Russian Orthodox should admit cooperation with Stalin, says Ukrainian Catholic leader
Ecumenical relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Eastern-rite Ukrainian Catholic Church are being stymied because the Moscow patriarchate will not admit its culpability for cooperating with Stalinist regime, says Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk.
The leader of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, which suffered brutal persecution during the Stalin era, said that the Russian Orthodox should acknowledge their role in that historic era. (The Russian government forced Eastern-rite Catholics in Ukraine to join the Orthodox Church, confiscating church properties and killing or imprisoning Catholics who resisted assimilation.)
The Moscow patriarchate's unwillingness to acknowledge moral responsibility for cooperating in the persecution is "a serious obstacle to the development of mutual relations," the Catholic leader said. He added: "The ability to apologize shows a lively Christian conscience, which is a precondition for the so-called healing of memories."
The Moscow patriarchate insists that tensions in the Ukraine are caused primarily by the activity of the Eastern-rite Catholic Church, which—according to Russian Orthodox leaders—is interfering in the "canonical territory" of the Moscow patriarchate.