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Author Topic: Catholics, Orthodox clash in Ukraine  (Read 576 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: August 23, 2005, 10:09:17 AM »

  2005.08.22 CWN: Catholics, Orthodox clash in Ukraine

Kiev, Aug. 22 (CWNews.com) - Ukrainian Orthodox demonstrators clashed
with Eastern-rite Catholics in Kiev on August 21, as Cardinal Lubomyr
Husar celebrated the Divine Liturgy to mark the transfer of his See
from Lviv to the nation's capital.

Some Ukrainian Orthodox leaders-- particularly those affiliated with
the Patriarchate of Moscow-- have bitterly opposed the transfer,
which Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II described as an
"unfriendly act." Militant Orthodox protestors tried to block
Catholics from attending the Eucharist ceremony, and police were
forced to break up sidewalk scuffles as the Ukrainian Catholic
service began.

Cardinal Husar, the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic
Church-- the largest of the Eastern churches in communion with the
Holy See-- insisted in his homily that the transfer from Lviv to Kiev
was not intended as a challenge to the country's Orthodox churches.
The Ukrainian Catholic leader has argued consistently that the move
was a logical step, placing the headquarters of the Byzantine
Catholic Church in the nation's cultural and political capital.

Representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev
Patriarchate-- one of two bodies contesting for leadership among the
country's Orthodox believers-- have accepted the transfer. The Kiev
patriarchate sent representatives to the inaugural liturgy as a sign
of welcome to the Catholic prelate.

But the Ukrainian Orthodox Church- Moscow Patriarchate continued to
oppose the transfer, and adamant Orthodox demonstrators demanded that
the Vatican force Cardinal Husar to reverse the move. (As the
cardinal has pointed out to reporters, the Ukrainian Catholic Church
is self-governing, and neither sought nor required Vatican approval
for the transfer.)

Meanwhile, in another sign of the deep divisions within the Orthodox
hierarchy in Ukraine, Metropolitan Vladimir of the Moscow patriarch
urged President Viktor Yushchenko to give up a practice which he had
undertaken in a bid to ease tensions between the rival Orthodox
groups.

President Yushchenko has been alternating his attendance at Sunday
liturgical services, going to a church of the Moscow patriarchate one
week, and the Kiev patriarchate the next, to avoid any show of
official favor for either side in the clash. Metropolitan Vladimir
claimed that this practice had "provoked inter-church clashes, and
shown that religious organizations have actually been held hostage by
the prejudices of authorities." He said that President Yushchenko
should only attend services conducted by the churches of the Moscow
patriarchate.
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