The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
The union of Brest, in 1596, confirmed the communion of Ukrainian dioceses with Rome while confirming their liturgy, their rites, and customs. This was the official foundation of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
The Metropolitan of Lviv, Andrey Sheptysky, a great precursor of the ecumenical movement, was imprisoned by the Russians from 1914 to 1917. His successor, H.B.E. Cardinal Josyf Slipyj was arrested in 1945, along with all Ukrainian bishops.
In 1946, a pseudo-synod convened by Stalin – which no Catholic bishops took part in – pronounced the liquidation of the Greek Catholic Church. 3,000 churches and 150 monasteries were confiscated; their bishops, priests, and followers were sentenced to exile or forced to go underground.
In 1963, the USSR expelled Cardinal Josyf Slipyj.
In 1980, John Paul II started to gather together Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic bishops in Rome, despite the protestation of the Muscovite patriarchate (Ukraine provides 90% of its seminary students and the majority of its revenue).
In 1991, H.B. Cardinal Myroslav Lubachivsky, a major Archbishop, returned to Ukraine. Lviv Cathedral is returned to the Greek Catholics along with 900 of the churches closed or attributed to Orthodox churches by Stalin.
On 21 August 2005, the church’s seat was officially transferred from Lviv to the capital, Kiev.
The church has approximately 8 million faithful in Ukraine and the diaspora.