Members of the Joint Committee of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) and the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) are calling leaders of the nations and the international community to do everything in their power to end the current war in Ukraine that is destroying lives and causing untold suffering.
The CEC–CCEE Joint Committee issued a declaration in its meeting on 21 March in Bratislava, Slovakia. The declaration stresses that the “heart of the Christian faith is peace and reconciliation, exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ” quoting Fratelli Tutti 238: “Jesus never promoted violence or intolerance. He openly condemned the use of force to gain power over others.”
“Religion cannot be used as a means to justify this war. All religions, and we as Christians, are united in condemning the Russian aggression, the crimes that are being committed against the people of Ukraine and the blasphemy that is the misuse of religion in this context,” reads the statement.
The Joint Committee gave thanks for the work of churches and NGOs, together with authorities in the neighbouring countries of Ukraine and beyond, in welcoming those fleeing the war. They especially acknowledged voices of the Russian people, who strongly protest against the invasion.
“We continue to pray for the gift of peace and call on all Christians to join us in this prayer while strengthening their efforts in affirming the value of life and actively promoting reconciliation.”
The CEC–CCEE Joint Committee discussed European churches’ commitment to peace in Ukraine, as well as ways of receiving the ecumenical document Charta Oecumenica, CEC activities and strengthening CEC-CCEE relations, and current Synodal Process of the Catholic Church.
Participants representing CEC included board members, Rev. Christian Krieger, president, Rt Rev. Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, vice-president, Dr Valérie Duval-Poujol, Lea Schlenker, Very Rev. Archimandrite Ignatios Sotiriadis, Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, Metropolitan Joseph of Western and Southern Europe, Romanian Orthodox Church, together with Dr Jørgen Skov Sørensen, CEC General Secretary and Katerina Pekridou, CEC Executive Secretary for Theological Dialogue.
Participants representing CCEE were H. E. Msgr Gintaras Grušas, President, H. Em. Card. Jean-Claude Hollerich, Vice-President, H. E. Msgr Ladislav Nemet, Vice-President, H. E. Msgr Bertram Meier, Bishop of Augsburg, Germany, H. E. Msgr Aurel Percă, Archbishop of Bucharest, Romania, H. E. Msgr Grzegorz Ryś, Archbishop of Łódź, Poland, Rev. Manuel Barrios Prieto, COMECE General Secretary, Rev. Martin Michalíček, General Secretary and Rev. Antonio Ammirati, Vice-General Secretary and spokesperson.
Attached is the full text of the declaration