Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, second from left, and the WCC delegation in Kiev

Archbishop Aykazian Visits Kiev with World Council of Churches Delegation

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KIEV — Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Diocesan Legate and Ecumenical Director of the Eastern Diocese, was one of the global church leaders visiting Ukraine last week, to meet with church and government officials, and to survey sites ravaged by the ongoing war.

The high-level delegation from the World Council of Churches (WCC) arrived in the capital city of Kiev on May 10 and held consultations through May 12. In addition to Archbishop Aykazian, who serves as Vice Moderator on the WCC’s central committee, the delegation included WCC General Secretary Rev. Jerry Pillay, Moderator Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, WCC’s international affairs director Peter Prove, and its ecumenical relations executive Dr. Vasile-Octavian Mihoc.

A delegation from the World Council of Churches (WCC) is visited Ukraine on 10-12 May to renew relations with churches and religious organizations and to explore possibilities of joint efforts to achieve just peace in Ukraine.
The WCC delegation consisted of Bishop Dr Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, WCC moderator of the central committee; H.E. Archbishop Dr Vicken Aykazian, vice-moderator of the WCC central committee; and Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay, WCC general secretary. The delegation is accompanied by Peter Prove, WCC director of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs and Prof. Dr Vasile-Octavian Mihoc, WCC programme executive for Ecumenical Relations and Faith and Order.

The delegation visited Kiev Pechersk Lavra (Monastery of the Caves), one of the holiest sites of Orthodox Christianity in the region, and led an ecumenical prayer service in Bucha. The group also met with members of the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (UCCRO), and with the country’s Minister of Culture and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko.

In meetings with senior leaders of both the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) and the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), the WCC delegation confirmed their readiness to host discussions among the two churches to seek a resolution to the issues between them.

Leaders of both churches — Metropolitan Anthony of the UOC, and Metropolitan Epifaniy of the OCU — signaled their willingness to engage in dialogue, a development that would offer a hope of healing one of the wounds which the present conflict has deepened.

 

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