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All-Ukrainian Council of Churches – a laboratory of ecumenism – marks 20 years

29.11.2016, 17:50
All-Ukrainian Council of Churches – a laboratory of ecumenism – marks 20 years - фото 1
Pope John Paul II during his visit to Ukraine (2001) after a meeting with representatives of Ukraine AUCCRO called it “the greatest laboratory of ecumenism.”

On Tuesday, November 29, a solemn meeting of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations was held. The event was dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Council. Many famous people gathered on the occasion of the round date, including, in addition the leaders of Churches, the National Security Council secretary, MPs, staff of the ministries and presidential administration, academia and community representatives.


President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko conveyed his greetings to members of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches, thanking the churches for volunteering, aid to the army, internal displaced people and residents of the occupied territories.


Secretary of National Security and Defense Olexandr Turchynov extended his gratitude to AUCCRO. He said that due to active and effective cooperation of denominations in Ukraine there are neither interfaith nor inter-ethnic conflicts. The AUUCRO activities destroy the myths of Russian propaganda about the inter-religious war in Ukraine. Turchynov said that it was a religious principle “to give one’s life for one’s friends” that saved our country, as Ukrainian patriots went to defend their homeland at the cost of their lives.


Thanking for the congratulations, Patriarch Filaret shared his memories of the Council’s establishment. According to him, in 1991, the leaders of religious organizations met with the first President of Ukraine Leonid Kravchuk to coordinate and interpret the principles of further coexistence in an independent country in terms of religious freedom gained. The leader of the UOC-KP stressed that AUCCRO is an organization that promotes interfaith understanding and is not a union of all within a single church. He urged all to rally around a single goal – the preservation of the Ukrainian state.


In his speech, Patriarch Sviatoslav (Shevchuk) noted that the All Ukrainian Council of Churches is primarily a social organization as it consolidates citizens of different religions. He cited three major accomplishments over the years of AUCCRO’s activities:

  • Organization of a platform for interfaith dialogue.
  • Promoting the development of civil society.
  • Raising the prestige of Ukraine abroad.

The UGCC leader said that Pope John Paul II during his visit to Ukraine (2001) after a meeting with representatives of Ukraine AUCCRO called it “the greatest laboratory of ecumenism.”


Chief Rabbi of Ukraine Yaakov Dov Bleich compared Church leaders with politicians. The former have serious interdenominational differences in their views, but are united. The latter, despite the common ground cannot reach an agreement and unite. He also stressed that the Church does not interfere in politics (politics – D.H.), but when it comes to saving the state and its future (policy – D.H.) - then the Church does not have the right to remain silent.



Mufti of the Religious Administration of Muslims of Ukraine Ahmed Tamim supported his Jewish colleague. He noted that since the Church does not interfere in politics, then politics must not interfere in the internal affairs of churches. Instead, he urged the government and the church to help each other.Паночко.jpg

Bishop Michael Panochko greeted those in attendance on behalf of Ukrainian Protestants. He emphasized the major virtue, which needs a real leader - wisdom. No money and no power can guarantee success of the government. He recalled examples in history when the government had money and power, but had not wisdom and therefore did not survive. He wished such wisdom to present to representatives of Ukrainian politics. He also joked that "the wise government is also in the interest of religious denominations as it is the mission of the churches to comfort people after the government’s mistakes.”


High profile officials - head of the Department for Religions and Nationalities of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine Andriy Yurash said warm words of greeting to representatives of AUCCRO. He outlined the most significant achievements of AUCCRO and stressed that in many ways the situation in Ukraine in the area of ​​religious freedom is one of the best in Europe, which, in his opinion, is the merit of the Ukrainian Council of Churches. Andriy Yurash presented souvenirs on behalf of the Department and proposed to set up a museum of AUCCRO. It was also decided to prepare a compilation of information about the activities, structure and members of the board, which would be collected the most recent relevant information about AUCCRO.

Also, a number of MPs came to congratulate churches and religious organizations: Tymoshenko, Knyazhytskyy, Lohvynskyy, Prodan, Unguryan.

After the greetings, words of gratitude and speeches, the chairmanship of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and religious organizations passed to the Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith of Ukraine, so next year the AUCCRO meeting will take place under the supervision of Bishop Mykhailo Panochko.

Dmitry Horyevoy made a spot coverage of the event for RISU.