On September 4-11, 2016 in Lviv-Brukhovychi was held the Synod of Bishops of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church where participated 41 bishops of Ukraine, Central and West Europe, South and North America and Australia.
The Synod started with Divine Liturgy at Saint George Cathedral. At the end of the Divine Liturgy the Secretary of the UGCC Synod of Bishops bishop Bohdan Dzyurakh read a decree about its convocation and His Beatitude Sviatoslav proclaimed the Synod opened. The honored guests Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine and Patriarch Gregory III, Head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church addressed to all who were present with a greeting word.
An original icon of Blessed Virgin Mary “Doors of Mercy” was brought by Metropolitan and Archbishop of Przemyśl–Warsaw Eugeniusz Popowicz from Jarosław (Poland) on occasion of holding the Synod of Bishops. By request of Pope Francis exactly this icon was at the ceremonial Liturgy on occasion of opening jubilee year of Mercy in Rome.
The same day in the evening was served Moleben to the Holy Spirit and all participants swore an oath read by a bishop who is the oldest among the present bishops due to the bishop’s consecration – bishop Vasyl Losten. In a little while Patriarch Gregory III addressed to the present ones with a friendly word.
On 5th of September, 2016 at the first session of the Synod invited guests had a greeting word. Among them are: Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, Apostolic Nuncio to Ukraine; bishop Leon Malyi, representative of Episcopal Conference of Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine; bishop Dmytriy Rudiuk, Metropolitan of Lviv and Sokal of Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate; father superior Markiyan Kaiumov, plenipotentiary of Bishop of Lviv and Galicia Filaret of Ukrainian Orthodox Church. A salutation letter from Episcopal Conference of Kazakhstan was read by fr. Vasyl Hovera, Apostolic delegate to Ukrainian Greek Catholics in Kazakhstan and Central Asia countries. Archimandrite Serhiy Hayek, Apostolic visitator of Belarus Greek Catholic Church had a greeting word in Belarussian.
Among the guests invited for the Synod were: bishop Nil Lushchak, Bishop-Auxiliary of Mukachevo Greek Catholic eparchy; fr. Mykhailo Dubovych, vicar to Ukrainian Greek Catholic in Romania; bishop Joseph Kallarangatt, bishop of Syro-Malabar from India who spoke about diaconia in his local Church.
Head of UGCC delivered his program report to the Synod where he characterized last year as a period of decision-making regarding Patriarchal Council that was held in Ivano-Frankivsk. His Beatitude Sviatoslav analyzed the results of post-council conferences held in all eparchies and pointed out that they had significant positive consequences. It was also a year of further implementation of Development Strategy of UGCC to 2020 “The Vibrant parish – a place to encounter the living Christ”.
Social service in UGCC was the main theme of the Synod. Presenting it, the main speaker fr. Andriy Nahirniak together with other experts – Ksenia Gapiy, Grigoriy Seleshchuk and Andriy Vaskovych mentioned that ministering to a neighbor is one of the priorities of Development Strategy of UGCC.
Social service means diaconic nature of Church, being a part of its threefold mission: to spread Good news, sanctify and serve.
The Synod listened to the report about work of Patriarchal curia for the last year presented by bishop Bohdan Dzyurakh, the Secretary of the Synod and Administrator of Patriarchal curia, and also reports of heads of different synodal committees and departments. The process of realizing a program of Church Strategy to 2020, military chaplaincy, the process of building Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ and Patriarchal Center in Kyiv.
Synod approved regulation brochures, statutes and internal documents of the Synod of Bishops of UGCC, produced of Secretariat of the Synod and Canonical department of Patriarchal curia. Synodal priests also discussed staff issues.
The Synod agreed on promoting the idea of celebrating 400th anniversary of Basilian Order of Saint Josaphat, 380th anniversary of death of Metropolitan Josyf Veliamyn Rutsky and 150 years since saint Josaphat Kuntsevych canonization and the 125th anniversary of birthday of confessor of the faith Josyf Slipyi.
On Wednesday, Septembet 7, at Lychakivskiy cemetery in Lviv, members of the Synod heading by His Beatitude Sviatoslav prayed Panakhyda for died soldiers on East Ukraine who defended independence and territorial integrity of our country. Relatives of perished joined in prayer and together with bishops lightened candles at the soldiers’ graves. Later on Head of Church and bishops talked personally to the relatives of killed soldiers.
Fr. Myroslaw Tataryn, Th. D. from Canada delivered his sermons every day during the Divine Liturgy. One of the days of the Synod was devoted to a spiritual retreat. Bishops went on a pilgrimage to Peremyshliany, where in St. Nicolas church blessed martyr Omelyan Kovch served, and Univ Lavra. Father Myroslaw guided bishops with his retreats.
Synodal priest appealed with salutation letters to Pope Francis, President of Ukraine, Prime-minister of Ukraine, Head of Verkhovna Rada, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Head of the Conference of Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine, Heads of Eastern Catholic Churches, Heads of Orthodox Churches in Ukraine, etc.
On Saturday, September 10, was served Divine Liturgy and Panakhyda for passed bishops of UGCC. The same in St. George Cathedral members of the Synod prayed Moleben to the Merciful Christ and then marched in procession with an icon of Blessed Virgin Mary “Doors of Mercy” to the UCU newly built church of Saint Sophia – Holy Wisdom of God what was consecrated by His Beatitude Sviatoslav the next day together with all bishops of the Synod.
The next Synod of the UGCC was agreed to be held in September 3-12, 2017 in Lviv-Brukhovychi with the main theme “Liturgical and prayerful life of UGCC”.