2009-06-02 12:45:00

Yuschenko considers Uniates a powerful basis of Ukrainian national identity

Kiev, June 2, Interfax – Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko highly appreciates Uniates role in state life and in the country’s integration in the European community.

The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church "certainly plays an important role as a powerful basis of our national identity and bearer of our inseparable connection with Europe," Yuschenko said on Monday at a meeting with students and seminarians of the St. Josaphat Ukrainian Papal Collegium in the Vatican.

Referring to the Ukrainian Papal Collegium, the President said, "it was the only center that nourished the Greek-Catholic Church banned by the Communists during many years of trials for Ukraine and our people and gave Ukrainians a chance to receive spiritual education and work for our people, bringing them the words of faith."

At the forefront of nationalism in early 1990s, activists of the Greek-Orthodox Church used force to seize some hundreds of Orthodox churches in western Ukraine, beating parishioners and priests. No criminal case has been initiated. The Union of Brest remains one of the main problems in the dialogue between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church.