New Primate for Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

Archbishop Schevchuk, 40, Succeeds Cardinal Husar

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KIEV, Ukraine, MARCH 25, 2011 ( Benedict XVI granted ecclesial communion to Archbishop Sviatoslav Schevchuk, 40, as the major archbishop of the Archeparchy of Kiev, Ukraine, and primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.

The Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, meeting in Lviv, elected Archbishop Schevchuk on Wednesday as the successor of Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, 78, who tendered his resignation for reasons of health in February.

As the Code of Canon Law of the Eastern Churches establishes (Canon 153), the appointment requires the recognition of communion with the universal Church granted by the Pope.

Archbishop Schevchuk (Rome has not assigned the title of patriarchate to this Church) was the youngest bishop taking part in the synod and is the fourth youngest bishop of the Catholic Church.

He will be the pastor of a Church of five million faithful, the largest of the Catholic Eastern Churches. The Church was united to Rome after the Union of Brest (1596), and it was particularly persecuted for this reason during the Soviet period, when Stalin ordered its dissolution in 1948. The legal persecution and marginalization ended in 1989 when, after the fall of Communism, this Church again received juridical recognition.

Sviatoslav Schevchuk was born in Stryj, near Lviv, in 1970. He entered the seminary in 1983, and was ordained a priest in 1994, at the age of 24.

He received a doctorate in moral theology from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas.

In 2009, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Eparchy of Santa María del Patrocinio in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and in 2010 was named its apostolic administrator.

Archbishop Schevchuk will take possession of the See of Kiev on Sunday.

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