A year ago, pope John Paul II visited Ukraine. His letter addressed to the congregation he read in Ukrainian language. The pontiff’s mother comes from Ukraine, so before the war, the former pontiff lived for several years in Galichina, West Ukraine, not far from the city of Lvov. June 25, on the territory of Vatican embassy in Kiev, in honour of one-year anniversary of the pope’s visit to Ukraine, a John Paul II monument was unveiled. This is a bronze 800-kg monument, 2 metres high. It was established on the pedestal of red granite. The pontiff is presented full-length, his hands are upraised in a salutary gesture.
While appearing in a ceremony of the monument unveiling, Vatican secretary of foreign relations, cardinal Jan-Louis Tauran noticed that “it is glad for him to know that the monument is the present of Ukrainians to the saint father as a sign of their gratitude for his love and spiritual intimacy with Ukrainian nation.”
Jan-Louis Tauran greeted the author of the monument, Boris Dovgan, and everybody thanks to whom this action was realized – representatives of different confessions of the country, including the Orthodox, Jews, and Muslims.
While the monument was being unveiled, several dozens of Orthodox Church representatives picketted the ceremony with a slogan: “No Catholic Expansion to Ukraine!” Russian Movement of Ukraine and Union of Orthodox Communities of Ukraine consider the unveiling to be a disrespect for Orthodox believers and for Orthodox Church.
The demonstrators suppose that “a new stage of Vatican expansion to Ukraine” which followed the unpunished pogrom against Orthodoxy in the three West-Ukrainian regions.” The leadership of the Russian Movement and the Union of Orthodox Communities of Ukraine supposes that approving by Vatican of Ukrainian integration to NATO means that in the future Orthodox Church in Ukraine will be suppressed.
June 25, at 21:00, one more John Paul II monument was unvailed in Lvov.
Alexandr Gorobets PRAVDA.Ru Ukraine Kiev
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/06/26/43250.html