The Nature and Mission of the Church...
18.10.2007
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The Nature and Mission of the Church...
Fr. Michael Dymyd
04.05.2007
The Nature and Mission of the Church in the Context of the
Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

1. Introduction.
1.1. First of all I would like to express my gratitude to the Institute of Ecumenical Studies at the Ukrainian Catholic University for the opportunity to become involved in the world-wide ecumenical discussion of Faith and Order Paper 198, The Nature and Mission of the Church, in its wording of 2006.1 This document is interesting and helpful for a Greek Catholic theologian due to its profound biblical way of expressing the essence of the Church, and also in that it points out the divergences between theological explanations of some truths by Churches about themselves and asks those Churches whether they could see a similarity to their belief in the given sphere in the theological interpretations of others.
1.2. Secondly, I would like to state that I do not represent here the ecclesiological thought of the whole Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), just the thought of one Greek Catholic theologian on the ecclesiology of the UGCC. However, I will try to present my reflections on the basis of the ecclesiological development of the thought of the leading hierarchs of the UGCC of the 20th century: Metropolitan Andrey (Sheptytsky), Patriarch Josyf (Slipyj), and Patriarch Myroslav Ivan (Lubachivsky), set forth in the book of Mitred Archpriest Dr. Myron Bendyk Autonomous Churches in the Universal Church in the teaching of the Lviv metropolitans of Ukrainian rite of the 20th century.2
In the UGCC in the 20th century there took place the process of a renewed definition of its identity through various phases of external expression: apostasy, confessionalism, martyrdom, resignation, ritualistic minimalism, short-term triumphalism, confrontation with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, particularly in cases of ecclesiology, rejection of the liturgical instructions of the Code of Canons of Eastern Churches, the inability of the bishops to influence the understanding of a great number of clergy and laypeople who hold the opinion that the Church consists solely in themselves, the inability to create transparent Christian economic (financial) and social relations within the Church, and so on.
The point is not to enumerate the manifestations of identity, but to realize the fact that the issue of the ecclesiology of the UGCC is based rather upon moral-ethical relationships, the issue of constant conversion to the Lord, love for ones fellow man, evangelization of ones self and ones neighbors, rejection of masks and templates in all groups of the faithful, overcoming narcissism and a refusal to re-write ones history, rather than upon relationships with Rome, Constantinople, or Moscow.3
The beginning of the 21st century introduces positive features in the development of a common ecclesiological platform of the UGCC, one of the expressions of which is the recently published document Conclusions and Suggestions of the Congress of Theologians of the UGCC in January, 2007 in Lviv,4 which unequivocally states on behalf of the 246 participants from all the eparchies of Ukraine that the issue of intercommunion between the Churches of the Kyivan tradition basically bears a disciplinary-canonical, and not dogmatic, character.
1.3. Faith and Order Paper 198, The Nature and Mission of the Church, is compiled in an interesting way, for it contains beliefs common to all Churches on the Churchs existence, and where there are various interpretations of the same reality, these differences are pointed out in separate parts to seek a common expression of one faith in one God through His one Church.
Here we do not have the opportunity to analyze the whole document, and for this reason well reflect on the outlined parts. They are entitled The Institutional Dimension of the Church and the Work of the Holy Spirit, Church as Sacrament?, The Church and Sin, Limits of diversity?, Local Church, Baptism, Eucharist, Ordained Ministry, Episkope, Bishops and Apostolic Succession, and Conciliarity and Universal Primacy. As we see, this is not a single question, but it is positive that it is the smaller part of the document, and here we can remind ourselves of the positive expression of Pope of Rome John XXIII, repeated by John Paul II in the encyclical Ut Unum Sint, that "What unites us is much greater than what divides us."5

2. The Institutional Dimension of the Church and the Work of the Holy Spirit.
2.1. The first outlined part of The Nature and Mission of the Church, The Institutional Dimension of the Church and the Work of the Holy Spirit, regards the nature of the Church and poses the following questions:
a) whether the preaching and the Sacraments are the means of, or simply witnesses to, the activity of the Spirit;
b) whether the ordained ministry is really a guarantees of the presence of truth and power of the Word and Spirit of God in the Church, or instead the power and reliability of Gods truth being grounded in the sovereignty of his Word and Spirit which works through - but if necessary also counter to - the given institutional structures of the Church;
c) whether institutional continuity is the necessary means and guarantee of the Churchs continuity in apostolic faith.
2.2. I would say that the collaboration of the Spirit and mystery in the Church takes place in the most effective way in ones own parish, where we from time to time experience enlightenment, i.e. the liturgical introduction of a person to the three Christian sacraments leading into the mystery. The one who is lucky enough to experience something like this will easily be able to say that the word proclaimed in the sacrament is not only an external sign, but also the means of action of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, he will be able to testify that the newly-baptized person receives the Holy Spirit Himself and this gift is sealed, so that he will always be attached to the One whose gift he has received.6 Archpriest Alexander Schmemann writes: We receive as a gift the One Whom Christ and Christ only has in His nature: the Holy Spirit [and] since He is the Spirit of Christ, He gives us Christ, and Christ, since the Holy Spirit is His Life, gives us the Spirit.7
2.3. On the issue of the guarantee which ordained ministers bring to the Church, the teaching of the UGCC says that the validly ordained episcopate is not just the means but also the guarantee of the presence and power of the Word and Spirit of God in the Church.8 It seems that this takes place even in the case of schism or heresy. For example, the hierarchy of the Uniate Church of Rus, though considering the activity of its ancestors not to be beneficial, for they, according to the apostolic letter of Clement VIII It Suits the Roman Hierarch, were said to be schismatics and heretics,9 however, no one dared to speak of the invalidity of the Word and Sacraments which were through their mediation previously given to Gods people. Suspecting bishops of schism does not yet mean that under their earthly guidance the Church does not remains the ship of salvation for the people.
