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Holy See

Ukrainian Greek-Catholics: New Exarchy in Italy

On July 11, 2019, the Holy See announced that Pope Francis erected an Apostolic Exarchy for some 70,000 Ukrainian Catholics of the Byzantine rite in Italy.

The boundaries of the circumscription extend to the whole of the Italian territory.

The Cathedral and See of the Exarchy are fixed at the parish of Saints Serge and Bacchus of Rome.

The Pope’s Cardinal Vicar for Rome, Angelo De Donatis is appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Exarchy “sede vacante,” until the appointment of the Exarch.

Their presence goes back to more than twenty years and their pastoral was progressively organized within the Migrantes service of the Conference of Italian Bishops, with the appointment of a priest as national Coordinator and the responsibility of individual communities entrusted to the local Latin Bishop, explains the bulletin of the Press Office.

The link with the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church is also guaranteed by an Apostolic Visitor, at present in the person of Monsignor Dionisio Lachovicz, O.S.B.M., specifies the same source, which also gives numbers: to this day, the number of Ukrainian Catholics of the Byzantine rite present in Italy has reached 70,000 people, divided in 145 communities assisted by 62 priests.

This decision comes the day after the meeting at Rome with Pope Francis of the Major Archbishop and the Metropolitans of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, on Friday, July 5 and Saturday, July 6, 2019, for a time of meeting, reflection and prayer.

The Pope addressed a discourse to them on July 5, and the Vatican published a press release the following day, stressing the “method of sharing,” hoping that it will be “pursued,” in order to “promote harmonious developments of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, as well as other Oriental Catholic Churches in their identity and mission.”

In this connection, the Head of the Greek-Catholic Church of Ukraine said: “a new methodology of communion between the Successor of Peter and the Oriental Churches has begun.”

The Archbishop also expressed his concern over the augmentation of emigration: each year one million Ukrainians leave the country; most are “young people and professionals.” So here today, July 11, is a measure to fortify the Ukrainians of the diaspora in Italy.

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