European church leaders discussed the situation in Ukraine


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“Love and faithfulness meet, truth and peace kiss each other.” (Psalms 85.11)

At the invitation of the Executive Secretary General of the World Council of Churches (EVS), leading representatives of EVS member churches from several European countries neighboring and directly affected by the current conflict gathered in Bossey, Switzerland, on March 30, 2022, at the time of the war in Ukraine and the growing division in the world. The purpose of the meeting was to reconcile, share our views on the conflict and its causes, and identify possible ways in which churches could work together for peace in the midst of war. Although the representatives of Russia and Ukraine accepted our invitation, they were unable to reach us, which we regretted.

As participants in the meeting, in line with the mandate and practice of the EVS, we reaffirm our rejection of the use of the deadly military force in Ukraine, as well as worldwide, as a means of resolving disputes against the will of God. Disputes can and must be resolved peacefully, through honest and meaningful dialogue and negotiation. We condemn the military aggression launched by the leaders of the Russian Federation against the population of the sovereign Ukrainian nation. We recognize the right of the people of Ukraine to defend themselves against this aggression. We remember with mourning the lives that have already been lost on both sides, valuable to both God and their loved ones, and the terrible devastation that has befallen people and communities who are even forced to leave their homes.

As an example to follow, we highlight the compassionate care and support provided to Ukrainian refugees by the authorities, local communities, churches and church organizations of neighboring and other countries, which is due to all refugees who are forced to leave their homes because of the dangers to their lives and dignity.

Together with others, we strongly urge continued negotiations for a ceasefire in Ukraine, the opening and respect of humanitarian corridors, and a secure and just peace, so that the suffering ends as soon as possible.

We urge the recognition, respect and protection of the human dignity of the people threatened by the present or any other armed conflict, and we demand the protection of the civilian population and infrastructure, which is our fundamental moral duty and our responsibility under international humanitarian law. All those responsible for violating applicable law and committing crimes against humanity must be held fully accountable for their actions.

In addition to the borders of Ukraine and the issue of the suffering diaspora who are being forced to leave their homes, we are deeply concerned about the even wider and longer-term consequences of unjustified aggression. The global food security crisis, which is already acute due to the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, will only exacerbate it, and will hit the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries and communities in particular. Moreover, now that the whole world should come together to respond to the common existential challenge of a looming climate catastrophe, the outrageous immorality of attacking Russia’s neighbor is even more apparent.

We share the firm belief that this armed aggression and its dire consequences cannot be justified or accepted in any legitimate way in terms of Christian principles.

We are aware of the serious risks of a further escalation of violence in Ukraine, an even wider and more devastating conflict and the possible deployment of weapons of mass destruction, and therefore call for diplomatic efforts instead of threats, dialogue instead of confrontation and exclusion, disinformation , which is inspired by the will of God for all people and a unique created world, we all hear.

As leaders of Christian communities facing conflict and its aftermath, recognizing that sister churches have different perspectives on the root causes of conflict, we stress the importance of the role of EVS as an outstanding tool in the ecumenical movement to discuss differences and combat differences. and in the search for unity — in word and deed to which our faith calls us. We are constantly praying for peace in Ukraine, Europe, and around the world, for the transformation of hearts and minds currently facing confrontation and violence, and for us to return to the path of peace in which our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is leading us.

We reaffirm the role of the EVS as a platform for ecumenical dialogue in the midst of such tragic conflicts and political divisions, as well as the critical need for opportunities for dialogue, including with our Russian and Ukrainian partners, in this difficult situation. We recognize the call of the churches and the ecumenical movement for peace-building, and we are mutually committed to meeting again and continuing to work together for justice and peace. In all of this, we expect EVS to contribute to making our intentions a reality by organizing further meetings. We ask the Secretary General of the EVS to re-invite our member churches in Russia and Ukraine to join us again for another roundtable discussion as soon as possible.

“Blessed are those who make peace, for they are called sons of God” (Matthew 5: 9).

  • Prof. Dr. Nifon Metropolitan of Targoviste, Diocese of Targoviste (Romanian Orthodox Church)
  • Archbishop Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, Church of Norway
  • Dr. Martin Dutzmann, Protestant Church of Germany (EKD)
  • Archbishop Dr. Vicken Aykazian, Armenian Apostolic Church
  • Archbishop Urmas Viilma, Lutheran Church of Estonia
  • Dr. Kimmo Kääriäinen, Evangelical Church of Finland
  • Bishop Ivan El’ko, Slovak Lutheran Church
  • Bishop Zoltán Balog, pastor of the Synod of the Hungarian Reformed Church

The original writing by clicking here available.

Cover Image: Church Leaders Attending World Council of Churches (EVT) Meeting at the Bossey Ecumenical Institute (Source: Oikoumene.org)


Source: Magyar Nemzet by magyarnemzet.hu.

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