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What is Ukrainian Catholic Church?

In simplistic terms, the Ukrainian Catholic Church (also known as the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church) is a part of the Catholic Church that observes the same traditions as does Eastern Orthodoxy. It is, however, very much part of the Catholic Church. The head of the Universal Catholic Church, and hence the Ukrainian Catholic Church, is Pope Francis.

The Ukrainian Catholic Church world-wide is governed internally by the Synod of Ukrainian Catholic Bishops; its highest ranking cleric is Patriarch (Major Archbishop) Sviatoslav Shevchuk, and Rev. Borys Gudziak as Archbishop of Philadelphia for Ukrainians and Metropolitan for the Ukrainian Catholic Church in USA and Bishop of the diocese of St. Nicolas in Chicago is Benedict Aleksiychuk. In North Dakota, the parishes are under the jurisdiction of Bishop Benedict.

Many people do not know the Catholic Church consists of over twenty churches. The largest by population is the Roman Catholic Church. The non-Roman Catholic Churches fit into one of six liturgical traditions: Alexandrian, Antiochene (or Syrian), Armenian, Byzantine, Maronite, and Chaldean. The Ukrainian Catholic Church follows the Byzantine tradition, and traces its origins to the Union of Brest in 1596 A.D., when the Church in Kyiv entered into communion with Rome.

Differences between Ukrainian Catholicism and Roman Catholicism range from minor to significant. Ukrainian Catholics cross themselves from right to left, not left to right; Holy Communion is always distributed directly into the mouths ofcommunicants by a priest using a spoon; and

married Ukrainian Catholic men can be ordained as priests or deacons. However, unmarried clergy may not marry and widowed clergy may not remarry.

Ukrainian Catholics serve the Divine Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great and Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, which are quite different from the Roman Catholic Liturgy as reformed by the Second Vatican Council. Roman Catholics may also notice the absence of the Filioque ("and the Son") during the Profession of Faith. All Eastern Catholic Churches use the original version of the Creed of the Council of Nicea without the added words.

All Catholics, regardless of their own Catholic Church, may receive Holy Communion in Ukrainian Catholic churches.

Therefore, today, I want to invite all of you to come and support the Church that was given to us as a gift to preserve the faith, family and traditions of our great-grandparents.

I also would like to apologize to the families who have suffered in our church because of the negligence of the priests.

I am waiting for you all, I pray for you all, let God protect us all.

Fr. Ivan Shkumbatyuk

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