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Monday, August 22, 2005

"Catholics to Poland! Traitors! Agents of the West!"

The principal see of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church moved from Lvov to Kiev yesterday, with the blessing of the Holy See but most emphatically not with that of the Moscow patriarchate. Hgna hgna hgna. The congregation at the Basilian fathers' place last Sunday definitely showed a few smiles when the bishop alluded to the Muscovites' displeasure. Though I hasten to add it was only a gentle smile on both parts, the Muscovites got only a mention and there was no bile.
Note the Latin crucifix in the piccie behind Husar.
The first Divine Liturgy in the new cathedral was picketed by over a thousand people allegedly ancouraged by pro-Russian Orthodox clergy, and including clergy of the Ukrainian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (or whatever the official English name is). Several people trying to get to the church were physically hassled.

The Byzantine-rite Catholics have been persecuted in the Ukraine since the partition of Poland (except in that part that was under Hapsburg rule) under the tsars and under the Communists. The union was forcefully dissolved by the tsars, and during the Soviet era the church functioned underground. My former room-mate remembers the woman who taught her the catechism, whom she discovered to be a religious only after some years.
The Muscovites claim that they are the inheritors of the Christian tradition of Kievan Rus. Ask one day a Russian and a Ukrainian to tell you the history of the Ukraine . . . (probably best not within each other's hearing).
The BBC story.

Now I am going to pack and move house.