Religious procession to be held in Lviv on occasion of the UGCC’s legalization anniversary

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary since the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church left the underground, a religious procession will be held in Lviv on October 19, 2014.

The Archeparchy of Lviv says that the procession will be held to “commemorate this momentous event, and to raise prayers to Merciful God for the gift of peace and freedom for the peoples of the world.”

The procession will start at 15.00 at the Church of St Michael the Archangel (str. Vynnychenka 22 m. Lviv), the Information Department of the UGCC has reported.

RISU information: At the beginning of the Second World War the UGCC had 2387parishes and 3.6 million faithful, 2352 diocesan priests, 31 men’s monasteries and 121 woman’s convents and monastic houses. The Theological Academy and three seminaries, where 480 students were enrolled, acted under the auspices of the Church.

After the failure of the attempt to force the bishops to deny communion with Rome, on March 9-10, 1946, the Soviet authorities gathered under the pain of death 216 priests at the Cathedral of St. George (the spiritual heart of the Western Ukraine), where the so-called “Synod of Lviv” took place. The meeting abolished the Union of the Council of Brest, in which the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church officially entered into the church communion with the Holy See. In the same meeting the Church was forcibly annexed to the Russian Orthodox Church.

Punitive authorities arrested and deported to labor camps hundreds of priests, monks, nuns and faithful laymen, often with their wives and children. Between 1946 and 1989 the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church was the largest outlawed church in the world. At the same time it was the largest structure of public opposition to the Soviet system in the USSR.

Despite severe persecution, the Church continued to live underground as a carefully worked out system of secret seminaries, monasteries, parishes and youth groups until it was legalized on December 1, 1989.

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