The full question:
Hello! I am a Roman Catholic and recently discovered the Ukrainian Catholic Church through your live streams! I did not even know this tradition existed and have really been learning more about it recently, so forgive me since I am very uneducated about Ukrainian Catholics. I was wondering, can Ukrainian Catholic priests get married? I don’t know if this is true or how it works before or during seminary? Is this the same thing that other eastern Christians do like the orthodox church?
Thank you for your question. I am so pleased that you have discovered the Ukrainian Catholic Church through our live-streamed services. The Catholic Church is composed of 20 Churches: one Latin (Roman), and 19 “Eastern” or “Oriental” churches. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, the largest of the Eastern Catholic Churches, is rooted in a history that extends from the beginning of Christianity, a heritage it shares with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Its liturgical, spiritual, and theological tradition developed through the influence and missionary efforts of the Church of Constantinople (formerly called Byzantium), through its distinctive Kyivan experience (especially since it adopted Christianity officially in AD 988) and, in some respects, through its union with the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century.
Regarding your question: Can a Ukrainian Catholic priest get married? The answer would be: no. However, men who desire to be ordained to the diaconate or priesthood may get married prior to being ordained. Once they are ordained, even should their spouse die, they cannot remarry. This is the case for the Orthodox Churches as well. Since the Ukrainian Catholic Church is part of the Eastern (Byzantine) tradition within the Catholic Church, it has fostered, along with the Orthodox Churches, a strong monastic (celibate) priesthood, as well as a married priesthood.
So, while we maintain most of the practices of the Orthodox, our Church is self-governing. The particular nature of our Church was described in 1978 by our Patriarch Josyf Slipyj in this way: “The Particularity … of our Church lies in her unity with the past; her unity as a Church in both Ukraine and the diaspora; the oneness of mind with her Patriarch; and her unity with the Universal Church and her Head, the successor of the holy apostle Peter” (Ukrainian Catholic Catechism – Christ Our Pascha, 302). We still desire unity in the Church and continue to pray in the words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ:
I pray not only for them but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me,
so that they may be one, as we are one.
John 17: 20-22
God bless you.