Sviatoslav Shevchuk

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Sviatoslav Shevchuk
Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Galicia
Primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
Shevchuk in 2011
ChurchUkrainian Greek Catholic Church
Elected23 March 2011
Installed27 March 2011
PredecessorLubomyr Husar
Other post(s)
Ordination26 June 1994
by Myroslav Lubachivsky
Consecration7 April 2009
by Ihor Vozniak
Personal details
Born (1970-05-05) 5 May 1970 (age 53)
Nationality Ukrainian
DenominationCatholic Church
MottoChurch Slavonic: Гдⷭ҇ь просвѣще́нїє моє́ и҆ сп҃си́тель мо́й
The LORD is my light and my salvation
Coat of armsSviatoslav Shevchuk's coat of arms
Ordination history
Diaconal ordination
Ordained byPhilemon Kurchaba
Date21 May 1994
Priestly ordination
Ordained byIvan Cardinal Lubachivsky
Date26 June 1994
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecratorIhor Voznyak
Co-consecratorsMiguel Mykycej and Julian Voronovsky
Date7 April 2009
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Sviatoslav Shevchuk as principal consecrator
Dmytro Hryhorak18 September 2011
Borys Andrij Gudziak26 August 2012
Eugeniusz Mirosław Popowicz21 December 2013
Mykhaylo Bubniy7 April 2014
Vasyl Volodymyr Tuchapets21 May 2014
Bohdan Manyshyn24 May 2014
Yosafat Moschych3 August 2014
Hryhoriy Komar22 August 2014
Bohdan John Danylo4 November 2014
Teodor Martynyuk22 May 2015
Volodymyr Hrutsa7 April 2016
Andriy Rabiy3 September 2017
Petro Loza12 July 2018
Ivan Kulyk1 December 2019
Stepan Sus12 January 2020
Mykola Bychok7 June 2020
Arkadiusz Trochanowski23 January 2021
Michael Smolinski20 January 2024
Sviatoslav in the Polish Senate

Sviatoslav Shevchuk (Ukrainian: Святосла́в Шевчу́к; born 5 May 1970 in Stryi, Ukrainian SSR) is a Ukrainian Catholic prelate who has served as the Major Archbishop of Kyiv–Galicia and Primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC) since 25 March 2011.

At the time he was born, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was illegal under the Soviet Union. His parents and grandparents were devout Catholics and active in the Underground Church. He recalled that on a family trip to the Orthodox shrine of Pochaev around 1985, he prayed before an icon of the Theotokos, expressing his desire to become a priest. A couple of years later, while studying medicine in the city of Boryslav, he began to attend a secret seminary in Yaremche, in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains.[1]

He completed his mandatory military service as a field medic, based in Eastern Ukraine. In the waning days of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was legalized again, and Shevchuk was able to complete his seminary studies in a reopened seminary in Lviv.[2]

In August 1991, at the direction of his superiors, he moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to study philosophy. He briefly spent time with the Salesian community there. Returning to Ukraine, he was ordained a deacon on May 21, 1994.[2]


Shevchuk was ordained as a priest on 26 June 1994. He is an alumnus of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas Angelicum where he earned a Doctorate in theology in 1999.[3] After completing his theological training Shevchuk served as rector of the seminary of Lviv.[4]

From 2002 to 2005 he worked as head of the secretariat of Major Archbishop and Cardinal Lubomyr Husar.[5]


Shevchuk was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Eparchy of Santa María del Patrocinio en Buenos Aires on 14 January 2009 and consecrated by Archbishop Ihor Vozniak on 7 April 2009. On 10 April 2010, he was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the same diocese upon the retirement of Bishop Miguel Mykycej.[6]

Major archepiscopacy[edit]

On 23 March 2011, Shevchuk was elected Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church to replace Lubomyr Husar, who had retired for health reasons. Pope Benedict XVI confirmed his selection on 25 March 2011.[3][7]


Shevchuk was enthroned as Major Archbishop on 27 March 2011 in the UGCC's new mother church, the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Kyiv, which was still under construction at the time. He was the first primate to be enthroned in Kyiv in 400 years.[8][note 1]