2.4. If we are to speak of institutional continuity, then in theory the institutionally-canonically valid consecration of the successor of a departed ruling hierarch is the necessary means and guarantee for continuity of the Church in the apostolic faith by Catholic-Orthodox Churches. However, they do not always put this into practice. We can clearly see this from the analytical article of Basil Stodolia Consecutive inconsequence: The Patriarchate of Moscow applies the practice of double canonical standards in the struggle against the autocephaly of the Church of Ukraine,10 in which the author proves that the union of the Russian Orthodox Church and of the Church Abroad [in 2007] demonstrates that it is not objective canonical obstacles, but the political will of the Russian Orthodox Church, which prevents uniting and the ultimate affirmation of one autonomous Orthodox church. The author explains his statement by the fact that the Russian Church Abroad for many decades remained in canonical isolation and did not have eucharistic communion with any autonomous Church. The Russian Church Abroad in the persons of its hierarchs many times even proclaimed the Moscow Patriarchate to be heretical and invalid. It also considered some other Churches of world Orthodoxy to be heretical for, in the opinion of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, they fell away from Orthodoxy as a consequence of participating in the ecumenical movement and introducing a new style in some churches. In turn, the Patriarchate of Moscow and other autonomous Churches many times claimed the ROCA to be non-canonical and schismatic. However, the Patriarchate of Moscow and the ROCA will enter into full communion without repenting of the sin of schism [underlined by V. Stodolia] both by the party of the Patriarchate of Moscow (which the ROCA earlier considered to be schismatic) and by the party of the ROCA (which earlier was considered to be schismatic by the Patriarchate of Moscow). The issue of schism is stated in brackets. The Patriarchate of Moscow and the ROCA behave as if previously there took place only an artificial isolation of one part of the autonomous Church of Russia from the other. Therefore, there will be no acts of public repentance. The renewal of communion will take place solemnly and in a way which does not abase any party. The proto-hierarchs of the ROC and ROCA, Patriarch Alexis II and Metropolitan Lazar, will solemnly sign The Act on Establishing Canonical Communion, and will together celebrate the Divine Liturgy.
Another example of this kind is the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church treating the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church as true bearers of Divine Grace through valid holy Sacraments. Here the UGCC is remarkable for its clear position even in comparison with the Roman Catholic Church. In those cases the UGCC considers that one should speak rather of the continuity provided by Gods people gathered at prayer around the throne of the eparchy [diocese], which in the case of the absence of a bishop is the link of passing the apostolic continuity, rather than to speak of the important but just technical fact of personal transmission by the consecration of canonical bishops.

3. Church as Sacrament?
3.1. If we raise the question of the Church as a Sacrament or Mystery, here it is evident that in the UGCC this second aspect of the Church is not comprehended until the end, and because of that we have a semantic confusion between two terms, when for the Latin word sacramentum we use the expression mystery and for the definition of Church we use the notion sacrament. In practice, however, it turns out that there is no distinct demarcation between mystery and sacrament.11 Participation in the sacrament is participation in the mystery of which the Church is a part. In the classical understanding of the Church, one cannot be its participant without taking part in the sacraments. The Church is the mystery in which the Holy Trinity communicates with the people gathered into the group where they are granted the sacraments for sanctification. This opinion is supported by Archpriest Peter Galadza who writes that there should be no difference between the word which describes the mystery of salvation and the word which describes the seven Holy Sacraments.12 This opposes the former authoritative opinion of Patriarch Josyf (Slipyj) who, instead, tries to distinguish between the definition of the essence of salvation and seven special ranks,13 writing in particular: In Ukrainian terminology we should use the word sacraments in the broader meaning of a thing or secret teaching, and the word mystery in the narrower meaning, for denoting the seven signs of grace of the New Testament.14 In the Terminologically-Orthographical Advisor for Theologians and Editors of Theological Texts we read that today even Latin theologians under the influence of a general tendency to return to patristic traditions use sacramentum more broadly, not only with regard to the scholastic seven holy sacraments: e.g., the sacramentum of the encounter of God and the human being is Christ; sacramentum is the Church and various church realities that are the intermediaries of Gods presence and action among people; the Christian must be a sacramentum of the presence of Christ for his fellow man. And though in the Latin environment sacramentum did not merge with mysterium in triadological and soteriological meaning, the broadening of sacramentum towards mysterium dispels the excessive featuring of scholastic sacramentology.15

4. The Church and Sin.
4.1. On the issue of The Church and Sin: one should say that distinction between the Church and its sinning members is not always obvious. If we would ask the Greek Catholics of Ukraine who cooperated with the National Committee of Internal Affairs against the UGCC, the ROC, or separate members of this Church, the answer will tend to the fact that it still was the Church. If it is the belief of the Greek Catholic people, then they think that the Church is sinful. Patriarch Lubomyr also stresses this collective sin when he calls for passing from the confessional mutual struggle to primacy in love. In his epochal text from 2004 on the occasion of the initiation of returning the metropolitan throne to Kyiv, His Beatitude writes as follows: No one yet has managed to measure the depths of the wound caused to Christian feeling by polemical forms of theology and proselytic methods of pastorship. The millennial practice of upbringing the faithful in the spirit of post-schism Greek-Latin opposition, and also the 400-year-long practice of such upbringing in the spirit of post-Brest rivalry in Ukraine, have significantly darkened the icon of evangelical godliness in the souls of Ukrainian Christians. Losses and defeats on the way to previous unifying efforts on the part of the Churches of Ukraine brightly testify that it is impossible to start deciding the future destiny of the Church of Kyiv with such baggage.
