The Holy Father has erected the Apostolic Exarchate for the Ukrainian Catholic faithful of the Byzantine rite residing in Italy. The Holy Father has nominated Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, Vicar General of His Holiness for the Diocese of Rome, as Apostolic Administrator sede vacante [the See being vacant] of the Exarchate.
An Exarchy in an Eastern Catholic particular Church corresponds to an Apostolic Vicariate in the Latin-rite; it is an ecclesiastical circumscription outside the home territory of an Eastern Church, which has not yet been raised to the level of an Eparchy (the Eastern equivalent of a Diocese). Exarchies are understood to be provisional, that is, they are established with the end of growing to the point where they are recognized as an Eparchy.
The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in Italy
There have been sizable numbers of Ukrainian Greek-Catholic faithful in Italy going back more than twenty years. Since that time, the Italian Episcopal Conference, through its Migrants Service, has progressively organized pastoral care for Ukrainians in the country. At various stages, this has involved the appointment of a nationwide priest coordinator, with the responsibility for individual communities entrusted to the care of the local Latin-rite Bishop.
The attachment of the faithful to the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church was also ensured through the appointment of an episcopal Apostolic Visitor, an office currently held by Bishop Dionisio Lachovicz, O.S.B.M.
Today there are approximately 70,000 Ukrainian Catholics resident in Italy, divided among 145 communities assisted by 62 priests.
The new Exarchate comprises the whole of Italy. The seat of the Exarchate, and its Cathedral Church will be the parish of Saints Sergius and Bacchus [Santi Sergio e Bacco], which since 1970 has been the national church of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Rome. The church of Sts Sergius and Bacchus dates to the 9th century; and has been associated with the UGCC since Pope Urban VIII granted the church to Ruthenian monks of the Order of Saint Basil the Great in 1641.