St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo: Ruslan Lytvyn
Press Release No:16/23
25 September 2023
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) has welcomed the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) as its full member, completing a process required by the CEC constitution. CEC President Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain conveyed delight in his letter to Metropolitan Yevstratiy of Bila Tservka, saying “It is our joy to welcome you and embrace you in Christian love.”
He quoted Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
The OCU made the request to become a CEC Member Church in 2022 by submitting an official application to CEC former president Rev. Christian Krieger. The application received a nod from the CEC Governing Board earlier this year, steering the procedure ahead.
“It is in the spirit of solidarity that we welcome the Orthodox Church of Ukraine,” said CEC General Secretary Dr Jørgen Skov Sørensen. “Such a step not only manifests commitment of the European churches in realising peace in Ukraine, but also the significance of joining hands with our Ukrainian brothers and sisters in Christ, so they may lead us in our common vocation for just peace.”
Sørensen went on to say, “The legacy of CEC is to promote peace and reconciliation. It is our prayer that, together with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, we continue to honour this legacy by facilitating the churches to play their crucial role in mediation and conflict prevention.”
Metropolitan Yevstratiy of Bila Tservka, the OCU spokesperson said, “For the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, it is of great importance to join the most respected and active ecumenical community in Europe, CEC. We are open to cooperation, and enrichment with experience, to jointly build a better Europe that is moderate, harmonious and open to learning the truth of the Gospel.”
“The war in Ukraine has shown us how fragile peace is and how important it is to establish human and Christian fellowship,” said CEC former president Rev. Christian Krieger. “I am proud that CEC is the first international body to establish such a strong link with Ukraine, thereby helping to write a European story of this country in this particularly tragic situation.”
Krieger expressed his gratitude to the CEC Member Churches, who supported the admission of the OCU into the ecumenical fellowship. “This is the very moment for us to demonstrate Christian unity so that we can build peace together.”
The joining of the OCU is pertinent for CEC, as it responds to the war in Ukraine through its initiative Pathways to Peace.
Pathways to Peace is a coordinated response of the European church fellowship. It aims to strengthen synergy among churches and partners. Implementing a variety of events and projects, the initiative enhances the ecumenical vision of just peace, facilitating exchange among European churches, and promoting the voices of Ukrainian churches in the ecumenical debate.
Pathways to Peace builds cooperation between church leaders, intellectuals, and academics in preparation for peace in Ukraine. It engages in dialogue with European Institutions, addressing crucial political concerns, and advocating for the protection of destroyed religious sites in Ukraine.
For more information or an interview, please contact:
Conference of European Churches
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Tel. +32 486 75 82 36
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