Representatives of all three main branches of Ukrainian Eastern Orthodoxy were present for his enthronement, including Metropolitan Mefodiy (UOAC), Metropolitan Volodymyr (UOC-MP), and Bishop Yevstratiy [uk] (UOC-KP).[8][note 2]


On 31 May 2012, Sviatoslav held his first pastoral visit to Canada. He visited Edmonton after being met by Eparch David Motiuk and other clergy[9] upon his arrival in Calgary. He attended events at St. Josaphat Cathedral and St. George Parish. On 2 June, the head of the UGCC celebrated the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Parish of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God in Calgary. He again returned to Canada later in 2012, and on Sunday, 9 September, after the participants took an oath the previous day, Shevchuk celebrated the Divine Liturgy to open a worldwide Ukrainian Catholic Synod of Bishops at Saints Volodymyr and Olha Cathedral in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.[10]

In May 2014, he again visited Canada to mark the arrival of the Sheptytsky Institute within the University of St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto.[11]

Shevchuk visited England in 2017, celebrating the Divine Liturgy at Westminster Cathedral on 28 October.[12]

2022 Russian invasion[edit]

In early February 2022, Shevchuk said during a conference with Aid to the Church in Need that growing tension was not so much about Ukraine, as the result of a conflict "between Russia and the Western world, particularly the US" and that "The Ukrainian crisis is not just a problem for Ukrainians." Identifying a growing "true idolatry of violence", Shevchuck urged peaceful dialogue over military action.[13]

During the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Shevchuk spoke in opposition to the invasion and warned that the fighting could result in Ukraine devolving into "a death camp."[14] Pope Francis promised Shevchuk "I will do everything I can" and praised the decision to open the basement of Resurrection Cathedral in Kyiv as a bomb shelter.[15] Shevchuk appealed to the Russians to not target churches following intelligence reports suggesting that a military strike was planned against the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv.[16]

In March, Shevchuk spoke to the World Council of Churches and thanked them for submitting a letter to the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. Shevchuk asserted that "war is always a failure for humanity. War is always a moment of shame, a moment in which man’s dignity is humiliated. When we strive for peace, everything is possible. When war breaks out, we can lose everything", adding "In Ukraine, today, we are seeing great contempt for human dignity. With war, man loses his humanity, especially he who starts war, he who starts war diminishes himself in his humanity. He who kills his neighbour, before all else, destroys the humanity within himself, destroys his own dignity".[17]


On the patriarchal title[edit]

Plaque displaying the title of "Patriarch" in reference to Sviatoslav as used by some Ukrainian Greek Catholics.

On 29 March 2011, Shevchuk said "I'm departing with my bishops and all of the metropolitans of our church to Rome, because it's our duty to make a courtesy visit to the Holy Father (i.e., the Pope)," he said at a press conference in Kyiv. The UGCC leader said that the UGCC Synod of Bishops had prepared a number of proposals for the Pope. "We're really going to tell of how our church is developing and that each developing church [becomes] a patriarchate, because a patriarchate is a period in the completion of the development of a church," he said.[18]

Cardinal Slipyj in the 1960s already petitioned for the patriarchal title. Instead, Pope Paul VI responded by creating the station of "major archbishop", which grants nearly all the powers and capacities of a patriarch at the head of a self-governing church in full communion with Rome, just without the title itself. On 12 June 2012 Shevchuk was appointed a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.[19]

On his own election[edit]

In April 2011, Shevchuk said while visiting Rome to meet Pope Benedict XVI, that he believes he was elected "despite my age". Ukrainian bishops from around the world, who met in a synod in late March to elect a new Major Archbishop for their church, were looking for a leader who could "unite the church in Ukraine and outside Ukraine", who could "promote the unity of Christians in Ukraine and establish some sort of dialogue with the new Ukrainian government. ...The No. 1 priority for each head of a church is evangelization, preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in today's world. ...Of course, our church is growing, is developing its structures, ... but we are conscious that the decision about the patriarchate belongs to the Holy Father and we would never press him. We respect his freedom." Shevchuk said his age is not really so shocking when one considers that the average age of his priests is about 35. "In our tradition, we do have a married clergy, but a married clergy is not the main reason we have so many young priests", he added.[20]

