CEC Governing Board endorses call for peace with justice in Ukraine
In its first physical meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic, held 19 to 21 May in Brussels, the board members, gathered from across Europe, discussed churches’ response to the war in Ukraine.
Together, they affirmed the need for an immediate ceasefire, a diplomatic solution through international law, respect of borders, self-determination of people, respect for truth and the primacy of dialogue over violence.
The board members stressed the need for welcoming all refugees.
They discussed the importance of healing and reconciliation, considering the long-term effects of the war, including inflation and the energy crisis among other challenges.
They also expressed concern over the religious dimension of the war. CEC’s statement with the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) emphasises that “religion cannot be used as a means to justify this war. All religions, and we as Christians, are united in condemning the Russian aggression, the crimes that are being committed against the people of Ukraine, and the blasphemy that is the misuse of religion.”
Global Christian solidarity has been underlined by CEC. “This is a time for churches in Europe and globally to form a strong alliance of solidarity. This is a time to gather in prayer for people who possess the power to make decisions that will make peace possible,” said CEC General Secretary Dr Jørgen Skov Sørensen.
CEC President Rev. Christian Krieger has previously urged Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to speak clearly against Russian aggression in Ukraine. “I am disheartened by your daunting silence on the unprovoked war that your country declared against another country, which is home to millions of Christians, including Orthodox Christians that belong to your flock,” he said in his letter to Kirill.
As part of the meeting, a seminar on Ukraine was held. The hybrid event featured reflections from the Ukrainian churches, describing their hopes and struggles for the future.
Among the speakers were CEC president, H.E. Archbishop Yevstratiy of Chernihiv and Nizhyn, Deputy Head of the Department of External Church Relations of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Rev. Vasyl Prits from the Department for External Church Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and Ms Khrystyna Ukrainets, Head of National Partnerships at the Ukrainian Educational Platform from the Greek Catholic Church.