Bishop Mykola Bychok Bishop Mykola Bychok 

Bishop Bychok: ‘Movement in one direction is best fruit of the Synod'

Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania and the Eastern Catholic Churches are gathered in Fiji for the Continental Synodal Assembly in Oceania. As a representative of the Eastern Rite explains, it is an occasion to give value to different traditions and viewpoints while thinking together.

By Sr Bernadette Reis, fsp – Suva, Fiji

Among the delegates participating in the Oceania Continental Assembly for the Synod taking place in Suva, Fiji, is Mikóla Bichók, CSsR. He is the Eparch for Ukrainian Catholics, one of the five Eastern Rites, in the region in Australia, New Zealand and Oceania,.

In an interview with Vatican News, Bishop Bychok shared his experience of the synodal process and some themes that emerged on during the consultations on the local level.

Bishop Bychok began by saying that the “synodal process for our Church is very important because we are a synodal Church as also other Eastern Churches.”

He explained that the bishops hold their own synods, meeting every year, “so we can actually share our experience of what is happening,” and identify “advantages” and “disadvantages”.

This, he said allows the Ukrainian Catholic Church to share their experience of how a Church can live in a synodal way. In addition to holding a synod every year, Bishop Bychok also explained that they hold a plenary council every five years. Here, “not only the bishops, priests, but also lay people” discuss a specific topic together.

Eastern Rite and 'thinking together'

A major theme that emerged during the local consultation process is that “as Eastern Churches, we have our own rite, we have our own traditions, but we belong to universal Church.” Taking part in the Suva Assembly with bishops of the Latin Rite and the other Eastern Rites present in the region has allowed him to experience a “special phase of the universal Church because there are bishops are from all Oceania. It's a real example of the synodal Church that we are thinking together.”

He admitted that at times the bishops do not agree with each other. In the end, Bishop Bychok notes, what emerges from these discussions produces “special results not only for us, but for whole Church in Oceania. I think this movement in one direction, this is the best fruit for us and this is the best fruit of the synodal process for the whole Church.

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09 February 2023, 12:45