In view of the fact that articles without foundation, false compentaries and distorted evaluations of our church-life have appeared in the world press, the office of His Beatitude is authorized to sate the following:
The Ukrainian Patriarchate is a historical problem of our Church. It had its beginning at the time of the Union of our Church with the Apostolic See, when the desire for a formal realization of this type of self-administration was treated. The late Archbishop Ivan Buchko wrote in 1971: «Catholic Patriarchates have been created for every Particular Church to renew their union with the Apostolic See; e.g., the Alexandrian patriarchate for the Copts, three patriarchates for the Antiochians – the Syrian, the Maronite and the Melchite, one for the Chaldeans and one for the Armenians in Cilicia. Each of these Oriental Churches is numerically very much smaller than our Ukrainian Church, yet, each has its own Patriarchate. Our endeavors for the attainment of a Patriarchate are just.
At the present time, there is no doubt that the main obstacle is the Moscow patriarchate which does not desire a rupture in its territorial dominion. Regrettably, its demand is upheld. On the other hand, the USSR for state and political reasons, regards the establishment of an Ukrainian patriarchate, as an intrusion in its internal affairs.
The statement, that «the Ukrainian Patriarchate arose from the will of the people,» is not true. The Decrees of the II Vatican Council grant almost the same rights and powers of a Patriarch to a Major Archbishop. His Beatitude, Joseph I has these rights. They are based on well-grounded reasons and have been extensively treated in the official bulletin of the Sacred Congregation for Oriental Churches and reprinted in the Osservatore Romano, the semiofficial bulletin of the Vatican on February 6, 1964. Our people have reclaimed these rights in order to safeguard their moral entity. Patriarchal rights and powers have not been created today. Joseph Veliamin Rutsky, he Metropolitan of Kiev and all Rus wrote that our Metropolitans enjoyed all the rights and powers of Patriarchs, excepting the official title. We use the term rightfully while awaiting its official confirmation by the Apostolic See.
All efforts, sermons, appeals and pastoral letters of His Beatitude have absolutely nothing in common with the fantastic conjectures that he wishes to create some sort of an independent, national Church. The insinuation that his recent pastoral letter «the Unity of Ukrainian Christians» is nationalistic in character, is not only false and malicious but it is outright calumny. This particular pastoral letter underscores most firmly our fidelity to the Holy Father as the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church. In order to understand our problem a full comprehension of the significance of a Particular Church and its rightful structure within the fold of the Universal Church is necessary. We are and we remain an Ukrainian, Catholic, Particular Church in union with the Universal Church, the Pope of Rome.
A very harmful and false assertion has been made; namely, that the realization of a patriarchate will lead us into schism. This is a gross insult and injustice to His Beatitude and to all those who for the past three centuries have striven for its attainment. To reproach His Beatitude with the intention of schism (which has never entered his mind) is to negate and destroy the work of his whole life, his incredible sufferings and his long, cruel imprisonment, precisely, for his loyalty to the See of Peter! Would any God-fearing person desire a schism, what then of an individual whose fidelity had been tested so severely? There never has been any question concerning Christ’s teaching on the primacyof Peter in our Ukrainian Church.
May this declaration, based on our firm Catholic faith and confirmed by the testimony of so many martyrs of our Church, be our solemn affirmation before the whole world and its history of our aims and intentions in this historic and crucial moment.
For the Chancery of His Beatitude,
REV. John Choma