Cardinal Husar Tells Why Trip Was a Long Time Coming

Tensions With Orthodox Have Eased Since Early 1990s

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KIEV, Ukraine, JUNE 24, 2001 (ZENIT.orgAVVENIRE).- Cardinal Lubomyr Husar sighed, hiding the exhaustion of the last few, sleepless weeks.

He traveled a lot between Rome and Kiev to prepare the most difficult of John Paul II´s 94 pastoral visits abroad as Pope. «Oh, if I´d only been told before what it means to be a bishop,» the cardinal sighed.

A one-time monk, the 68-year-old archbishop of Lviv is the leader of 5 million Ukrainian Catholics of Eastern rite. This community suffered immensely during the Communist persecution, when Stalin tried to eliminate it by annexing it to the Orthodox Church.

When Lubomyr Husar was young, his family fled from Ukraine to escape the persecution. While he was a monk in Italy of the Order of Constantinople´s great Studion Monastery, he was ordained a bishop in 1977. A few months ago, the Pontiff acknowledged his fidelity and made him a cardinal.

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