,” which acquainted the participants with the basic structural units of ” human ecology ” and briefly showed the relationship between  ” human ecology ” and  condition of the environment.

After the report the priest also presented the activities of the Environment Bureau of the UGCC and the main activities of this church institution and acquainted the participants with practical initiatives that the Church implements  in the field of God created  world – nature.

During the meeting, each participant of the meeting was able to read some publications of Ekobyuro . The participants received a specially prepared booklets and church- ecological calendar for 2014 , which briefly picked ecological Church doctrine of the Blessed John Paul II, to view the environmental initiatives of the institutions of the UGCC .

At the end Fr. Jury wished all the participants to learn to look at the world around us as the creation of God. “For history not to know one more Chernobyl or similar technological and environmental disasters , we must change our lifestyle significantly and learn to live as the children of God  in the common  House- the Earth,” – said the spiritual father .

Information Service Bureau of the UGCC

On March 25 representatives of Ukrainian community in Rome held a flash mob at the Italian Parliament. Enlightenment campaign for Italian deputies was called “Where is Ukraine and what is going on there”.

As we learned from the “Hyena”, which went on the air last week, many parlamentaries believe that Ukraine is in Asia and did not orient in the latest events. For this reason, on the proposal of Maryana Tril’  this informative event was held.

Natalya Karfut and Olesya Tataryn developed and produced leaflets in Italian with brief information about Ukraine and with confutation of the major myths of Moscow propaganda. Participants talked about the actions of Putin’s government in the Crimea, insisted that he was acting as Adolf Hitler in the late 30s of the last century and how it was ended for Europe.

The action participants noted that no gas is not worth the occupation of 46 million European country and therefore cannot allow the international community to close its eyes onto the illegal actions of Russia concerning Ukraine. During the action “Russian peacekeepers” “attacked” the protesters, illustrating this event in the Crimea. “If you do not want Russian soldier’s boot to trample Roman earth tomorrow, support the Ukrainian authorities today “, – said the Ukrainians.

Photos: Olesya Tataryn

Oles’ Gorodetskyi, organizing committee coordinator of Euromaidan in Rome

The characteristics of Christian love should always be concrete, meaning that it should demonstrate itself in deeds and not only words. This love means that it has a greater desire to give than to receive. Pope Francis reminded all about this during the Holy Mass on January 9, 2014 in the chapel of St. Martha’s Home, his Vatican residence.

In presenting this topic, the Universal Hierarch chose the Biblical exert read during the Liturgy on that day from the First Epistle of Apostle John (4,12): If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. He noted that the experience of faith lies exactly in this double “existence”: us in God and God in us.

Christian life is existing in God, in His love, and not in the spirit of the world, in superficiality, in praise of idols, in trivialities.  To exist in God is not, according to the Pope, an ecstasy of the heart or some pleasant feeling.

The Holy Father emphasized that either love is altruistic and caring, which rolls up one’s sleeves and goes to the assistance of  the indigent and needy, centers on giving rather than receiving, or it in no way relates to Christian love.

“The love about which St. John speaks, is not the love from TV serials…  Christian love always has one quality – concreteness.  Christian love is concrete.  Whenever Jesus talked about love, he talked about concrete things: to feed the hungry, to visit the sick, and many other things,” stated the Holy Father, adding that without such a concrete love, a person begins to live in a fake Christianity, and thereby the essence of the Good News of Jesus Christ becomes not understandable.

Referring also to the Gospel of the day, the Roman Bishop pointed out that love contains essentially two basics: first, to love not in words but in deeds, and secondly, that in love it is more important to give than to receive.   Because one who loves, gives to God and his neighbors, things, life, oneself…   On the other hand, the one who does not love is an egoist who desires only to receive and is always searching for gaining riches and comfort.

Radio Vatican

We present you an interview with Fr. Luis Okulik, Secretary of the Commission «Caritas in Veritate», which is created due to the complex (in terms of the Church social doctrine) social situation in Europe. The Commission works under the Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Europe. The current socio-political situation in Ukraine is commented in the interview.

Father Luis, we know that is not your first visit to Ukraine. I think you can see the changes that have taken place in our country for several years.

