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No changes to the WCC text on Ukraine – New reactions from the Metropolitan of Volokolamsk

Mission of to Karlsruhe

Without any change compared to the draft document, the text of the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, regarding the war in Ukraine, was adopted.

As the representative of the committee said, “This is a place where discussions continue, where there is a chance for the wounds to heal.” The only two interventions made in the original text were the replacement of the word “war” with the phrase “Russian invasion of Ukraine”, and the replacement of the word “Russia” (in the sentence: “the presence of representatives of churches from Ukraine and Russia”) with the phrase “multinational delegation of the Orthodox Church of Russia”.

At this point, there was a reaction from the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In particular, the Grand Syncellus Iakovos Krotsak, took the floor and asked for the removal of the word “multinational”.

The Russian Church’s reaction to the WCC text on Ukraine

Reactions to the final text were also on the part of the Church of Russia.

Metropolitan Antonios of Volokolamsk, who is the head of the delegation of the Russian Church in Karlsruhe, referred to the text that was approved and stressed that “the delegation of the Orthodox Church of Russia could not support this document that was approved by the Assembly of the World Council of Churches.

At the same time, we are cautiously optimistic about the position of the WCC, which during the work on the document on the Ukrainian conflict, refused, despite the unprecedented political pressure (which was expressed inter alia by the speech at the Assembly of German President Frank Steinmeier and by the statements of some other people calling for the exclusion of the Russian Church from the WCC), to include accusations against the Russian Orthodox Church and acknowledged the importance of its large-scale humanitarian mission to support refugees and victims of the conflict, which took place with the blessing of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.”

Antonios, while describing the final text as “largely politicized”, stated that the discussion that took place in the framework of the Assembly, can be a starting point for the WCC, for an “objective and impartial study of the causes of the long-lasting conflict in Ukraine, as well as for the subsequent peace efforts”.

In his announcement he also speaks out against the Autocephalous Church of Ukraine, (“the so-called “OCU”, was his exact statement).

In particular, he regretted that the proposal of the representatives of the Ukrainian Church to “condemn the mass violent occupations of the churches of the canonical Church, which were undertaken by the so-called “OCU”, was not included in the document.