On Epiphany the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church gathered its clergymen, laymen, and representatives of other denominations for Thanksgiving Eucharist. It was founded several years ago by His Beatitude Liubomyr (HUZAR), the then head of the church. Understanding that traditions in megalopolises are recreated locally (in churches, Sunday schools, and separate families), he wanted to unite all the faithful (not only Kyiv residents, as guests from entire Ukraine come to the event) into a single Christian community. Incidentally, over the recent few years the number of locals among the faithful of the capital has considerably increased. Therefore when Galician “diaspora” traditionally goes to Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, and Lviv regions to celebrate Christmas, Old New Year, Epiphany, or Trinity Sunday, the churches in Podil, Lvivska Square, and near Livoberezhna Subway Station of Kyiv are still crowded. Apparently, under current sociopolitical situation the UGCC has become a kind of attraction center.
“At every place of Christmas celebrations we experience a small Bethlehem where Jesus is born,” the primate of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church His Beatitude started his speech. “Bethlehem means a city of bread. And we want to share our Christmas joy by sharing the blessed Christmas bread, because bread is a symbol of Christ. During Christmas celebrations the Heavenly Bread has come to each of us. So, I thank you for the opportunity to share the Christmas bread namely with you.”
During the evening the head of the UGCC came up to greet everyone and express his gratitude for the support of the construction of the Patriarch Cathedral of Christ’s Resurrection (Apparently, children were the least patient, creating mini lines for his blessing. When it was their turn, they were speechless with joy). His Beatitude Liubomyr (HUZAR), who could not come to the event, thanked for any assistance in construction of the church in his video speech.
“I can say that we all are waiting for the completion of the Patriarch Cathedral construction any day now,” he admitted, “And we are really thankful to everyone for the support of this special project, because this is a symbol of unity of our church.”
The construction of the cathedral has been lasting for 10 years now. It has been holding divine services for two years.
“It remains only to finish the interior in the church,” assistant bishop of the Kyiv Archiepiscopacy Yosyf (MILIAN) says, “As for the exterior, we have started to lay the pavement, build the fence, and plant the trees. This year we have announced a worldwide pilgrimage to the Patriarch Cathedral. To some extent it is organized with an aim to emphasize that it needs the attention of the laymen. For His Beatitude Sviatoslav supports the stand of His Beatitude Liubomyr: this church cannot be built with donations of politicians or state structures, it should be funded by people.”
Incidentally, there was some fundraising during the Eucharist.
“I was invited to the first Thanksgiving Dinner, which was initiated by His Beatitude,” religion expert Viktor YELENSKY shared his impressions. “The meeting turned out to be innovating. Since that time I have been visiting this event every year. I am drawn to the natural atmosphere and informal communication with interesting people, many of whom come here.”
“What can be better in the time of Christmas holidays than getting together,” outstanding economist Bohdan HAVRYLYSHYN summed up, “pray together and sing carols ‘God Eternal is born’ and ‘A new joy came’? For nowadays very few events are organized, which unite people.”