As Russia’s war against Ukraine continues for a sixth month, a WCC delegation led by WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca visited Ukraine to listen to the representatives of local churches, as well as state institutions working with religious issues, and to ensure the participation of the Ukraine’s churches at the upcoming WCC assembly in Karlsruhe.
“When one part of the body suffers, all parts suffer with it. We are in Christian solidarity with all those who suffer in Ukraine,” said Sauca, reiterating the statement of the WCC central committee of 18 June 2022.
The statement lamented the illegal invasion Russian Federation has launched on its neighbour, a sovereign state, resulting in appalling toll of death, destruction and displacement for people of Ukraine.
During the visit, the WCC delegation met with the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, which represents Christian denominations in Ukraine as well as Jewish and Muslim communities, and serves as an active platform for dialogue and relations with the state.
Emphasizing the invitation to participate at the upcoming WCC assembly, the WCC delegation met with Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epiphaniy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine; and Archbishop Evstratiy of Chernihiv and Nizhyn, deputy head of the External Church Relations Department of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine on 3 August.
On 4 August, Sauca met with the Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Onuphry of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. On its way to Kyiv, the WCC delegation was welcomed by Metropolitan Meletii of Chernivtsi and Bukovyna, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
During the visit, the WCC delegation learned a lot about the ongoing war in Ukraine from meetings with various state institutions. Those included meetings with Oleksandr Tkachenko, minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine; Olena Bogdan, head of the State Service of Ukraine for Ethnic Affairs and Freedom of Conscience; and Oleksiy Dniprov, deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine.
In all of the meetings, Sauca emphasized the importance of participation of Ukraine churches at the upcoming WCC assembly in Karlsruhe, which will be an opportunity for people of Ukraine to address the global WCC fellowship, sharing and praying together for an end of the war and re-establishment of just peace in Ukraine.
During the visit to Ukraine, Sauca was accompanied by Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, deputy general secretary of the WCC and director of the Commission on Faith and Order, and Ivars Kupcis, WCC communication officer.