Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk as a child with his father, Yuriy, who died on 5 December 2022  ( Departamento d’informazione della Chiesa greco-cattolica ucraina (UGCC))

By Vatican News staff reporter

Dec 13 2022

Pope Francis expresses his condolences to the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, whose father passed away recently.

Pope Francis has expressed “deep sorrow” upon learning of the death of Yuriy Shevchuk, the father of Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.   

Mr. Shevchuk passed away on 5 December at the age of 79, due to a serious illness. 

“In this moment of human suffering, I wish to express my closeness to you, offering my sincere condolences and assuring you that my heart is with you and with those who mourn the passing of dear Mr. Yuriy,” the Pope wrote in a message addressed to the Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyč.

He closed the message by entrusting the soul of his beloved father the Mercy of God, while praying that He grant him the grace of eternal peace.

An activist in the Greek-Catholic underground Church

Mr. Shevchuk was born in Broshniv-Osada, in the Ivano-Frankivsk region, where he worked for the National Rail Service, and participated in the underground activities of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which had been banned from the Soviet Union by Stalin.

Major Archbishop Shevchuk has recounted that in this context he met Father Mykhailo Kosyl, the rector of the underground theological seminary in the Frankivsk region, who played a major role  in his priestly vocation.

Speaking last week in Kyiv to a group of journalists visiting Ukraine with the Polish and Ukrainian Embassies to the Holy See, he remembered his father as a good man and explained that he was sadly unable to attend his funeral in the United States where he had been treated for his illness, due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Major Archbishop Shevchuk has already lost his mother Vera, who died in April 2021 due to an illness. – Vatican News