Letter from Hartford

His Holiness pope John Paul II Vatican City

Your Holiness:

We the parishionery of the St. Michael’s parish of the Ukrainian Catholic Church are writing this letter in order to convey to Your Holiness our bewilderment about the contents of the letters exchanged between the Moscow patriarch and Your Holiness (October 22, 1980, and January 24, 1981, respectively) with regards to the issue of the “sobor” of 1946 held in Lviv and the invalidity of that “sobor” as declared by the Synod of the Ukrainian Catholic Hierarchy held in Rome, November-December 1980.

Your Holiness, we wish to make known that the stand of the Moscow patriarch has not taken us by surprise. The Moscow Orthodox Church intentions and objectives with regards to the Ukrainian Catholic Church are abundantly clear to every Ukrainian. These intentions deviate little from the policies pursued by Hitler, Stalin, Brezhnev: total destruction of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Unfortunately some of the points raised by Your Holiness’ reply to the Moscow patriarch put us into the state of controlled moral shock.

First, the dialogue between Your Holiness and Moscow patriarch took place without the consultation with the Head of our Church, His Beatitude Patriarch Josyf I. The subject of the dialogue is the very existence of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, and yet the Head of that Church is excluded from the process. We find such an “ecumenical process” unacceptable and insulting. The union of the Ukrainian Church with the Holy See should not be interpreted by the Vatican Curia as a subrogation of its ancient rights.

Second, in the same letter to the Moscow patriarch, Your Holiness states explicitly that the Pastoral Letter issued by’ the Synod of our Hierarchy of November-December 1980 concerning the pseudosobor of 1946 has not been approved by Your office, and will not be published in the official Vatican news media. We are sorry to say this, Your Holiness, but we find this decision shortsighted and harmful, not only to the Ukrainian Catholic Church but also to Christianity in general. The decision to “incorporate” the Ukrainian Catholic Church into the Russian Orthodox Church by that church hierarchy should be viewed and treated as a global issue, as an issue relevant and vital to all mankind. Really, Your Holiness, is there a profound intellectual difference between Hitler’s approach to subject peoples and the resolution of the existence of the Ukrainian Catholic Church as an Institution in 1946, before, during and after that pseudosobor.

Patriarch Pimen is telling Your Holiness in no uncertain terms, that the dialogue between his Church and the Catholic Church is in jeopardy unless the issue of the existence of the Ukrainian Catholic Church remains an internal affair of the Moscow patriarch. By coincidence, a similar posture has been advanced by a certain Russian dissident with regards to the current situation in Poland {Wall Street Journal, June 11, page 27).

We emphatically reject such a postulate as it is colonialist in its nature and antichristian in its philosophy. We feel that proper and authoritative exposure of the deeds perpetrated by the Russian Orthodox Church against the Ukrainian Catholic Church (and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as well) in Ukraine and in Diaspora would benefit not only Ukraine but all mankind (including Russia).

We remain loyal to Your Holiness and pray for Your speedy recovery

Slava Isusu Khrystu!

Bohdan Stelmach

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