Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 18, 2002
Ukrainian Catholics begin move to Kiev
By Catholic News Service
Construction has begun on a Ukrainian Catholic cathedral in Kiev as part of plans to move the Church's leadership from Lviv to the Ukrainian capital.
Speaking at a Nov. 3 ceremony, Cardinal Lubomyr Husar said the start of work on the cathedral was "not a fully joyful occasion" because of "tragic divisions" between the country's Catholic and Orthodox Christians.
However, he said Eastern Catholics maintained a "justified hope" that unity would be "rebuilt sooner or later."
"The present undertaking is only a step on the way to something much greater and more beautiful," Husar told participants, including bishops from Ukraine and abroad.
The five-million-member Ukrainian Catholic Church, revived in 1990 after 44 years of Soviet prohibition, has 10 dioceses and 3,000 parishes, mostly in Western Ukraine.
The Orthodox Church, which includes three-fifths of Ukraine's population of 50 million, has been divided among three rival leaderships, of which only a Moscow-linked Church, with 8,000 parishes, is recognized as canonical by Orthodox churches abroad.
"We need to be able to show our Church's face in the capital, not just on the periphery. People in eastern Ukraine only know us from the negative opinions of others," said Ukrainian Catholic Bishop Julian Gbur of Stryj.
Gbur said the Church's leadership planned to moved from Lviv after the building was completed. "Although beautiful, Lviv is a provincial city - if other churches have their hierarchies in Kiev, why shouldn't we?"