Prot. 173/2011D Damascus, 23/3/2011


Greetings of H. B. Gregorios III
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem
for the enthronement of the new Major Archbishop
of Kyiv-Halyč of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
H.B. Sviatoslav (Shevchuk)

(Kyiv 27 March 2011)

Your Beatitude, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyč of Ukraine!

Blessed be the new Pastor whom the Holy Spirit has given to the Church of Christ in this holy land of Ukraine!

Dear brother, Sviatoslav, I have the joy and honour of offering you, Your Beatitude, my fraternal good wishes on the occasion of your consecration as Major Archbishop, Head and Father of the beloved sister Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

I offer you these good wishes in my own name and in that of the Holy Synod of our Melkite Greek Catholic Church of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem. With me on this auspicious occasion, are two bishops from our Holy Synod (Archbishop Michael Abras and Metropolitan Emeritus John Haddad) and our Patriarchate's Economos General, the Secretary of the Liturgical Commission, Rev. Fr. Elias Shatawi.

Today these greetings and good wishes reach you, through us, from Jerusalem, the Mother Church of all Churches, and from the Holy Land, where our Lord Jesus Christ was born and from the Middle East, cradle of Christianity.

I greet you in the name of the Church of the East, Church of the Arabs, and in the name of my colleagues, the Patriarchs of the Eastern Churches, who constitute the Council of Eastern Catholic Patriarchs.

Personally, I am very happy at how the ecclesial, brotherly communion between our two (Ukrainian Greek Catholic and Melkite Greek Catholic) Churches has developed, largely due to a long-standing friendship (of more than twenty years) with our dear brother and friend, His Most Eminent Beatitude Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, that great hero of the Christian East, its tradition, heritage and ecumenical mission! He will always be known as a Father of this Church of yours and a great defender of the ecumenical mission of the Eastern Catholic Churches, that are in full communion with the Church of Rome that presides in charity and with the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, (who showed his love for the Christian East by holding the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops), while remaining faithful to the Eastern tradition and maintaining cordial relations with the Orthodox Churches that are our sisters, ever present in all ecumenical work.

We have come to strengthen our brotherly communion with this Church that we love and respect, through you, dear brother, Your Beatitude, Sviatoslav! I think that the Melkite Greek Catholic Church and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church are both called to play a very significant role in ecumenical work, since they are the two largest Churches of the Byzantine rite (Greek and Slavonic) in communion with Rome.

We shall remain in contact with each other, since we ought to integrate our efforts for that greatest service to the Church and to the world, which is to realise Christ's prayer, "That they may be one...that the world may believe."

Axios! Eis polla eti, Sevasmiotate! Makariotate, mnohaya lita!

Gregorios III

Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem

Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple

Today is the prelude of the goodwill of God * and the heralding of the salvation of mankind; * the Virgin appears clearly in the temple of God * and foretells Christ to all. * Let us also with a mighty voice cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Fulfillment of the Creator’s divine plan.” (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

The most pure Temple of the Savior, * the most precious Bridal-Chamber and Virgin, the sacred Treasury of the glory of God, * is brought today into the house of the Lord, * bringing with her the grace that is in the Divine Spirit. * The angels of God praise her in song: * “She is the heavenly tabernacle.” (Kontakion - Tone 4)

(November 21st)