Religious leaders of Ukraine visited the European Parliament and the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the EU

Religious leaders of Ukraine visited the European Parliament and the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the EU - фото 1
On June 15, a delegation of Ukrainian religious leaders arrived in Brussels, where the European visit, organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, continued.

This was reported by the website of the OCU.

The European Parliament hosted a meeting with the First Vice-President of this EU representative body, Othmar Karas, an Austrian Member of Parliament. Mr Karas is also responsible for the European Parliament's dialogue with religious communities.

In his speech, Othmar Karas stressed that the vast majority of deputies, as well as the majority of society in the EU, support Ukraine and feel the pain and suffering of the Ukrainian people. That is why he and most of his colleagues support granting Ukraine the status of a candidate country for membership in the European Union.

"This status will provide an opportunity to further assist Ukraine in fighting Russian aggression and recovering from the war. We understand that you are fighting not only for yourselves but also for the values ​​of Europe, freedom and security on the continent," said the First Vice-President of the European Parliament.

He also stressed that he understands the significant role religious communities play in Ukraine and invited them to further cooperation.

In addition, Mr Karas expressed surprise at the negative part the head of the ROC, Kirill Gundyaev, plays in inciting the war in Ukraine.

"We are surprised by the position of Russian Patriarch Kirill, who blesses the war in Ukraine. My position and that of most of my colleagues is that he should be held accountable for these actions and included in the European Union's sanctions list," said the First Vice-President of the European Parliament.

Metropolitan Epifaniy cordially thanked Mr Karas for the meeting and his position.

"We thank the countries of the European Union for the help they have already provided and continue to provide. We thank you for supporting our refugees who have found temporary shelter here. We thank you for helping our Armed Forces to defend Ukraine and Europe from Russian aggression more effectively.

Evil must be stopped on our land. Otherwise, it will only spread and destroy other European countries. Therefore, we support the request of our state to increase military and financial assistance and support the strengthening of sanctions against the aggressor, including the head of the ROC, Kirill Gundyaev - a propagandist of the ideology of the "Russian world" who justifies aggression.

We want to express our full support for Ukraine's application for membership in the European Union, and we expect that our country will soon officially acquire the status of a candidate," said the Metropolitan.

On behalf of the members of the delegation, the Primate of the OCU presented Mr Karas with a picture drawn by a child from Ukraine in memory of the meeting. "This picture is reminiscent of Ukrainian children - those particularly affected by the war. For their sake, for the peaceful future of Ukraine and the whole of Europe, we must do everything possible to win the fight against the aggressor as soon as possible and establish a just peace," His Beatitude said.

The next meeting took place in the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) - the body of cooperation of the national episcopal conferences of the RCC for cooperation with European institutions. Representatives of various religious institutions represented in Brussels, including the Conference of European Churches, the Community of St. Egidius, the Peace and Justice Commission and others, gathered there. The Ambassador of Ukraine to the EU, Mr Vsevolod Chentsov, also joined the meeting.

In the exchange, the participants of the delegation from Ukraine shared their experience of humanitarian work during the war and answered questions about the things of paramount importance for Ukraine at this time. The result of long-term communication was an agreement on further closer coordination and cooperation, in particular on assistance in the restoration of damaged and destroyed religious sites in Ukraine.

The day ended with an interfaith prayer event in the chapel in honor of the Resurrection of Christ - "Chapel for Europe". The head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine prayed for victory over the aggressor.