You may be asking yourself, “What is a Ukrainian Catholic Church? Who are these people?”
The Ukrainian Catholic Church (officially known as the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church) is one of 23 Eastern Catholic Churches in communion with the Church of Rome (the Roman Catholic Church). The Ukrainian Catholic Church is the largest of these Churches numbering over 5 million faithful in over a dozen countries around the world. If you want to learn more about the Eastern Catholic Churches, you can find more information on the CNEWA website.
In the late 10th century, Prince Vladimir (or Volodymyr) the Great of Kyiv-Rus’ sent emissaries to explore the religions of the world and report back to him on what faith he and his people should adopt. One of the places his emissaries visited was Constantinople (modern day Istanbul). As they entered the Church of Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) and witnessed the beauty found there in liturgical worship, upon their return, they told Vladimir, “We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth.” In 988, Kyiv-Rus’ was baptized and adopted Christianity.
The Great Schism of 1054 separated East and West. Although attempts at reunion were numerous, they were unfruitful. In 1595, the Bishops of the Church of Kyiv began discussing reunion and communion with the Church of Rome. In 1596, this communion was achieved with the Church of Rome with the signing of the Union of Brest. This brought our Church back into communion with the Church of Rome.
Today, the Ukrainian Catholic Church can be found in many corners of the world. The immigration of Ukrainian to various countries led to the establishment of parishes and eparchies. Through evangelization, our Church has reached out to the cultures and peoples in the countries in which it finds itself. Our Church has grown and welcomed people of various cultures and ethnic backgrounds to a new home: a home that welcomes all that desire to worship the Holy Trinity according to the spiritual and liturgical life of the Church of Kyiv.