For today no one of the Churches of Ukraine can claim to be free from responsibility for these spiritual losses. On returning the Metropolitan See of Kyiv-Halych of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to Kyiv, we repeat the words of forgiveness pronounced in 2001 in Lviv, In Your presence, Holy Father, on behalf of the UGCC we wish to beg pardon of the Lord, Creator and Father of all of us, and also of all those whom we, sons and daughters of this Church, hurt in any way. So that the awful past does not hang over us and poison life, we gladly forgive all those who hurt us in any way.16
4.2. Our opinion on the sinfulness of the Church, which today is made public by the hierarchy, however, is new and does not completely correspond to what the Fathers of the Church write on this issue. Kallistos (Timothy Ware), bishop of Diokleia, says the following, The dogmas of the Council of Chalcedon are to be applied to the Church as well as to Christ. As Christ the God-Man possesses two natures, divine and human, in the same way in the Church there exists synergy or the cooperation of the divine and human. However, between the human nature of Christ and the Church there is an obvious difference, for the first one is perfect and sinless, and the second one is not like this. Only one part of the humanity of the Church the saints in heaven is perfect, while here on earth the members of Church often misuse the freedom granted to man. The Church on earth remains in tension it is the Body of Christ and that is why it is perfect and sinless however, while its members are imperfect and sinful, it should continuously become what it is.17
However, human sins cannot influence the essential nature of the Church. One should think that, as Christians on earth are imperfect and sinful, then the Church also is imperfect and sinful, for the Church, even the terrestrial one, comes from heaven and cannot be sinful.18 St. Ephrem of Syria directly spoke of the Church as of the Church of those who repent, the Church of those who endure, but at the same time the Church is the image of the Holy Trinity. How does it turn out that the members of the Church are sinful, but still they are partakers of the holy things?19 The mystery of the Church consists in the very fact that sinners together become some substance which differs from the one which they represent as persons, and this different substance is the Body of Christ.20

5. Limits of diversity?
5.1. Diversity as a way of expressing the Gospel is the historical experience of the UGCC, which spent a great part of its existence in an interreligious society, and mainly in the status of a minority. However, after the experience of Latinization in the 18th century21 and opposition to complete liquidation of the UGCC in the 19th and 20th centuries22 different groups of faithful were created which in a radical way tried to impose their view of church development as the only right one; these groups, which mutually reject each other in ritual aspects, introduced a narrowly confessional load for their prayerful expressions, especially in the collective dimension.
5.2. Regarding this, the Congress of Theologians of the UGCC writes, In order that this conviction on the unity of faith become more evident, theologians should investigate and reinterpret in a more profound way the difference between the faith of the Church and theological interpretation of this faith, pointing out that unity of faith can exist in various theological expressions, as it was in the whole Church in the epoch of the formulation of core Christian dogmas by the Ecumenical Councils, or between the Eastern Byzantine and Western Latin Churches in the first millennium. (2.3).23
5.3. It is in this context only that we can put the question of the role of ecclesiastical and denominational identity for the UGCC. Is seeking unity among the Churches and preserving their intercommunion necessary for preserving the identity of the UGCC itself, or, instead, will complete intercommunion between the Churches itself preserve the whole wealth of denominational tradition? A third way is seeking the harmony of diversity.
Today in the UGCC, not in publications but rather in pastoral practice, one can clearly see the great role of a tendency claiming that preserving ones own denominational identity as it is experienced now and differs from others is the highest value for the Church. For example, the ecclesiastical notion Orthodox-Catholic or of Kyiv is rejected in favor of the denominational expression Greek Catholic.24
However, the official documents of the UGCC explicitly seek a new way, about which Patriarch Lubomyr writes, Today we may confidently claim that the requirement to break these or those [other] relationships, which was so often pronounced in the history of Ukraine, has proved its incapacity.25
Regarding this matter, the position and proposal of the UGCC, though yet unconfidently, still is directed from leveling exclusivism to communion complementarity. This position is stated by His Beatitude as follows:
In the time of the division of the Church of Kyiv its confessional branches fell into various forms of dependence on the important centers of Christianity Rome, Constantinople, and Moscow. Complicated relationships between these centers caused the weakening and, in the final end, the loss of unity of the Church of Kyiv. The epoch of ecclesiastical exclusivism did not allow the Church of Kyiv to achieve what it always longed for, namely, unity and harmonious relations with the Christian world.
At this qualitatively new stage, when interchurch relations are undergoing radical change, the matter that previously was the weakness of ecclesiastical life in Ukraine may turn out to be its strength. Each denominational branch of the Church of Kyiv, historically close to one of the Christian centers, should not lose its denominational relationships sanctified by time. [] changing jurisdictional allegiance for communion fraternity would allow not only the preservation of precious aspects of previous relations, but also enrich the common treasury of the Church of Kyiv with them.
Thus, returning the Metropolitan See of Kyiv-Halych to Kyiv, the UGCC brings the unique experience of intercommunion with the Christian West and openness to Christian Europe. On the basis of this experience, the UGCC became convinced that communion with the Roman Church as with the rule of faith (St. Ignatius of Antioch) can become an expression of dwelling in the universal orthodoxy of the non-separated Christianity of the first millennium, and also a great blessing for the Church of Ukraine.
The Orthodox Churches of Ukraine, jointly with the UGCC, are the bearers of the tradition of Kyiv, separate elements of which are better preserved in the Orthodox Churches. That is why all these better parts of the common heritage which they preserved should not be lost. On the contrary, each Church is responsible that the part of the common heritage which it preserved become the common property of the people of Ukraine.
For the future of the Church of Kyiv, the role of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church which is in union with the Patriarchate of Moscow (UOC-MP) is extremely important. Being a part of the Church of Moscow as the metropolitanate of Kyiv, it has done much to raise and develop the Patriarchate of Moscow. At the same time, it has received various spiritual and theological impulses because of being in a broader ecclesiastical context. For the formation of the future status of the Church of Kyiv it will be important to take from the experience of the UOC-MP all positive elements, including the possibility of building sisterly relationships with the Church of Moscow.
The Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate in different ways embody the idea of the autocephaly of the Church of Kyiv, which is important to all. Comprehension of this idea will allow all denominational branches of the Church of Kyiv to get rid of the remains of so-called Uniate thinking, which is manifested in the statement on the unavoidable necessity of submission of the Church of Kyiv to other particular Churches either of the East or of the West. Another matter that is important to all is the experience of the synodal-ruling order of the Church practiced in the UAOC.
