Andrea Riccardi visited Metropolitan Sterniuk's house and Cardinal Husar's tomb during his stay in Ukraine
The Community of Sant'Egidio's relationship with the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church dates back to the 1980s, when this Church was hiding in Soviet Ukraine after being suppressed by the Soviet power in 1946.
In 1989, a visit to Lviv - still Soviet - by Andrea Riccardi, Msgr Vincenzo Paglia and Rev Marco Gnavi offered an opportunity to meet Metropolitan Volodymyr Sterniuk, who led the underground Church. The encounter took place in a flat where the elderly bishop, who had served several years of imprisonment in Soviet camps, was living. In the following years, the Community accompanied the process of this Church's return to freedom and rebirth.
During his recent stay in Ukraine, Andrea Riccardi visited the building and flat - where the Metropolitan used to live from 1964 to 1990 - in memory of that past encounter and friendship.
The visit to the tomb of Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halič, head and father of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church from 2001 to 2011, in Kiev, was an opportunity to remember another dear friend of Sant'Egidio. In the 1980s we met him in Rome, in exile. He was particularly close to the Community even after returning to Ukraine in 1994.