The Permanent Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) started its proceedings in Wrocław on May 23, 2023. The session will include meetings focused on Poland’s efforts to assist refugees and the experience of the Przemyśl-Warsaw Metropolis of the Greek Catholic Church in Poland in this regard.
His Beatitude Svyatoslav, the leader of the Permanent Synod, noted that the purpose of the 4th (75th) session was to discuss and prepare topics for the upcoming Synod of Bishops of the UGCC scheduled for Semptember in Rome. The Synod of Bishops will focus on pastoral care for war refugees, with Poland chosen as the location of the Permanent Synod due to the presence of around 3 million Ukrainian refugees in the country.
The meeting began with a prayer and words of welcome by His Beatitude Svyatoslav. The leader of the UGCC shared his happiness about the joint meeting, as since July 2022, all discussions had to take place online due to the conflict in Ukraine caused by Russia.
The Permanent Synod had members from various parts of the world. Patriarch Svyatoslav of Kyiv, Bishop Włodzimierz Juszczak – who is the host and organizer of the meeting – and Bishop Bohdan Dziurach – who is the Exarch for Greek Catholics of Germany and Scandinavia – came from Munich. Bishop Boris Gudziak, the Archbishop and Metropolitan of Philadelphia, traveled from the USA while Bishop Josaphat Moszczycz came from Chernivtsi in Ukraine. The Secretary of the Permanent Synod is Bishop Andriy Khimiak, the auxiliary bishop of the Archeparchy of Kyiv.
At the initial meeting, the bishops talked about the progress made in implementing the decisions from the previous Permanent Synod session and outlined a plan for future work. The next part of the meeting was devoted to discussing the current situation in Ukraine and the pastoral challenges that have arisen as a result of the ongoing war.
The bishops of the Permanent Synod will be in deliberation until May 26.
Fr. Igor Hubacz/ Eparchy of Olsztyn-Gdańsk
Translated by Sr. Amata Nowaszewska / Office for Foreign Communication of the Polish Bishops’ Conference