Thus, to think of the unity of the Church of Kyiv means not to reject the treasury of communion with other Christian centers, but on the contrary, to enrich the cumulative spiritual legacy of the Church of Kyiv with these achievements, thus not only the denominational branches of the Church of Kyiv would be enriched, but also its Sisters, the particular Churches of East and West. In addition, this would give an opportunity to get rid of the split which is destructive for the Church, and to actualize the modern ecclesiastical principle of unity in diversity.26
5.4. Faith and Order Paper 198, The Nature and Mission of the Church, also inquires from which angle we can view ecclesiastical identity, for example, that of the UGCC:
a. Whether the Church (of the Catholic Plenitude) is our community of the saved and those who do not belong to this community live beyond the Churches and will not be saved?
b. Whether in the UGCC (of the Catholic Plenitude) there is a fully living universal Church, though it is present in other Churches, but with less means for saving their faithful?
c. The Church of Christ exists in every place where the Gospel is properly preached and where the sacraments are celebrated in the right way. The difference between Churches consists in the fact that in some of them there are bigger or smaller contradictions between the word of God according to the sermon, i.e., to the interpretation of the Church and the teaching of the Lord itself. However, this does not interfere with the action of Gods grace and salvation in these Churches.
Today the UGCC considers itself to be living in the beneficial and saving Catholic Plenitude, and as for the Orthodox Churches, they also completely provide salvation for their faithful. Regarding the other Churches, the UGCC follows the distinction made by the Roman Church.
5.5. The modernity in which we should act encourages the UGCC to pass from jurisdictional allegiance to ecclesiastical autonomy.
Today, when the UGCC has renewed and developed pastoral ministry, its ecclesiastical structures, and an ever more active theological life, it feels that it is ready, according to the Eastern Christian tradition, to complete its structure to the level of patriarchate. This decision was unanimously adopted at the Third Session of the Sobor [Assembly] of the UGCC in 2002 and the same year this decision was blessed by the Synod of Bishops. Thus our Church, answering the call of the Holy Father to work jointly on a modern interpretation of the principle of the primacy of the Pope, proposes to the Latin Church to pass to the communion model of relations between two Churches. This is important not only because this model is inherent to these relationships at the stage of the formation of the Church of Kyiv. The communion principle of unity has a great chance to become the new proposal of the Universal Hierarch to the Orthodox Churches that will allow not only the honoring of the ecclesiastical nature of the Eastern Churches but at the same time the elimination of historical antagonisms and prejudices from interchurch life which interfered with Catholic-Orthodox mutual understanding.
The important experience of the development of ones own autonomy was acquired also by the Orthodox Churches of Ukraine at the end of the 20th century. Greek Catholics do not undertake the mission of evaluating which one of the ways of acquiring particularity is correct and best corresponds to modern Orthodox ecclesiology. Both attempted ways, namely: the way of adhering to appropriate canonical procedure, which was recently chosen by the UOC-MP, and also the way of one-sided proclamation of autocephalous status, chosen by the UOC-KP and UAOC (and before them the autocephalous Churches of the Orthodox world) are based on important ecclesiastical and historical arguments which cannot be simply ignored. Not making this evaluation, the UGCC still is in solidarity with these efforts on the part of the Orthodox Churches directed at the affirmation of their particularity. The UGCC interprets these efforts as signs of an important process which is characteristic to all branches of the Church of Kyiv which operate on the territory of Ukraine.27

6. Local Church.
6.1. In the UGCC the term Local Church means the eparchial structure with the people of God headed by the bishop; their symbol is the cathedral see where the bishop celebrates Divine Liturgy. There is a difference between autonomous and local Church. The autonomous Church is the Church in communion with the Roman Hierarch which consists of the head, the gathering of the faithful, and the synod of metropolitans and bishops. Regarding communion with the Roman Hierarch, one should mention Archbishop Elias Zoghbi, who together with the Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church (on July 20 August 4, 1995) adopted the act of faith with the following content, 1. I believe in all that Eastern Orthodoxy teaches. 2. I am in communion with the bishop of Rome as the first among bishops in terms acknowledged by the Holy Fathers in the first millennium before the schism. For the time being this is a pattern for Greek Catholic theologians, though it demands supplementation and specification.28
6.2. Relations between the local and autonomous Churches in the UGCC have not always been explicit, for they are particularly complicated by existence of the Roman jurisdiction over the eparchies of the Uniate Church which do not belong to the historical territory of this Church.29 Here the term particular plays its role. In Roman practice this means limited autonomy for Eastern Churches in communion with the Roman See. Instead, for the UGCC the term particular may regard only an eparchy which, though living its own life. which is obviously connected with universality, but exclusively through autonomy.30

7. Baptism.
7.1. A common understanding of Baptism of all the Churches encounters difficulties at various levels, namely a) whether infants or adults should be baptized; b) Rebaptism because of non-recognition of the grace of a previous baptism; c) whether Baptism is a sacrament or just a rite; d) whether Baptism is a new life in Christ or just its reflection; e) whether the formula in the name of Christ corresponds to the formula in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; f) whether water is necessary for Baptism; g) whether Baptism is necessary for participating in Gods life.
7.2. Regarding the first question, on the age of the person who is to be baptized: as the bread, wine, and water are prepared and symbolically represent every member of the Church, in the same way the baptized man is personally sacrificed together with the Lamb in order to be divinized in the Eucharist. Near the door of the temple the priest is awaited by the whole community together with the candidate for Enlightenment.31 The community recites the Creed together with the candidate for baptism, irrespective of his age and position, so that here the issue of personal reciting of the Creed concedes to the common one and does not prevent anyone from being baptized. Through the Sacrament of Enlightenment we conceive the unity of the human person, body and soul, which unites the whole liturgical, theological, and spiritual life into integrity. The faith brings us to the sacraments, and the sacraments lead us into the faith, as not only visible signs of invisible grace, but as the first step to the real life in God. This happens through the pedagogy of the Holy Spirit, which grants us the feeling and understanding of our full-fledged life in the invisible God.32
7.3. When we are to speak of participation in Gods life, we should stress that in the Sacrament of Enlightenment [] we see the interrelation between knowledge and faith, between announcing and fulfilling ones faith, between personal and community faith in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Participating in the Divine Liturgy in the church, we receive grace and carry it out for the liturgy of life. The continuation of the churchs Divine Liturgy in society is made evident in preparing for and receiving the Sacrament, as we experience it in the tradition of the Church.33
7.4. Regarding other questions connected with Baptism, the position of the UGCC is the centuries-old Orthodox-Catholic practice of the Holy Fathers with its periodical deviations and new searching for the lost dynamic heritage.

