November 1, 1971
Your Beatitude, and
Most Reverend Fathers of the Synod;
We received the announcement of the opening of the Fifth Archiepiscopal Synod of the Ukrainian Catholic ChurcÈ in Rome with great joy and elation. In our own name, in the name of the lay and community organizations which we represent, and in the name of the Ukrainian Catholic laity in general in the entire world who have been informed about this joyous event, we greet this illustrious gathering of Ukrainian hierarchs.
We wish the Synod the greatest success in its deliberations and trust that, for the welfare of the Ukrainian Church and People, the accepted resolutions will be realized and implemented in all our metropolias, eparchies, exarchates, and parishes.
At the same time, in accord with the existing traditions of our Church, we request the Presidium of the Synod to admit the representatives of the laity so that they may make known to the Synodal Fathers the desires of those whom they represent’.
We are convinced that only close cooperation among the hierarchs, priests, and the members of the monastic orders will guarantee the implementation of the resolutions of this Synod and all the previous ones.
We reiterate our pledge that the organized Ukrainian laity and our civic organizations are ready to cooperate very closely with the leadership of our Church and all the local bishops in matters relative to the development of the religious life of our people.
With sentiments of deepest gratitude, we are In Christ
* * * * * * * * * *
Praised be Jesus Christ!
To the Archiepiscopal Synod
of the Ukrainian Catholic Church
c/o His Beatitude,
the Major Archbishop Joseph Cardinal Slipyj
Most Reverend Excellencies,
We, the undersigned representatives of organized Ukrainian laity and civic organizations, who attended the solemn festivities held in Rome on October 30-31 on the occasions of the 375th anniversary of the Union of Brest and the 325th anniversary of the Union of Uzhorod in conjunction with the dedication of the renovated Church of SS. Sergius and Bacchus, deem it appropriate to acquaint you with the views and the desires of the Ukrainian people.
The Ukrainian Community is gravely disturbed by the latest impediments placed by the Vatican Secretariat of State to convoke the successive Archiepiscopal Synod. We consider this a violation of historical rights, the established order of the Particular (self governing) Ukrainian Catholic Church, as well as, an inimical act towards our martyred Church dictated by political expediency.
In spite of everything, we believe, that You, our Bishops, have a sacred duty during this critical time, to defend the rights of our Church, which have been safeguarded by thousand year old traditions, by the Union of Brest and the Decrees of the II Vatican Council. The entire Ukrainian community is impatiently awaiting the immediate convocation of the planned (proposed) Fifth Archiepiscopal Synod. We request the Synodal Fathers, now assembled in Rome, to review the following matters in particular:
1) To confirm and to implement the resolutions accepted at the Fourth Archiepiscopal Synod in regard to the Particular (self governing) and Patriarchal Systems of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
2) To insist that the Apostolic See respect the provisions of the Union of Brest concerning the rights of our Church, including the election of their bishops.
3) To reject the exclusion of territorial jurisdiction in favor of the personal, jurisdiction of the Major Archbishop over all the Ukrainian Catholics in the world.
4) The spiritual well-being of the faithful today necessitates the preservation of the tradition of a married clergy and rejects most emphatically the forceful introduction of celibacy in new countries.
5) To restore the tradition of the participation of the laity in the government of the Church on all levels of ecclesial structure – Central Council of Laity, Eparchial and Parochial Councils, Church Brotherhoods and Sisterhoods, etc.
6) To consolidate the cooperation of the Church with socio-civic organizations, especially in the field of native education, youth organizations, as well as the preservation and development of Ukrainian culture.
7) To develop the ecumenical contacts and practical cooperation with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
8) To safeguard the support and the best operation of the Ukrainian Catholic University of St. Clement which was given over to the Archiepiscopal Synod.
9) To accelerate the resolving of the most painful conflicts among the hierarchy, monastic orders and laity in some countries.
10) Regardless of the letter of Pope Paul VI dated July 7, 1971 and the temporary difficulties in the matter of the creation of the Ukrainian Catholic Patriarchate, to continue relentlessly our striving for the ultimate achievement of our Church with a Kievo-Halyckij Patriarchate.
We deem it necessary to underscore the fact to the Synodal Fathers, that the Ukrainian laity and civic organizations have contributed greatly and have sacrificed much in the development of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. We voice great fear, if the Synod should not take place, or if it would not bring positive decisions which it would not be able to implement; indifference to Church problems; the lessening of contributions or even in particular cases, the departure of the active element from the Ukrainian Catholic Church.
However, we trust, that the Ukrainian Bishops will do all in their power during this critical period to fulfill their historical mission in regards to the Church and People.
With wishes for success in the works of the Synod, we remain with deepest respect
(The signatures of the representatives of the organizations follow. Ref. page 14)