Churches affirm the place of Christian values in European politics and society

17 May, 2024

Photo: IAO
Photo: IAO

Press Release No: 08/24
17 May 2024

As Europe prepares for 2024 EU elections in June, church representatives and politicians have gathered in Thessaloniki, highlighting Christian values, what it means to the churches and how these values can reflect in European politics and society amid growing secularisation. 

The conference is held from 15 to 17 May 2024. It is organised by the Conference of European Churches (CEC) in cooperation with the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), the Holy Metropolis of Thessaloniki and the School of Theology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

“We are united in spirit, and we support the efforts of all who aspire to see Christian values in European society,” said CEC President Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain. “The idea of erasing Christian values, traditions and language inevitably means erasing our own identity.”

The Archbishop went on to say that the history of European societies and Christianity is intrinsically linked and has made several contributions over the centuries. “The legislation, languages, arts and much more that constitutes European society has its roots in Christianity. The growing pressure of secularisation and deterioration of Christian values would make Europe soulless and lifeless,” he added. 

CEC Vice President Rt Rev. Dr Dagmar Winter from the Church of England stressed how “Christian values have to be more than an administrative purveyor”. She added that Christian values have a role to play in global politics, protecting and advocating for freedom, justice and peace.

“Christian values spell out variously in detail. We disagree among ourselves, even within our respective denominations. And disagreement, properly handled, is creative and fruitful. At our best, thanks to the reconciling Spirit of Christ, which is a Spirit of peace, we disagree respectfully and never lose sight of that much larger perspective of the common good,” said Winter.

The conference discussed the role of churches as identity formers engaging in public discourse on social and ethical questions, related to the ongoing financial, economic, social, climate crises and war. The discussions focused on how churches can use their spiritual and theological resources and inspire their members to embody and promote their fundamental Christian values in their everyday life, contributing to the building of a humane and socially coherent Europe.

Other topics discussed were religious illiteracy among political decision-makers, faith in a European political discourse, churches commitment to European values and the EU acquis, and the framework of priorities for a sustainable future of Europe.

CEC was also represented by Rev. Almut Bretschneider-Felzmann, Ecumenical Officer and Theological Advisor from the Church of Sweden, Rev. Dimitrios Boukis, General Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Synod of the Evangelical Church of Greece, Rev. Thomas Wipf, President of the European Council of Religious Leaders, Religions for Peace and Ms Katerina Pekridou, CEC Programme Officer for Theology and Studies.

Download the joint declaration: "Europe, be yourself!

Learn more: Churches and EU elections 2024

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
Twitter: @ceceurope
YouTube: Conference of European Churches
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