8. Eucharist.
8.1. Is the Eucharist the partaking of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ or just thanksgiving? What is the nature and means of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist? Should we call upon the Holy Spirit [epiclesis] for a full-fledged Eucharist? What is the position of the UGCC regarding Eucharistic hospitality? Is it the means of achieving unity and the goal we should aim for? Is it an exceptional matter which may be applied in separate cases? May all those baptized and churched in their community receive communion in the UGCC? Is it the sign of ultimate unity of life and consent in faith?
8.2. The eucharistic way of looking at the Church of the UGCC is suggested by Fr. Ihor Petsiukh on the basis of the teaching of St. Ignatius of Antioch. He writes [Ignatius] rests his teaching on Pauls idea of the Body of Christ. As in the eucharistic sacrifice the total Christ is present, in the same way in every ecclesiastical community there is the whole plenitude of the body of Christ. Hence his statement the whole universal Church is there where Christ is.34 And where is Christ? The answer to this question is given by the Lord Himself, saying where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.(Mt 18, 20) Thus, not any gathering of two or three reflects the presence of the Lord, but first of all it is the liturgical gathering. Similarly, as for the Old Testament consciousness that the Lord was present only in the temple of Jerusalem, for there its people officially gathered, then for the New Testament such an official gathering is the Eucharistic liturgy. Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? (1 Cor 10, 16) The presence of Christ means for Ignatius of Antioch the availability of the whole plenitude of the Church, for the Church is His body. Following such an approach to ecclesiology we cannot speak of the parts of the Church, for the Church as well as Christ is undividable. St. Irenaeus of Lyons stated similarly: the Church is there where the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God and all grace is there, where the Church is.35 That is why every autonomous Church has full ecclesiastical status, i.e., it is at the same time the universal Church, and this teaching is in accordance with the Eucharist and the Eucharist confirms it.36
Archpriest Nicolas Afanasiev37 writes that Paul the Apostle calls the Eucharistic bread in 1 Cor 10, 16 as well as the local Church in 1 Cor 12, 27, equally the Body of Christ, and in both cases the same is meant, namely both times the Apostle proclaims the true presence (of the Body of Christ) and not the real presence in the first case and the symbolic presence in the second case. The eucharistic bread is [] the true Body of Christ []. And every local Church is the Church of God in Christ; for Christ lives in His body in the eucharistic gathering, and through partaking in the Body of Christ, believers become members of His Body of His whole Body, and not part of it.38
8.3. The most authoritative voice of the UGCC regarding the Eucharist is the opinion of 246 theologians who gathered on January 2-4, 2007 in Lviv and stipulated the following: acknowledging the fundamental unity of faith to be the main premise for eucharistic communion, we spoke against any relativism, indifferentism or compromises in doctrine. However, we claim that, despite separate divergences of theological positions existing between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches (particularly between the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and its Orthodox Sisters in Ukraine the Ukrainian Orthodox Church[-Moscow Patriarchate], the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kyivan Patriarchate, and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church), there exists a fundamental unity of faith [my emphasis] between them, which made possible partial (on the level of separate faithful) eucharistic communion between our Churches as predicted and recommended by Vatican Council II (Orientalium Ecclesiarum, 26-27, Unitatis Redintegratio, 15). Proceeding from this point, we consider it to be of primary importance to acknowledge that the issue of eucharistic communion between the Churches of the tradition of Kyiv bears mainly a disciplinary-canonical and not a dogmatic character (2.2).
We speak against using the Eucharist as an instrument, the first step in ecumenical undertakings, but following the initiative of our bishops, we are convinced that in fact the Eucharist which is celebrated in the same way both in Orthodox and in Catholic Churches and through which the unity of the Church is manifested and accomplished (UR 2) is a matter which unites our Churches in the most strong way. It demands a more explicit testifying in our all-faith relationships and therefore in order to cherish unity with the disconnected Eastern Churches (UR 26) we tend to promote the spread of available communion according to the pastoral norms of Vatican Council II (UR 26). (2.4).
We should note that the spread of eucharistic communion between our Churches in this transitional time does not violate the ecclesiastical identity of each one of them and does not demand either the structural and jurisdictional fusion of the Churches or the creation of some third ecclesiastical structure. It is eucharistic communion which will show and create the further way of joint growth to full communion (2.5).
The liturgical tradition of the Church in various ways shows that the Eucharist is not only a sign of accomplished unity but also an active sign which strengthens this unity when it is not fully perfect (3.1).
The reason for such a vision of the Eucharist is the undeniable fact that partaking of the one Body of Christ we become one body both with Christ and with all those who partake of this Body. St. Paul spoke about this when he taught because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. (1 Cor 10, 17) A prayer for the unity of those who partake can be found in almost every early anaphora. In the Anaphora of St. Basil the Great we beg Unite all of us who partake of the same loaf and chalice with one another for partaking of the Holy Spirit (3.2.).
There is a distance between the divine ideal and human reality, not only in the case of church unity, but also in the case of holiness. The Liturgy teaches us that Communion can be given only to the holy (Behold! Holy things to the holy!) and, paradoxically, teaches us to confess our sinfulness before Communion, not in order to treat the need of being holy in a light way but in order to make sure that holiness is not from us but from Christ, and it is granted to us in Communion (One is HolyJesus Christ) if we acknowledge that we lack it (3.3).
When unity among Christians is imperfect, it should not be an obstacle to their eucharistic communion if they long for this unity and are ready to admit that they may have something that has become an obstacle for their brothers in faith on the way towards unity. In partaking of the Body of Christ our unity as well as our holiness becomes perfect, for we are granted the holiness of Christ and the unity of His body. However, the liturgical Eucharistic tradition often claims that we are completely unworthy of the eucharistic celebration and Communion, but at the same time it gives us hope for the help of the Holy Spirit in the celebration of the Eucharist (3.4).
