World Council of Churches team visits Ukraine

A World Council of Churches delegation led by the WCC's general secretary Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit is visiting Ukraine from March 17 to 20 to explore supporting peace initiatives in the country.

"We hope that this visit can be seen as an expression of how the whole ecumenical family prays and acts together for justice and peace for the people of Ukraine," said Tveit.

"We go together to see, to listen and to discern what our future steps together can be," he said, the WCC said in a statement avialable on March 17.

The delegation will meet the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) which is the WCC member church in Ukraine, as well as with other churches and religious communities in Ukraine.

Still, the Moscow Patriarchate today still retains influence over about three-quarters of the approximately 16,000 Orthodox Church parishes in Ukraine.

At the same time, the ratio of Orthodox believers' loyalties in Ukraine was believed to be evenly split, 50-50, between the Kyiv and Moscow patriarchates in 2012 according to

The WCC group will also talk with high-ranking Ukrainian political leaders.

The church grouping that represents more than 500 million Christians said it wants the fighting parties to "refrain from further violence that only can cause greater human suffering in Ukraine and deepen the rift in the social and political fabric of the region and in the wider international community."

Source: Ecumenical News