ROME, Italy — Patriarch Josyf I, primate of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, called on the faithful of the three major Ukrainian Churches to unite into one congregation for the «good of the Ukrainian faith and nation.»
Referring to the maxim that «in unity there is strength,» the 83-year-old prelate said that because the Ukrainian Church and nation are divided and fractionalized, their enemies have been able to subjugate the Ukrainian people.
«We have Catholic and Orthodox Churches, Evangelical congregations, and other denominations, and all are suffering for Christ and his faith,» v.-rote Patriarch Josyf in an open letter released here Tuesday, June 3.
Using an example from ancient history, Patriarch Josyf said that the Ukrainian nation was powerful under the reigns of Volodymyr the Great and Yaroslav the Wise because «there existed one faith, one church, which spiritually united the entire nation, strengthened political life and created a new culture.»
He emphasized that there are no doctrinal differences between Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox faiths, and he appealed to the Ukrainian people gin convalescence from the roots of your spiritual (пропущено частину тексту) from within your immortal soul and its needs.»
He appealed to the Evangelical congregations, to join this unifying effort, because, according to him, all Christians are believers in Christ and the Bible.
Patriarch Josyf exhorted that «we should be ourselves,» and then the Ukrainian nation would become «unified as a Church and then as a state.»
He said that Ukrainians should put the good of the Church and nation ahead of personal or party ambitions.
«It is heartening to see that this is being understood by the faithful of all churches in Ukraine, that united into one Pomisna Ukrainian Church under the leadership of a patriarch, we will become a fortress which will be able to withstand all enemy assaults, both religious and political,» said the Patriarch.
He said that the unification should begin with the «adoption of a single translation for Divine Liturgies and other services, so that we could pray in one tongue and with one heart».