On 22 June 2011 Shevchuk was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches to a five-year term.[citation needed]

On meeting with the Russian Orthodox Patriarch[edit]

When asked in April 2011 whether he would wish to meet the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, Shevchuk said that "I would like very much to visit him and hold a personal meeting with him. I am convinced that in peacefully and openly communicating with each other, we can relieve any tension ... I think that today, we should heal the wounds rather than irritate and deepen them. One can heal the wounds of our memory only with mutual forgiveness. Therefore, as for any of our brethren or neighbors who wounded us or were wounded by us, the best way to communicate is to be open in a brotherly dialogue, be open to the purification of our memory, to ask for forgiveness and to forgive."[21]

Fiducia Supplicans[edit]

In December 2023 Shevchuk stated that Fiducia Supplicans declared explicitly that the document does not apply outside the Latin Church.[22]

External links[edit]

Official profile of Sviatoslav Shevchuk at VK

Further reading[edit]

  • At the Foot of the Cross: Lessons from Ukraine, by John Burger (Our Sunday Visitor, 2023) ISBN 978-1639660278


  1. ^ Most previous Major Archbishops had been installed in Lviv. The original Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kyiv-Galicia was suppressed in 1838 and Lviv served as the primatial see of the UGCC from 1808 until 2005, when it was transferred back to Kyiv.
  2. ^ At the time Yevstratiy was an auxiliary bishop of Kyiv for the UOC-KP (and thus an assistant to Patriarch Filaret of Kyiv). He has since become the UOC-KP Archbishop of Chernihiv.


  1. ^ Burger, John (2023). At the Foot of the Cross: Lessons from Ukraine. Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor. pp. 70–71. ISBN 978-1639660278.
  2. ^ a b Burger, John (2023). At the Foot of the Cross: Lessons from Ukraine. Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor. pp. 79–82. ISBN 978-1639660278.
  3. ^ a b RISU. "Argentinian Bishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk became new head of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church". Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  4. ^ "Consagración episcopal de Mons. Sviatoslav Shevchuk". Aica on line. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  5. ^ "УНІАН: Главою УГКЦ став єпископ Святослав (Шевчук)". Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 23 January 2015.[self-published source]
  7. ^ "Conferma all'elezione dell'Arcivescovo Maggiore di Kyiv-Halyc (Ucraina)". Holy See Press Office. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
  8. ^ a b Tysiachna, Nadia (29 March 2011). "An Heir of the Great". The Day. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Arrives in Canada". Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  10. ^ "Ukrainian Catholic leader shares favorites, faith in Winnipeg". 8 September 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  12. ^ "Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy Celebration". Diocese of Westminster. 3 November 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2023.
  13. ^ "Catholic chief calls Ukraine a pawn in escalating US/Russia conflict". Crux. Retrieved 4 November 2022.
  14. ^ Allen, Elise Ann (24 February 2022). "Ukrainian prelate warns country risks becoming 'a death camp'". Crux. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  15. ^ Wooden, Cindy (25 February 2022). "Pope Francis calls Ukrainian archbishop: 'I will do everything I can' to help". America. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  16. ^ "Ukrainian archbishop calls on Russia not to bomb historic cathedral". Catholic News Service. Crux. 2 March 2022. Retrieved 5 March 2022.
  17. ^ ACN (16 March 2022). "Archbishop Shevchuk: "Thank you to all those who are doing everything to stop the war"". ACN International. Retrieved 4 November 2022.
  18. ^ "Patriarch Sviatoslav to ask Pope to grant Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church status of patriarchate". Interfax-Ukraine. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  19. ^ "Donald Bolen appointed to Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity". 12 June 2012.
  20. ^ "Ukrainian Major Archbishop says he was chosen 'despite age' to promote unity". Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  21. ^ "Head of UGCC would like to meet with Patriarch Kirill to relieve tension". 15 June 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  22. ^ Top Ukraine prelate says Vat doc on same-sex blessings applies only to Latin church
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Galicia
25 March 2011–present