President signs decree on celebrating 500th anniversary of Reformation in Ukraine
Ukraine’s President supported the initiative of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and signed the decree “On celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in Ukraine.” The signing took place during a meeting with heads of reputed international and Ukrainian Protestant groups who gathered in Kyiv for the Second Missionary Forum of the All-Ukrainian Union of Churches of Evangelical Christian Baptists.
The President welcomed the forum and stressed the importance of the decree, which must demonstrate the government’s positing regarding the support of the Protestant religious organizations.
“We want to demonstrate that our state and church relationship is fundamentally different from that of Russia. This difference one can see on the example of Donbas and the Crimea, where the Russian world came with the Russian bayonets. All of the world sees there a total violation of human rights,” he said.
He also noted that Ukraine is a multi-confessional country and described as “one of the huge achievements of Ukrainians the creation of the Ukrainian Council of Churches,” with which the government cooperates ensuring peace and harmony between different faiths. The President stressed his full support of the council, including in the international area.
Referring to the visit of a distinguished international delegation of heads of Protestant groups, the President said: “It is important for me that foreign partners witnessed what is happening in Ukraine, what extremely important processes we, as government, are now managing. And how Ukrainians behave in very difficult times of Russian aggression… Ukrainians demonstrate unity, bringing together people of different beliefs, different religions, different nationalities, united around the ideas of freedom and democracy.”
Poroshenko also stressed the importance of introducing chaplaincy in the Armed Forces of Ukraine for all faiths and urged those present to actively participate in this process, including the exchange of international experiences of pastoral care in the army. “It is important to ensure a high moral and psychological climate for those who stay immediately on the front line,” he said.
He also suggested that the Protestant religious organizations could become an important component of both spiritual and social support not only for our military on the front, but also providing care for the wounded and families of the victims. “This is a very important function, which Ukraine needs today,” he said.
The President thanked Protestant organizations for their strong support for Ukraine: “I clearly understand the role played by Protestant churches and religious organizations in the development of religious, cultural and social development of Ukraine and appreciate it very much.”
In turn, President of the Baptist World Alliance President Paul Msyza thanked the President of Ukraine for his support and wished the people of Ukraine peace, stability and prosperity. He also noted that quantitatively the Baptist religious communities and faithful Ukraine rank first in the European Baptist Federation. “We are here today to show solidarity with the Ukrainians. Our hearts are broken by human tragedies. We pray for you, for peace and prosperity in Ukraine,” he said.
General Secretary of the European Baptist Federation Anthony Peck called the All- Ukrainian Council of Churches a “unique phenomenon” existing in Ukraine, which brings together different religious groups and stressed that “Ukraine is constantly in our prayers” and they were doing everything possible to speed up peace in our country.
Note that on August 26-27 at the International Center of Culture and Arts the Second Missionary Forum of the Evangelical Baptist Union of Ukraine is being held. The event is being attended by heads of Ukrainian and international Baptist associations. In particular, the delegation of the European Baptist Federation has visited the Forum, the press service of the President of Ukraine reports.