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The draft statement of the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, regarding the war in Ukraine, caused multiple reactions.
In the document prepared by a committee of the WCC and presented to the plenary of the representatives at the Assembly for consultation (not the final text), it referred, among other things, to the “tragic consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24”.
It also reminded us that in the announcement of June, at the pre-meeting for the Assembly held in Cyprus, there was a condemnation of the war as illegal and unjustified.
“This Assembly strongly confirms the position expressed by the central committee and denounces this illegal and unjustifiable war. As Christians from different parts of the world we renew the call for an immediate ceasefire to halt the death and destruction, and for dialogue and negotiations to secure a sustainable peace”.
The document calls on the leadership of the Churches in Russia and Ukraine to raise their voices to oppose the continuing deaths, destruction, displacement, and dispossession of the people of Ukraine.
“We call on WCC to provide a platform for all voices for peace to be heard and amplified and we pray that this war will come to an end very soon”.
There was an immediate reaction from the delegation of the Russian Church. Archimandrite Fhilaret Bulekov ironically declared that the text is better than he expected, while he went even further by expressing the -offensive to the members of the committee who drew up the text and to the leadership of the World Council of Churches – opinion, that this document “can become one like statements of McDonald’s and Starbucks. The same level of importance of this document”, he pointed out.
“However, it is better than I thought. I thought that the document would be more politicized and more aggressive. I see that the commission was working quite hard and prepared the documents with enough balance.”
Archimandrite Fhilaret emphasized that this document is an example of an information war. “It’s one of those documents which lights something and camouflages other things.”
He further added that there is no effort on the part of the committee, to look at what is really happening there, and bring at least one result.
“If the main goal is to just blame the Russian delegation, OK. But in the whole document, there is not even one word about other parties in this process in Ukraine. It is like the President of Germany, who was talking very powerfully with his pathetic speech. But forgot to say his personal responsibility for what is happening in Ukraine. That was him who signed the document three years ago, guaranteeing a peaceful transition of power from the government to the opposition. A few days later, he washed his hands.
There are many other examples. Where (is) the call of the European Churches to your government to do everything possible to bring peace?
And then you are talking you want to bring peace as soon as possible. Blaming someone will bring nothing. So, this document can be just a camouflage of the real situation, using some Christian terms. But it will have a sense if we look deeply into the situation.”
Afterwards, one of the members of the Church of Ukraine, Oleksandra Kovalenko, took the floor, giving an equally resounding response to what was heard.
She pointed out that “I ask you to listen to me and not to compromise the obvious truth for the sake of diplomacy. Just name it as it is – Russian aggression against Ukraine”.
Addressing the delegation of the Russian Church, she stated: if you are against the war of Russian Federation against Ukraine, please raise your blue cards (the blue card is raised by delegates to the Assembly when there is disagreement in what is being heard. No blue card was raised).
It is very sad that you compare the blood of Ukrainians with Starbucks and McDonalds”, she noted.
The meeting then continued with only the members of the central committee, without however allowing the participation of any other member or the media.