Patriarch Sviatoslav meets with the Archbishop of Canterbury

01.12.2022, 18:14
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On December 1, Patriarch Sviatoslav met with Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury. The event was initiated by the head of the Anglican Church as part of his three-day solidarity visit to Kyiv, which at the same time was the first visit of the Primate of this church to independent Ukraine.

This is reported by the UGCC Information Department.

Taking part in the conversation also were: Anglican bishop of Europe Robert Innes, adviser on Ecumenical issues of the Church of England Canon Jeremy Morris, head of the Information Department of the UGCC Fr. Igor Yatsiv and chairman of the UGCC Commission on interfaith and interreligious relations Fr. Igor Shaban.

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Outlining the purpose of his solidarity visit, the Archbishop of Canterbury noted that he came to the capital of Ukraine to listen to Ukrainians and hear their needs. He is willing to hear from the leaders and representatives of the Churches of Ukraine, refugees, internally displaced persons, and those who are under constant Russian bombing and suffering from the harsh winter. He also seeks to learn about the activities of charitable organizations that can provide the necessary support to Ukrainians in this difficult time.

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His Beatitude Sviatoslav thanked the spiritual leader of the Anglican Church for his solidarity with Ukraine, as well as for his words of support. The Head of the UGCC paid special attention to the letter that the Archbishop recently wrote in support of our state.

The parties discussed the current situation in Ukraine, drawing attention to pastoral challenges and needs.

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His Beatitude Sviatoslav asked that the academic Christian environment of the Anglican Church and its universities try to objectively investigate the theological aspect of the "Russian world" and determine how much it corresponds to the Christian spirit. He also pointed out the danger of instrumentalizing certain Christian ideas that Russia seeks to use for the violent destruction of the Ukrainian people.

An important topic discussed by the heads of Churches was the reconciliation between Ukraine and Russia. The importance of reconciliation between peoples in the light of the Gospel of Christ was mentioned. In particular, the experience of reconciliation of German and French, French and polish, as well as the thirty-year path to the reconciliation of the Ukrainian and Polish peoples, was given as an example. The issue of reconciliation of the Ukrainian people with the Russian one was recognized as irrelevant since very important conditions were not fulfilled, including the end of the war and the condemnation of the aggressor, without which it is impossible to establish justice. Moreover, many people have living wounds and receive them every day again because of the insidious dramatic actions of Russia.

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His Beatitude Sviatoslav spoke about yesterday's visit of King Charles III and the first lady of Ukraine to the UGCC Cathedral in London.

The head of the UGCC noted that December 1 is a symbolic day for such a meeting since it was on December 1, 1990, that a referendum on restoring Ukraine's independence was held.

"I am confident that the ecumenical dialogue is extremely important today. It is needed so that the entire ecumenical community can determine to what extent Russia's actions correspond to the Christian spirit and to warn against all dangers undermining the foundations of Christianity in the future," the Head of the UGCC noted and added that the ecumenical voice is now important for Ukraine and all Christianity.

At the end of the meeting, His Beatitude Sviatoslav presented the head of the Anglican Church with the "Ecumenical Concept of the UGCC" and spoke about the experience of ecumenical dialogue in Ukraine.

Archbishop Justin Welby is the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury in the history of Great Britain, appointed head of the Diocese of Canterbury in February 2013. The Archbishop arrived in Ukraine after a visit to Mozambique last week, where he met with victims of terrorist attacks in the South African country. On the way to Ukraine, the leader of the Anglican Church met with Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw and also visited the Ukrainian House, a migrant support center that has been reorganized into a Crisis Support Center for Ukrainian refugees since the beginning of the Russian invasion.