The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church’s Name
The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (the UGCC) is the largest Eastern Catholic Church. Different groups of people have used different names throughout the history of the church to identify us. The term most frequently used in our parish to identify ourselves is Ukrainian Catholic.
Names which are used to describe the UGCC:

  • Union Church refers to our status as Eastern Christians who returned to full unity with Rome. In the United States, Eastern Catholic and Eastern Rite are often used to convey the same meaning. While uniate was originally a pejorative that was embraced by many Eastern Catholics when it was hurled at them, the word’s negative connotations and historical weight have caused it to fall out off disfavor.
  • The canonical term Ecclesia sui juris, or Church sui iuris, describes how we have our own hierarchy and canons, traditions, rubrics, and laws while being in complete mutual communion with the Pope of Rome.
  • The name “Greek-Catholic Church” was introduced by Empress Maria Theresa in 1774 in order to distinguish it from the Roman Catholic and Armenian Catholic Churches.
  • In official Church documents, the term Ecclesia Ruthena unita was used to designate the UGCC.
  • Starting in the 1960s, the name “Ukrainian Catholic Church” appeared in official documents in relation to the Ukrainian Catholics of the diaspora while the “Church in Soviet Ukraine” referred to the underground and persecuted church of that time.
  • In the pontifical statistical annual Annuario Pontificio the name “Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Byzantine rite” is used.
  • At the September 1999 Synod of Bishops of the UGCC, the suggestion was made to use the name “Kyivan Catholic Church,” which would underline our historical origins.

Adapted with appreciation from text on the UGCC website.