Remarks by Archbishop Elpidophoros of America For the Visit of His Beatitude Archbishop Sviatoslav Primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church


By His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America

For the Visit of His Beatitude Archbishop Sviatoslav

Primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

Archdiocesan Headquarters – New York City

March 8, 2024


Your Beatitude, dear Archbishop Sviatoslav, Primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church,

Your Eminences, Excellences and Graces,

Esteemed clergy,

Beloved friends,

It is with profound joy and honor that I extend to you, Your Beatitude, and to the members of your Holy Synod here present with you, a warm welcome to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, as we gather in a spirit of ecumenical solidarity and understanding.

In these challenging times marked by conflict and turmoil, your visit holds special significance. Your presence among us is a powerful testament to the enduring bonds of fraternity that unite our two Sister Churches of Rome and Constantinople, as well as the special destiny of the Church of which you have Archpastoral responsibility.

Your visit signifies positive and considerable progress of the dialogue between our churches, and it provides a firm basis for our common journey toward unity and reconciliation. In this sense, we remain faithful to the spirit and the letter of the Ravenna Document of 2007 — issued by the Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church — which states: “Reaffirming and confessing ‘one Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (Eph. 4, 5), we give glory to God the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who has gathered us together.”

Thus, in this spirit of solidarity, I would be remiss not to acknowledge the invaluable support extended by the Ecumenical Patriarchate during these tumultuous months. In the aftermath of the unjust invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and our Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America have stood firmly with the Ukrainian people, offering prayers, support, and advocacy for peace and justice.

Having just passed the second terrible anniversary of the invasion, we are truly humbled to be joined by Your Beatitude and the members of your synod, who not only experience the daily injustice of this aggression firsthand, but who also continue to resist it. Together, as Orthodox Christians of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, we pray for peace. But peace cannot be achieved so long as there is no justice. Our prayers are for peace with justice, so that this senseless onslaught in Ukraine ceases once and for all. This is our prayer!

And so, may the visit of Your Beatitude in the United States of America serve as a catalyst for deeper collaboration and a just end to the conflict. May it strengthen the bonds of friendship and fraternity that unite all of God’s children.

Once again, Your Beatitude, dear Archbishop Sviatoslav, we are truly honored by your presence among us. May your time here be blessed with grace, and may it inspire all of us to strive for a world where love, compassion and peace reign supreme.

Sláva Ukrayíni!

Photo: GOARCH/Dimitrios Panagos

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