Press Release No:17/22
14 July 2022
Humanitarian response from the European churches was highlighted by Slovakian Bishop Peter Mihoč at the Article 17 Dialogue Seminar held on 12 July at the European Parliament in Brussels. He shared striking insights about challenges faced by local churches in providing support to those fleeing the war in Ukraine, as well as strengthening efforts aimed at realising peace in the region.
Bishop Mihoč of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovakia was representing the Conference of European Churches (CEC) in the seminar hosted by Othmar Karas, First Vice-President, responsible for the implementation of Article 17 Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU). Representatives of other religious, philosophical and non-confessional organisations were also present.
“The situation in Ukraine is unexpected and horrible,” said Bishop Mihoč. “We are trying to respond to the dreadful conditions and serve in the name of love. Openness and closeness, empathy and practical help, in the last months have revealed themselves as precious values in Slovakia, regardless of religious affiliation or social class of those we serve. The churches have offered a helping hand to people on a journey escaping the consequences of the atrocities and bloodshed in Ukraine.”
Bishop Mihoč comes from a country, which has played a vital role in providing humanitarian help to refugees from Ukraine. He shared that his church is located in Prešov, a city close to the Ukrainian border. Around 600,000 refugees recently have crossed these borders from Ukraine to Slovakia.
“In the last months, overnight stays per person were provided, and at this moment we already have people staying for long terms, who cannot return because their homes were destroyed. We continue to actively provide for these people free accommodation and food, secure social and health care and we strive to create for them a safe and hospitable living environment,” he said.
“As a CEC Member Church I want to assure you that we the churches want to be here for others in these difficult days, especially people from Ukraine. And we believe that also with your active support we can continue our humanitarian efforts,” added Bishop Mihoč.
The seminar was held as part of the Article 17 TFEU, which foresees an open, transparent and regular dialogue between the EU institutions and churches and religious associations or communities.
The event featured opening remarks by Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, Othmar Karas, Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission for “Promoting our European Way of Life” responsible for Article 17 TFEU, and Witold Jan Waszczykowski, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee.
For more information or an interview, please contact:
Conference of European Churches
Rue Joseph II, 174 B-1000 Brussels
Tel. +32 486 75 82 36
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