June 26, 2015

Strategic time for unity


Dear Editor:

Analysts in the media are saying that the people of Ukraine are becoming more united than ever because of the war with Russia and its proxies in Ukraine. Followers of the Patriarchate of Moscow are abandoning that Church and worshiping in churches of the Kyiv Patriarchate.

In his recent meetings with heads of state in Europe, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper was promoting continued – and perhaps stronger – support for Ukraine in its war. With that same message, he met with Pope Francis at the Vatican for only 10 minutes, compared with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who met a day earlier with the pontiff for nearly an hour.

Media analysts are speculating that the pope favoured Mr. Putin with more time because he values good relations with the Moscow Patriarchate. In the eyes of the pope, Ukrainian interests are expendable in favor of good relations with Russia.

It is timely therefore for Ukrainian religious leaders to pursue to fruition the unification of all the Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic Churches quickly into a single culturally Eastern rite Church. A united Ukrainian Christian Church in Ukraine and abroad would have more followers than the Patriarchate of Moscow.

The united Ukrainian Christian Church should unilaterally proclaim communion with the followers of both the Catholic Church of Rome and the Orthodox Church of Constantinople. In practice, these people would be welcome to have confession and communion in the Ukrainian Christian Church.

This situation would make it embarrassing from a Christian perspective for the Churches of Rome and Constantinople not to reciprocate communion with the followers of the Ukrainian Christian Church, and by the same token embarrassing not to recognize its autocephalous status.

Upon such reciprocation, there would be a de facto unification of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches in the world. Perhaps this would stimulate the other Christian denominations to join in the movement for Christian unity as well. I believe that would look good in the eyes of God, and it would not pass notice by the followers of Islam.

I pray that Ukrainian Church leaders set aside their petty reasons for being divisive and demonstrate their Christian humility by doing what is right in the eyes of God and humanity.


Calgary, Alberta