CEC visits Ukraine, accompanying churches in their struggles for peace

9 April, 2024

Photo: Reformed Church in Transcarpathia
Photo: Reformed Church in Transcarpathia

Press Release No: 05/24
9 April 2024

The Conference of European Churches (CEC) delegation arrives to Ukraine amid high tensions, accompanying Ukrainian churches and people in solidarity, strengthening relations and dialogue for peace. 

“We are here to listen to the churches and communities,” said CEC President Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain. “It is inspiring how they stay resilient in the face of Russian aggression and give witness to the devastation of life and territory. Together with our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, we continue to demand an end to Russian hostilities and establishment of lasting peace in the region.”

The ecumenical delegation led by Archbishop Nikitas arrived in Berehove, Ukraine, on 8 April 2024.

The CEC President shared about the CEC initiative Pathways to Peace, which coordinates European church response to the war in Ukraine, highlighting Ukrainian church voices for peace and reconciliation. The discussions delved deeper into how the initiative can be strengthened with stronger cooperation.

The meetings in Berehove were organised by the Reformed Church in Transcarpathia (RCT), where the delegates listened to the representatives of the RCT, Reformed Church in Berehove, Reformed Church in Hungary and the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid, learning about their work in the context of war.

“CEC solidarity visit demonstrates a joint commitment,” said Bishop Sándor Zán-Fábián from RCT. “The interest, the questions, the common prayers testify that we are not only responsible for ourselves but also for others, hence European churches feel responsible for us.

“Even when we face trials and difficulties, we do not despair, we begin to hope again,” he added.

“We are humbled to witness the hope and courage shown by Ukrainian church leaders, theologians, and the people of Ukraine, suffering from the devastation of war for two years and more,” said Ms Katerina Pekridou, CEC Programme Officer for Theology and Studies.

“It is important that we name the injustice and uplift the Ukrainian churches in the time of war.

“As the world reels from several conflicts, and international attention is often diverted, it is essential that we do not forget Ukraine as it remains in dire need of support and solidarity,” added Pekridou.

The delegation included CEC Governing Board members Dr Charles Reed from the Church of England and Ms Maria Mountraki from the Orthodox Church of Finland; Pathways to Peace Steering Group members Rev. Riika Porkola from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, Dr Jonas Jørgensen from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, and among CEC staff was General Secretary-elect Rev. Frank-Dieter Fischbach and Ms Katerina Pekridou, CEC Programme Officer for Theology and Studies.

The delegation will continue the visit to Lviv and Kyiv until 10 April, meeting with representatives of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organisations, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Greek Catholic Church, the Ukrainian Catholic University among ecumenical partners, as well as local theologians and academics.

CEC is a fellowship of 114 churches from Orthodox, Protestant and Anglican traditions from across Europe and, together with its ecumenical partners, represents over 380 million European citizens.

Learn more about Pathways to Peace

For more information or an interview, please contact:

Naveen Qayyum
Communication Officer
Conference of European Churches
Rue Joseph II, 174 B-1000 Brussels
Tel. +32 486 75 82 36
E-mail: naveen@cec-kek.be
Website: www.ceceurope.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ceceurope
Twitter: @ceceurope
YouTube: Conference of European Churches
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