Thursday, September 05, 2019

Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Bishops Celebrate a Roman Anniversary

This past weekend, the bishops of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, gathered in Rome for a synod, also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the church of Santa Sophia (Holy Wisdom) on the via Boccea, the Ukrainian national church in the city. The head of the UGCC, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halych, celebrated Vespers on the evening of Saturday, August 31st, and the Divine Liturgy on the morning of Sunday, September 1st, to mark the occasion. Among those attending the Sunday liturgy were Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; the former President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, with his wife Marina; and the Ukrainian Ambassador to the Vatican, Tetiana Izhevska. The UGCC’s television channel Живе Телебачення live-streamed both services, and has now posted them on its YouTube channel; in the second video, the liturgy starts around the 21:00 mark.

The basilica was originally consecrated on September 27 and 28, 1969, by Yosyf Cardinal Slipyi (1892-1984), together with seventeen bishops of the UGCC, and in the presence of the Pope. The church is next to the Ukrainian University in Rome, which is dedicated to Pope St Clement I (ca. 88-99AD), who was exiled to the Crimean peninsula, which is now part of Ukraine, and died there as a martyr. For the original dedication service, part of the relics of St Clement were brought from the Lateran and placed in the church’s altar.

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