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.