Just some comments regarding the post by the Old Medic:
First of all, a minor point, it is “Ukraine” not “the Ukraine” as Ukraine is now an independent country and not a province of Russia (ie. the province or the Ukraine).
The Russian Orthodox Church herself was viciously persecuted by the communists and suffered the GREATEST martyrdom for Christ with the largest number of martyrs.
Ukrainian Catholics only resided in one province of Ukraine, namely Galicia, with parishes here and there elsewhere. Russian Tsarism also did its share of EC suppression. Also, we should not forget Roman Catholic suppression of Eastern Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy under Poland - that is another story.
The whole “unia” thing in Ukraine and Belarus was a painful one. The creation of the Eastern Catholic church pitted EC against his or her own Orthodox countrymen and the whole struggle was used to political advantage by both Roman Catholic (Jesuit) and Russian Orthodox powers.
Eastern Catholicism was seen by RC Poland as a way to denationalize the Polish King’s Ruthenian Orthodox subjects in order to bring religious/cultural homogeneity to the kingdom and to better dominate them.
Ruthenian (Ukrainian and Belarusyan) aristocracy, once they became Catholic, soon became heavily Polonized. There was persecution of the Orthodox and of the EC’s in order to Latinize them and make them members of the “One True Roman Catholic Church” and Polish subjects.
It was THAT memory that still lingers not only in Orthodox souls, but in EC souls as well.
When the soviet forces came into Ukraine, like the Tsarist forces before them, (different economic ideology, same Russophile focus), they went about “correcting” the historical wrong of the imposed Catholic unia. However, the unia was entrenched in the western Ukrainian soul as “our Church” and, like the Poles before them, the Russians were only trying to Russify or religiously colonize the Ukrainian Catholics.
We cannot separate religion from culture (or politics for that matter). The “filioque” in the Creed was expunged by the soviets while the UGCC tenaciously clung to it NOT because of its “truth” but because it had become a symbol of the UGCC identity - religious and cultural at the same time. The same was true of the Sacred Hearts devotion, the rosary etc. etc. Latinizations took on a wider character as a result.
But we must also remember that the Union of Brest was Rome’s attempt to reach out to the Muscovite Orthodox empire. It turned out as a failed experiment however.
Rome’s sights were never on Ukraine or Belarus, but on the grand ecclesial geopolitical prize - the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Eastern Catholic Church has always been the sore spot on both sides with the ROC throwing it into Rome’s face as an historic example of Rome’s acting in bad faith (i.e. colonization) with respect to its jurisdiction and Rome wishing the UGCC was just quiet about things and stop grandstanding when it offends Moscow (i.e. building a UGCC cathedral in Kyiv where the patriarch simply informed Rome after the deal was done).
Rome has also tried to limit the spread of the UGCC throughout the rest of Ukraine - I hope our friend TrentCath doesn’t agree with that exercise of Rome’s jurisdictional powers! In any event, the UGCC chooses to ignore that brand of RC jurisdictionalism and I’m sure God loves it for doing so . . .
As for the suppression of the UGCC, Rome has yet to say anything about it to Moscow (!). It is assumed that that was the work of the soviet state (which it was) and that the UGCC wasn’t the only church that suffered under it (which it wasn’t).
If the ROC was complicit in the persecution of the UGCC (and it was), Rome does not demand any acknowledgement of this from the ROC or act of public repentance ("Hey, guys, we’re SORRRY!) and continues to have relations with the ROC nevertheless.
This is why I called Rome’s dealings with Moscow or “ostpolitik” to be morally bankrupt.
Our friend TrentCath might say this is politics and has nothing to do with the dogma on Rome’s jurisdiction.
IF he would say that, then I would agree with the first statement, but would say that the UGCC exercises its own will as a self-governing Church under Rome and does not wait for Rome to give permission (normally, such permission would be either denied or delayed indefinitely) when it wishes to move forward to do what it considers best for the growth and development of Eastern Catholicism in Ukraine and also in Russia (the Russian Catholics need help and support and the UGCC is more than willing to give it!).
And I’m NOT saying that we need to return to a situation of alienation and stand-offs between Rome and Orthodoxy. The fact is that western Ukraine can only be considered the Moscow Patriarchate’s backyard if we accept soviet and Russian domination of it and the Ukrainian Catholic Church as legitimate.
And if Rome wishes to remain silent on the issue of that legitimacy - then clearly the UGCC has no reason to obey Rome in anything having to do with that. Such actions by Rome are political, period, and have nothing to do with papal dogmas and cannot elicit legitimate reasons for obedience to such actions.
Our Patriarch-Confessor, Bl Joseph Slipyj was tortured in Siberia where he spent 18 years for the Catholic Church. I met him twice and had the privilege of kissing his broken right hand (broken by those soviet servants of Satan because he dared to write letters to his flock around the world).
Rome refused to acknowledge him as “Patriarch” - but the UGCC and many others did nevertheless. If that was going against any canons or dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church - again, I believe God loved us for doing so.