Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, 40, is the new head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church of 6 million people worldwide. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is the largest Eastern Church in communion with the See of Rome. The election happened on March 23. In Canon Law he holds the title of Major Archbishop (that is, he has the responsibility that a patriarch would have but not the title, though many in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church unofficially use the title, see canon 151 of the CCEO). The election was done by 40 bishops from around the world.
Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, until now, is the Apostolic Administrator of the Eparchy of the Protection of the Theotokos, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Prior to his South American work, the Archbishop was the personal secretary of the former head of the Church, His Beatitude, Lubomyr, from 2002-05.
At Shevchuk’s election he had to write a letter in his own hand to the Pope requesting communion with the Apostolic See. In accordance with canon 153 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Church reads:
1. A major archbishop is elected according to the norm of cann. 63-74.
2. After acceptance of the election, the synod of bishop of the major archepiscopal Church must notify the Roman Pontiff through a synodal letter about the canonical conduct of the election; however, the one who of is elected, in a letter signed in his own hand, must petition the confirmation of his election from the Roman Pontiff.
3. After having obtained the confirmation, the one who is elected, in the presence of the synod of bishops of the major archepiscopal Church, must make a profession of faith and promise to carry out faithfully his office; afterwards his proclamation and enthronment are to be performed. If, however, the one who is elected is not yet an ordained bishop, the enthronment cannot validly be done before he receives episcopal ordination.
4. If however the confirmation is denied, a new election is to be conducted within the time established by the Roman Pontiff.
His Beatitude was born in 1970 in Stryi, Lviv (his birthday is May 5), studied philosophy in Buenas Aires witht he Salesians of Don Bosco, studied theology in Lviv (1992-94) and at the Angelicum in Rome, eventually earning a doctorate in 1999 (summa cum laude) from the Angelicum in theological anthropology and moral theology with a particular interest in the Byzantine moral tradition. He was ordained priest on 26 June 1994, ordained bishop on 7 April 2009 and sent to lead the people of Buenas Aires in March 2010. He’s fluent in English, Italian, Polish, Russian and Spanish.
The enthronment of Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk as the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is scheduled for march 27.
God grant Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk many years!
On Sunday, March 20, Archbishop Igor, the Administrator of the Church with the bishops of the worldwide Ukrainian Catholic Church prayed the Divine Liturgy at St George’s Cathedraal in Lviv for the particular intention for the grace to elect the right person has the father and head of the Church.
Seeing new possibilities for the Ukrainian Catholic Church His Beatitude Lubomyr Cardinal Husar resigned his ministry at the approval of Pope Benedict XVI on 10 February 2011.
Husar has served as the Major Archbishop (that is, he was patriarch but without the title) for 10 years.
Required reading: An interview with His Beatitude on what he sees as the new situation can be found here