LONDON (NC) — In a pastoral letter being distributed here 84-year-old Cardinal Josyf Slipyj has called on all Ukrainian —Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant — to unite «in one particular Ukrainian Church under the leadership of the patriarch.»
The Cardinal, exiled archbishop-major of Lviv in the Soviet Ukraine who now lives in Rome, also repeated his claim to the title of patriarch, despite clear refusals by Pope Paul VI to allow the Ukrainian rite to be raised to the level of a patriarchate «at least for the present moment.
The pastoral letter was issued in Rome, June 3, the feast of the Ascension according to the Julian calendar which the Ukrainians use.
In his pastoral letter urging Ukrainian reunion, Cardinal Slipyj said that «impartially speaking» there are «no fundamental dogmatic differences» between the Orthodox and Catholics.
«To tell the truth,» he added, «severance and division are supported only from outside, from those who know that by this they will weaken the Ukrainian nation and church.»
While calling on both Catholic and Orthodox Ukrainians to stand on the tradition of their forefathers, he appealed also to Evangelicals and to Bible Christians. He cited as an example attendance by Ukrainian Jehovah’s Witnesses in Argentina at a Catholic Ukrainian liturgy that they had learned of over the radio.
The National Catholic Register
July 18, 1976