The structure of the Liturgy which provides for the proclamation of the Creed before the anaphora manifests that common faith is necessary for accomplishing the Eucharist. At the same time it points out that the Creed of Nicea-Constantinople is a sufficient expression of this unity in faith (3.5).39

9. Ordained Ministry
9.1. Regarding ordination, the UGCC is faithful to the classical Orthodox-Catholic tradition of the three-level official priesthood. The practical problem consists in the fact that not all ordained men conceive their ministry within the community, but they tower over the laity. Others, instead of being a mediator between God and people through communion with the governing hierarch, life in Gods grace, and a prayerful spirit of ministry, become ministers of religion to earn their bread. Thus in practice we can see several types of ordained ministry: some of them feel fully responsible for the Church in the person of the bishop and others are ready to change their ecclesiastical or denominational belonging just in order to retain their status as ordained. We also should say that there is little acknowledgment of the common priesthood of all the faithful, of the fact that in Baptism God returns to man his nature, and in Chrismation [Confirmation] He gives him an additional gift, making man God. It is very important to grasp that God grants Himself to man, and as far as in receiving the Spirit of Christ we receive Christ, and Christ is King, Priest, and Prophet, we receive the gift of reigning, celebrating the Divine Liturgy, and prophesy.40

10. Episkope, Bishops and Apostolic Succession
10.1. The bishop is the member of the people of God who has received the gift of the Holy Spirit through the apostolic succession in terms of ecclesiastical tradition to perform the special ministry of the pastor of the people of God gathered in the local Church. In the Church the Holy Spirit is the beginning of organization and He guides the people of God through the mediation of the bishop administered as a performer of His will. The bishop administers the ministry of priesthood, prophecy, and reigning, the actualization of which is impossible to be imagined without the communion of all Churches. Collegiality is embodied by means of the actualization of the authority of the love of the bishop through the primacy, the manifestation of which is the bishop of the first see [Kyiv] the symbol of collegiality.41 The sanctifying ministry granted to the bishop in a collegial way can be performed in the Church only under the supervision of the whole college of bishops. Thus this ministry is related to collegiality.42
The most ancient dialogues and prayers for the consecration of bishops testify that this sacrament does not refer to a single person as such and that the episcopacy by its nature is included into the integrity, into the unity of service, in which there cannot be any isolation but there is participation in the common mission.43
The ecclesiastical apostolic succession (the power of ordination) of a bishop of the united Church of Kyiv is transmitted together with ordination from the head of the Church with the consent of the synod and with the blessing of the bishop of Rome through the grace of the Holy Spirit. The legal apostolic succession (the power of jurisdiction) is transmitted through the ecclesiastical apostolic succession by decision of the head of the autonomous Church of Kyiv with the consent of the synod and on behalf of the bishop of Rome.44
10.2. Fr. Ihor Petsiukh adds that it is not the simple physical presence of the bishop that provides ecclesiastical status to the gathering of people. This connection between the bishop and the Church is actualized through the Eucharist. Strive for one Eucharist, for the body of our Lord Jesus Christ is one and the chalice of His blood through which we unite is one, there is one altar and one bishop with presbyters and deacons.45 Therefore the Church is there, where the bishop is, for according to the teaching of St. Ignatius only the bishop can be the head of the Divine Liturgy; however, the bishop is only there where the Church is, for it is only in the gathering of the faithful in the name of Christ that the eucharistic sacrifice can be made. Where there is no bishop, there is no Church, and, in the same way, where there is no bishop the Eucharist cannot be.46
10.3. The UGCC positively views the episcopal succession as developed in the Orthodox Churches of Kyiv. His Beatitude Patriarch Lubomyr wrote regarding this: The important experience of the development of ones own autonomy was acquired also by the Orthodox Churches of Ukraine at the end of the 20th century. Greek Catholics do not undertake the mission of evaluating which one of the ways of acquiring autonomy is correct and best corresponds to modern Orthodox ecclesiology. Both attempted ways, namely: the way of adhering to appropriate canonical procedure, which was recently chosen by the UOC-MP and also the way of one-sided proclamation of autocephalous status, chosen by the UOC-KP and UAOC (and before them the autocephalous Churches of the Orthodox world) are based on important ecclesiastical and historical arguments which cannot be simply ignored. Not making this evaluation, the UGCC still is in solidarity with these efforts on the part of the Orthodox Churches directed at the affirmation of their particularity. The UGCC interprets these efforts as signs of an important process which is characteristic to all branches of the Church of Kyiv which operate on the territory of Ukraine.47

11. Conciliarity and Universal Primacy
11.1. The historical experience of the UGCC shows that the Church of Kyiv has not found the right way, though it is constantly searching, between two co-existing sources of the life of the Church ecumenical and particular [read autonomous] dimensions.48 But, since it is an Eastern Church, it must have disciplinary autonomy which is not a consequence of privileges granted by the Roman Church but of the same right enjoyed by these Churches from apostolic times.49
11.2. In the UGCC communion between bishops is actualized through consent and solidarity in faith and also in giving honor to the most important rules of ecclesiastical life; it is also actualized through contacts. The bishops must gather at the synod when they are invited by the head of the autonomous Church. The bishops must obey the metropolitan archbishop. Only the synod may settle disputes between bishops. It is incorrect to address an authority higher than the autonomous Church without having previously passed through the metropolitan archbishop or synod.50
11.3. One of the problematic questions which were not clear to part of the Greek Catholic Church is: Who, finally, is the head of this Church the Pope or the major archbishop, called Patriarch. The liturgical services together with Pope John Paul II in 2001 in Lviv showed that the only head of this Church is Patriarch Lubomyr (Husar), for he headed the Byzantine Liturgies in the presence of the bishop of Rome, being in full communion with him. This question is a matter of principle from the ecumenical point of view, for the Liturgy should reflect the organization of the Church. In this separate case it pointed to the patriarchal institution, which is a specifically Eastern unit and cannot be the consequence of a privilege granted by the Roman Church.51
11.4. In consequence of removing the title patriarch of the West52 by Roman Hierarch Benedict XVI, on March 23, 2006, in Lviv there took place a seminar of Greek Catholic canonists on the subject Canonical consequences of the Roman Hierarch removing the title Patriarch of the West, at which there were formulated the following theses on the consequences of removing the title Patriarch of the West:53
1. The jurisdiction of the primacy will be separated from the jurisdiction of the patriarchate, and this will open the way not for replacing papal centralism with collegial centralism but for putting a seal of collegiality on the legislation and administration of the Universal Church in the line of ecclesiology and practice of ecclesiastical communion of the early Church and, to the degree possible, to decrease them to the level of regional instances.54
2. The pentarchy and apostolic patriarchates will come to an end as a modern guiding reality. They will remain historical monuments on the basis of which we should actively develop the Church. Since the Universal Church needs new centers of Christian gathering of the regional Churches, then the spread of the role of the historic pentarchy will consist in creating new patriarchates both of the so-called West and of the so-called East.