I had once visited Ukraine. This time I was lucky enough to be here during the week. It is worth noting that the country had changed in the social dimension. This is clearly seen. I was pleasantly surprised that a little more than 20 years theUGCC has been so structurally developed. It was hard to imagine that 50 years ago. In particular, the Church enters into various spheres: political, social,cultural. It occupies an active niche in the social life. And it is important: so young UGCC is “getting on its feet” and it gives the future prospect.

In the current situation in Ukraine Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (and not only it) has a clear position. Although the Church is separated from the state, we see that the priests of various denominations support people at the Maydan: confess, serve liturgy and pray at night. Is this the correct position of the Church? Should the Church take part in complex socio-political situations?

This important task is entrusted to the bishops – they have to look at what is happening around, to distinguish between what is good and what is evil, and in accordance with it they should act. When it comes to the Catholic Church, its objective primarily is to shed light on things that happen,make people belonging to the Church,see themselves in this light, and act according to the faith and teaching of the Church. Supporting people by the Greek Catholic clergy at the Maydan is a prophetic gesture. For thus the Church shares the fate of its people and defends Christian values. We see that almost all the denominations are in line with citizens. The church has the responsibility to support the will of the people, which corresponds to the Christian views. Yesterday (16 December) Pope Francis during the Mass said the interesting words. He believes that prophecy is a part of the Church, and when it is not done, it creates a blank space, people forget about the prophetic mission of the Church and in the first place there is power.

At the Maydan there is a chapel, which is famous as ecumenical. However, there is one Church, which condemned the will of the Ukrainian people – UOC (MP). Furthermore, logically, if peaceful assembly fails – there will be a lot of misunderstanding between the UGCC and the authorities. How would you comment on this position of the Church, which condemns the Ukrainian people’sattitude?

Obviously, the people who hold a meeting belong to different churches. And those Churches support them. We can see such a connection between them. The fact that someone (here one Church is) sees the fate of Ukraine in another way, should be taken as a position that has always been known in history. Such views of the UOC (MP) manifested in two aspects: when it came to purely political processes and the ecumenical dialogue.

How do Italians react on events in Ukraine?

There is no clear reaction. However, there are two striking points: the world has seen the phenomenon of people numerical performance and violence that have been used by the present government to peaceful protesters. This is clearly indicated in the European press.

Were theevents in Ukraine discussed among the members ofthe Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Europe and what are the results of this?

Some opinions were heard. His Beatitude Svyatoslav talked about the situation in Ukraine earlier, in particular about the situation of the churches. Cardinal Peter Erdo, Archbishop of Budapest, the President of the Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Europe applied regarding this the other presidents of episcopal conferences. In particular, the point was about the supporting of basic Christian values.

Interviewed Ruslana Tkachenko

3 грудня — Міжнародний день інвалідів. Мета, заради якої цей день був проголошений, — це дотримання прав людини і участь інвалідів в житті суспільства.
Згідно даних Міністерства праці та соціальної політики, 2 мільйони 670 тисяч громадян України складають неповноспрані особи, з них 88 тисяч мають розумову неповносправність. В нашому суспільстві неповносправні особи та їх родини часто почуваються самотніми і відкиненими.
У контексті реалізації Стратегії розвитку УГКЦ до 2020 року «Жива парафія — місце зустрічі з живим Христом» важливу роль відводиться залученню парафіяльної громади до соціального служіння. Цей фільм ознайомлює з діяльністю, яку провадить Церква для осіб з особливими потребами.

Майже 2 тисячі листів від вихованців дитячих будинків, прийшло на адресу святого Миколая у Івано-Франківську. В офісі Мальтійської служби розмістився своєрідний штаб Чудотворця. Тут щодня кипить робота. Акція «Святий Миколай іде до сиріт» розпочалася 1 листопада.

З часу заснування будинку сімейного типу у Золочеві, яким опікуються Сестри Служебниці Непорочної Діви Марії, минуло 5 років. Зараз дім Покрови – це ошатне помешкання з вишуканим інтер’єром, з неповторними саморобними прикрасами, кожна яких має своє особливе місце. Та справжнім скарбом цього будинку є діти. Нині – це дружна весела родина зі своїми звичаями і традиціями.