New Ukrainian Catholic major archbishop elected

 — Mar. 25, 201125 mars 2011

The Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has elected the Most Rev. Sviatoslav Shevchuk as Major Archbishop

Clarification: The major archbishop is the most senior bishop in the Ukrainian Catholic Church worldwide. At times this post has been described as “patriarch” although under current canonical provisions the See of Kyiv-Halych has not been erected as a patriarchate.

[Lviv, Ukraine] Most Reverend Sviatoslav Shevchuk has been elected Major Archbishop at an Electoral Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Lviv/Bruhovitchi 21-24 March 2011, in accord with the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches and the Particular Law of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC).

His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI confirmed and blessed the election of Bishop Sviatoslav according to the decision of the Electoral Synod of Bishops of the UGCC on 23 March.

Since March 2010, Bishop Sviatoslav, 40 years old, has been the Apostolic Administrator of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy (Diocese) of the Protection of the Mother of God in Argentina.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav, the newly elected Head of the UGCC made his profession of faith and promise to carry out faithfully his office in the presence of the bishops of the Electoral Synod.

The ceremonies of the enthronement of His Beatitude Sviatoslav as Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halych will take place in Kyiv (Ukraine), on Sunday, 27 March, during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the patriarchal Sobor of the Holy Resurrection of Christ. This Divine Liturgy beginning at 10:00 AM will bring to completion the Electoral Synod.

The Electoral Synod was called as a result of the announcement of the retirement of His Beatitude Lubomyr Cardinal Husar on 10 February 2011 due to his deteriorating health. His Beatitude Lubomyr had been elected Major Archbishop at an Electoral Synod in Lviv, in January 2001.

Most Reverend Ihor Vozniak, Archbishop of Lviv, was appointed Administrator of the UGCC and will continue this role until the official enthronement of His Beatitude Sviatolsav.

The Electoral Synod followed a day of prayer and reflection by the membership of the Synod. Sunday, 20 March, Archbishop Ihor along with the bishops celebrated a Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral Sobor of St. George, in Lviv. After the Divine Liturgy the bishops visited the crypt at St. George’s Cathedral and prayed at the tombs of the Servant of God Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky, Patriarch Josyf Slipij, Major Archbishop Myroslav Ivan Cardinal Lubabivsky as well as other church leaders of the UGCC. Very Rev. Doctor Borys Gudziak, rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv led the bishops in their day of spiritual reflection.

Forty bishops of the UGCC under the leadership of Archbishop Ihor took part in the Electoral Synod. All of the ruling bishops of the UGCC from Ukraine, Poland, Germany, France, Italy, England, Canada, United States of America, Brazil, Argentina and Australia were in attendance. Five emeritus bishops of the UGCC also participated in the Synod. Including the emeritus bishops there are a total of 50 Ukrainian Greek Catholic bishops worldwide, with more than seven and a half million faithful.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is the largest Eastern Church in full union with the Holy See. On 30 March 1991, Major Archbishop Myroslav Ivan Cardinal Lubachivsky ended his exile in Rome and returned to Lviv. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church ended its forced clandestine existence in 1989 after a period of more than 40 years of persecution by the Soviet Authorities.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav was born in Striy, Ukraine on 5 May 1970. Between 1991-1992 he studied at the Don Bosko Centre for Philosophy and Theology in Buenos Aires, Argentina and then later at Holy Spirit Seminary in Lviv 1992-1994. He was ordained a deacon for the Archeparchy (Archdiocese) of Lviv on 21 May 1994 by the late Bishop Phileomon Kurchaba C.Ss.R. and a priest of the Archeparchy of Lviv by Major Archbishop Myroslav Ivan Cardinal Lubachivsky on 26 June 1994. He completed his doctoral studies in Theological Anthropology based on the Byzantine moral and theological tradition at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome in 1999 receiving Summa cum laude.

Between the years of 1999 and 2009 he served as prefect, vice rector and rector of Holy Spirit Seminary in Lviv. In 2001 he was appointed vice-dean of the theological faculty of the Lviv Theological Academy (later the Ukrainian Catholic University). From 2002 to 2005 he was the chief of staff and personal secretary of His Beatitude Lubomyr Husar and the director of the Patriarchal Curia in Lviv.

On 14 January 2009, His Holiness Benedict XVI, confirmed the decision of the Synod of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Bishops to nominate him auxiliary bishop of the Protection of Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, titular bishop of Castra di Galba. His Episcopal ordination took place on 7 April 2009 at St. George’s Cathedral Sobor in Lviv. The main consecrator was Archbishop Ihor Vozniak along with co-consecrating Bishops Mykhajlo Mykycej (Buenos Aires) and Julian Gbur, (Striyj). On 10 March 2010, Bishop Sviatoslav was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Eparchy of the Protection of the Mother of God in Buenos Aries. He is currently the head of the Synodal Committee for Clergy.

His Beatitude Sviatoslav’s native language is Ukrainian. He is fluent in English, Italian, Polish, Russian and Spanish.

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