Ukraine, Belarus, Romania

Ukraine: 59th session of Synod of BishopsThe 59th session of the Synod of Bishops of Kyiv-Halych Major Archbishopric of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) was held in Briukhovychi, Ukraine, on 25 February, with participation of 17 bishops. The main topic of the session was an "appropriate commemoration of the Year of Faith in the Major Archbishopric". The keynote address was given by bishop Yaroslav Pryriz, followed by Rev. Myron Bendyk on Clergy Guidelines for the Year of Faith and bishop Joseph Milan on the All-Church Pilgrimage to the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Kyiv on 17-18 August 2013. Presentations on the Year of the Deacon as a third year of preparation for the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine, were made by Rev. Andriy Nahirniak and Mr. Andriy Vaskiv, president of the Charitable Fund Caritas- Ukraine. According to the Information Department of the UGCC, appropriate resolutions were passed by the synod for all issues mentioned above. The synod completed the third review and ratified the fdocuments "Norms of celebrating Divine Liturgy" and "Administrative Guidelines of UGCC Kyiv-Halych Major Archbishopric". A discussion on the preparations for celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus-Ukraine was chaired by bishop Bohdan Dziurakh, member of the jubilee’s State Organizing Committee. Touching the sphere of state-church relations, the Synod members were informed on the legal acts of Parliament, Cabinet of Ministers and the Administration of the President of Ukraine, which relate to religious life. In consideration of the fact that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Volyn tragedy, the synod ratified an appropriate resolution. Program of the session included the Pontifical Divine Liturgy in St. George’s Archcathedral on the occasion of the 80th birthday and the 55th anniversary of priesthood of His Beatitude Lubomyr Husar, archbishop emeritus of the UGCC. The 60th session of the Synod of Bishops of UGCC Kyiv-Halych Major Archbishopric will be held in May in Zarvanytsa.Belarus: spiritual gift to pope emeritus A "spiritual gift" of prayers and support through dedication of fasting during this year’s Lenten period to the intention of pope emeritus Benedict XVI is given by the Catholics in Belarus to the Benedict XVI who resigned to his office on 28 February. About six thousand faithful from the Parish of St. Simon and Helen in Minsk addressed him with a letter in which they inform about the decision to eat only bread and water on each Wednesday, Friday and Saturday until the Easter. "I ask the faithful of whole Belarus and all continents of the world to show solidarity with the pope emeritus, to join in prayers and fasting during the Lent and dedicate it to his intentions for the good of the Church of Christ", invites parish priest W³adys³aw Zawalniuk, emphasizing the necessity to pray for the future of the whole Catholic community.Romania: pastoral visit of bishop of UGCCOn 22-24 February, bishop Joseph Milan, head of the Pastoral-Mission Department of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), paid a pastoral visit to Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Romania. The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic parishes there are united in two deaconates – Bukovyna and Transcarpathia. There are also two parishes in the Banat region. For Ukrainian Greek Catholics, there is a General Vicariate within the Romanian Greek Catholic Eparchy, with Rev. Mykhailo Dubovych serving as general vicar since 2012. During the meetings in the first two days of the visit to the town of Sihet, there were presentations on the UGCC Strategy of Development until 2020 for priests and deacons of both deaconates. Bishop Milan greeted the pastors and invited all the faithful to participate at the All-Ukrainian Pilgrimage to Kyiv planned for August. On Sunday, he celebrated a pontifical liturgy with Rev. Dubovych and the clergy of the Transcarpathia deaconate in the UGCC parish in Krechunesht village. At the gate, the bishop was greeted with the traditional bread and salt offered by children in Ukrainian embroidery and local pastor Rev. Yuriy Pituliak. In his sermon, head of the Pastoral-Mission Department emphasized the need for "an authentically sincere prayer for the real unity with God and for becoming real children of the Heavenly Father". Currently, about 0.9% of inhabitants of Romania claim to be Greek Catholics, major part of them belongs to the Romanian Greek Catholic Church.

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