3. The so-called Western or Latin Church will be divided into new patriarchates according to the new cultural, geographical, and political realities of the world. The term Western or Latin will mean pluralism as it is implied in the words Eastern or Byzantine.
4. There will be a decisive turn to the clear awareness of the first millennium that the administrative ruling of which the patriarch of West was in charge is not the role of the Pope of Rome and we should become free from this in order to be just a lowest common denominator of the unity of the Catholic-Orthodox faith for all patriarchal Churches.55 Pottmeyer says, following Ratzinger, that the bishop participates in administrating the Universal Church through the fact that he administrates the Catholic Church in his local Church and that he administrates it as a Catholic Church.56
5. The final interpretation of the dogmas of the all-Church Councils Vatican I and II on Peters ministry according to the tradition of the Seven Ecumenical Councils so that the relations of mutuality and internality which are the constituents of primacy and collegiality also be taken into consideration in the concrete erection of the supreme authority of teaching and administrating. On this issue Pottmeyer writes, The legislation regarding the Universal Church is so tightly connected with the divine right of bishops that we would tend to say that it comes rather from the competence of the college of bishops and not only from the Pope himself.57
6. The external so-called features of Catholicism will be removed and it will help the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome to be fully free in their theological, canonical and pastoral actions on the basis of the signs of the time of the Holy Spirit to rediscover their authentic ecclesial identity, which is not divided by internal but by external elements.
7. The Church will treat ecclesiastical communion as a unity which passes through internal experience and being a Church rather than through external hierarchical-canonical features. It will help the regional-patriarchal Churches which separated for those hierarchical-canonical reasons to slowly find ways toward the renewal of internal unity through a biblical and patristic conception of collegiality which has three constituent parts: soteriological, sacramental, and ecclesiological.58
8. All these will cause the revival of evangelization in the world and inter-Church dialogue of a new sort, and for this new laws will be written according to renewed ecclesiology, namely, on the trinitarian basis of the Churchs structure. These laws will be published by patriarchates and will be accepted by other autonomous Churches as praiseworthy and complementary to their own own economy.59
9. In the end, the notion of the supreme authority of the Church will be reconsidered according to the notion of the Roman Hierarch Gregory the Great, which in turn will give hope for the ecumenical ministry of Peter and later on for the convocation of an 8th Ecumenical Council.60



1.An English version of this document, The Nature and Mission of the Church: A Stage on the Way to a Common Statement, is located on the web-site Oikoumene of the World Council of Churches [http://www.oikoumene.org/fileadmin/files/wcc-main/documents/p2/FO2005_198_en.pdf], visited on March 21, 2007.
2.Myron Bendyk. Autonomous Churches in the Universal Church in the teaching of the Lviv metropolitans of Ukrainian rite of the 20th century. Ivano-Frankivsk, 2004.
3.Cf. Mykola Krokosh. Is a patriarchate possible under the modern teaching about the Catholic Church? // Patriarchate 2 (399) 2007 // Web-site of the Blessed Martyr Andrew Ishchak Institute of Canon Law at UCU: [https://icl.org.ua/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16&itemid=66], visited on March 12, 2007.
4.Conclusions and Suggestions of the Congress of Theologians of the UGCC Eucharistic Communion Challenge of tradition and modernity to traditional Churches summoned by the Ukrainian Academic Theological Society in Lviv on January 2-4, 2007 // Web-site of the Institute of Canon Law of Blessed Martyr Andrew Ishchak [https://icl.org.ua] visited on March 1, 2007.
5.John Paul II. That All Might Be One (Ut Unum Sint): District message on ecumenical dialogue, 20 // web-site Tatarstan in Internet [http://www.kcn.ru/tat_ru/religion/catholic/utunum.htm] visited on March 1, 2007. In Ukrainian we can find only passages from this document in: The Signs of Time. On the problem of mutual understanding between the Churches. Kyiv 1999. Compiled by Zynoviy Antoniuk, Myroslav Marynovych. p. 337-353.
6.Michael Dymyd. Enlightenment // web-site of the Lviv Archeparchy of the UGCC [http://www.ugcc.lviv.ua/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=273&Itemied=85], visited on March 1, 2007.
7.Alexander Schmemann. Of Water and the Holy Spirit. Ch. 3: The Mystery of the Holy Spirit // web-site: Library of Jacob Krotov [http://www.krotov.info/libr_min/sh/shmeman/schmem24.html] visited on March 18, 2006.
8.Michael Dymyd. The Bishop of the Church of Kyiv. Lviv 2000. p. 165.
9.Basic Documents of the Brest Union. Lviv 1996. p. 77-78. The apostolic letter of Clement VIII It suits the Roman Hierarch writes: Reverend brothers Ipaty, on the throne of Vladimir and Brest, and Cyril, exarch of Lutsk and Ostrih, bishops of the Ruthenian or Rus nation [] They both personally as well as of behalf of all, per procurationem [] of Archbishop Michael and other bishops [] condemned and rejected all faults, heresies and schismatic beliefs of themselves and other bishops.
10.Web-site proUA.com: informational portal [http://proua.com/accent/2007/02/20/121541.html], visited on March 1, 2007. Continuation is at the web-site [http://proua.com/accent/2007/02/21/103906.html].
11.Sacrament-Mystery // terminologically-orthographical Advisor for theologians and editors of theological texts at the web-site of UCU [http://www.ucu.edu.ua/poradnyk/theological.comments/sacrament] visited on March 1, 2007.
12.Peter Galadza. Sacrament, Mystery, Sacramentum (short theological investigation) // With one mouth 2 (1998) 34-36.
13.Ibid.
14.Josyf Slipyj. On Holy Sacraments
15.Sacrament mystery // Terminologically-Orthographical Advisor
16.Lubomyr (Major Archbishop, Husar). One people of God in the land on the hills of Kyiv (April 13, 2004) // Web-site of the UGCC [http://lib.ugcc.org.ua/2004/04/13/kyiv/], visited on March 1, 2007. Also [http://www.ugcc.org.ua/press-releases/article:713], visited On March 1, 2007.
17.This idea of becoming who you are is the core of the whole eschatological teaching of the New Testament. (Gregory Dix. The Shape of the Liturgy. London, 1944. p. 247)
18.Cf. Declaration on Faith and Order, written by Orthodox delegates in Evanstone in 1954, where this point is clearly explained.
19.John Meyendorff. What holds the Church together? // Ecumenical Review 12 (1960) 298.
20.Kallistos (Timothy Ware), bishop of Diokleia. The Church of God // Spirit and Letter 5-6 (1999). Translated from: The Orthodox Church. Reprint in New York, 1991. it is located on the web-site of Dzvinka Matiash Under the Sign of Dzvenyslava [http://dzvinkaxxv.narod.ru/Pereklad.htm], visited on March 1, 2007.
21.The appeal of the Synod of Bishops of the Major Archbishopric of Kyiv-Halych on liturgical issues (February 9, 2007) // Web-site of the UGCC [http://www.ugcc.org.ua/ukr/documents/appeal2007/liturhijni_pytannya/], visited on March 1, 2007.
22.On liquidation of the Union in the Eparchy of Kholm see George Fedoriv. History of the Church in Ukraine. Toronto 1984. p. 200-204. On persecution of the Union in the Soviet Union see Bohdan Botsiurkiw. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and the Soviet State (1939-1950). Edmonton-Toronto 1996.
23.Conclusions and suggestions of the Congress of Theologians of the UGCC
24.Basil Kovpak. Persecuted Tradition. Lviv 2003 // Web-site: Traditional Christianity [http://www.traditional-church.com.ua/books/persecuted_tradition] visited on March 1, 2007. See also the web-site: Bishop Gregory Khomyshyn [http://www.gr-homyshyn.narod.ru], visited on March 1, 2007.
25.Lubomyr. One People of God in the Land on the Hills of Kyiv
26.Ibid.
27.Ibid.
28.Conclusions and suggestions of the Congress of Theologians of the UGCC..
29.Mykhajlo Dymyd. KKKW w praktyce Ko?ciola na Ukrainie i w ukrai?skiej diasporze. Mi?dzynarodowa konferencja naukowa Unitas in varietate, zorganizowana przez Wydzia? Prawa, Prawa Kanonicznego a Administracji Katolickiego Universytetu Lubelskiego w Lublinie. (20 II 2002).
30.Myron Bendyk. Autonomy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and its vision by Patriarch Josyf Slipyj. Lviv 1996.
31.Dymyd. Enlightenment
32.Ibid.
33.Ibid.
34.Ignatius. Ad Smyrn?os 8, 2. // The epistle of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Smyrnaeans, translated by Charles H. Hoole, 1885 // Web-site Early Christian writings [http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/Ignatius-smyrnaeans-hoole.html] visited on March 12, 2007.
35.Irenaeus, Adversus haereses III, XXIV, 1. // Early Church Fathers: Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I [www.ccei.org/fathers2/ANF-01/anf01-60.htm#P7937_2180938], visited on March 12, 2007.
36.Ibid., IV, XVIII, 5.
37.Nicolas Afanasiev, Two Ideas for the Ecumenical Church // Way 45 (1934) 16-29.
38.Ihor Petsiukh. Eucharistic Ecclesiology // Web-site of the UGCC [http://www.ugcc.org.ua/ukr/library/2005/paper/1/], visited on March 1, 2007.
39.Conclusions and Suggestions of the Congress of Theologians of the UGCC
40.Dymyd. Enlightenment refers to Schmemann. Of Water and the Holy Spirit, ch. 3: The Mystery of the Holy Spirit
41.Dymyd. Bishop, p. 127.
42.Ibid, p. 109.
43.Ibid, p. 109.
44.Ibid, p. 160.
45.Ignatius. Ad Philadelphenos IV // The Epistle of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Philadelphians, translated by Charles H. Hoole, 1885 // Web-site: Early Christians Writing [http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/Ignatius-philadelphians-hoole.html ], visited on March 12, 2007.
46.Petsiukh. The Eucharistic ecclesiology
47.Lubomyr. One People of God in the Land on the Hills of Kyiv. Discourse of His Beatitude Lubomyr
48.John Paul II, Euntes in Mundum: Apostolic letter on the occasion of the Millennium of the Baptism of Rus. Citta del Vaticano 1988. p. 28.
49.Dymyd. Bishop, p. 104.
50.Ibid, p. 192.
51.Michael Dymyd. What happens after the bishop of Romes visit to Ukraine? // Web-site: the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church [http://www.ugcc.org.us/ukr/church_in_action/sobor/eparchial/diaspora-australia/1.dymyd/] visited on March 1, 2007.
52.Communicato del Pontificio Conciglio per lUnita dei Christiani circa la sopressione del titolo Patriarcha dOccidente ne LAnnuario Pontificio, 22.03.2006 // Web-site: La Santa Sede / Informazioni / Bollettino: Salla Stampa della Santa Sede. Bolletino quotidiano del: 22.03.2006 [http://212.77.1.245/news_services/bulletin/news/18125.php?index=18125/=ge], visited on March 23, 2006.
53.Michael Dymyd. The canonical consequences of abdication of the Roman bishop from the title the Patriarch of the West // Web-site of the Institute of Canon Law of Blessed Martyr Andrew Ishchak at UCU: [https://icl.org.ua/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16&itemid=66], visited on March 1, 2007.
54.Herman J. Pottmeyer. Le role de la papaute au troisieme millenaire. Paris 2001, p. 130.
55.See ibid, p. 128.
56.Ibid.
57.Ibid, p. 63. See ibid, p. 78-79.
58.See ibid, p. 124-125.
59.See ibid, p. 65.
60.See ibid, p. 67.

Translation from English into Ukrainian: Svitlana Kantsiar
Editing: Mathew Matuszak
2005-2006 icl.org.ua
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