The CEC Should Reconsider

Conference of European Churches
Rue Joseph II, 174 B-1000 Brussels
Tel. +32 486 75 82 36

Dear representatives of the Conference of European Churches:


I very much applaud your call for a negotiated settlement, but I am otherwise alarmed by your press statement from 24 May 2022. (Sentence expanded from my original text.)


I understand you want to work for peace in Ukraine, which is commendable. But can one do so by taking a very partisan position in favour of Kiev-run Ukraine? There are at least two sides to most every issue and how can a hoped-for mediator take a partisan position in favour of only one side?


A recent note in the media claimed that only 30-or-so of the world’s 165 countries participate in the programme of sanctions against Russia. Why should the CEC join forces with the wealthiest minority of the world’s countries? Forty-or-so years ago, Geneva’s WCC was attempting to be a voice for the world’s oppressed and weak. Why has that changed? What is the motivation behind this new strategy?


Regarding the quote from Christian Krieger: “the unprovoked war that your country declared”. First of all: In legal terms, no war has been declared. More importantly: The violence in Ukraine looks indeed highly-provoked. The putsch on Maidan in 2014 had strong foreign sources; nearly 14.000 died in eastern Ukraine in the years that ensured. Kiev-Ukrainian artillery was highly active to the west of Donetsk city just prior to 24 February 2022 and the Kiev side then also had roughly 130.000 soldiers near the border. President Zelensky threatened acquiring a nuclear bomb. Many essentially moral issues remain unresolved: Did for ex. the current war begin in 2014 or 2022?


You speak of “Russian aggression”. Is there no other aggression afoot? The Wolfowitz-Doctrine of 1992 assures that the USA will tolerate no other world power beyond itself. The USA’s more recent “multi-domain operations” – they are also described as “cross-vector dominance” or “dominance in all fields” – are in force, placing major pressure on the many countries not opposed to Russia and China. This dominance includes the militarization of mass media. Consider too the trashing of East-West arms agreements.


The West’s promise that NATO would not be extended eastward was a foundation of Russia’s consent to German reunification. Should the West not apologise for that treachery? Of course, this promise was not part of a signed treaty. So this assurance was a lie strictly in moral terms, not in legal ones. But Christians do care about morality.


Despite extra-judicial killings and the plethora of Nazi tattoos on display in social media, I am hesitant to describe Kiev-Ukraine as a Nazi-run country. History has many “fascismen”, see for ex. the Italian and Spanish versions. Fascist parties have not fared well in Ukrainian elections, yet fascists are very much present within the Ukrainian army and internal state security. What would keep their thought from seeping into mainline political institutions? I do not desire a fascist-driven country in central Europe.


I beseech you to reconsider. If your concern is peacemaking, then you must spread your umbrella wide enough to include the non-NATO world.




William Yoder, Ph.D.


Another additional note: A leading Pentecostal pastor from Mariupol, Gennady Mokhnenko, is beating the drums for support of the Ukrainian military during the present conflict. Many religious terms are being used in the process and God's help is requested. This too would qualify as blasphemy. Check out his Facebook page.





Press Release No:11/22
24 May 2022

CEC Governing Board endorses call for peace with justice in Ukraine


The Governing Board of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) reaffirms its consistent stance on Ukraine, condemning Russian aggression, and calling for peace with justice.


In its first physical meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic, held 19 to 21 May in Brussels, the board members, gathered from across Europe, discussed churches’ response to the war in Ukraine.


Together, they affirmed the need for an immediate ceasefire, a diplomatic solution through international law, respect of borders, self-determination of people, respect for truth and the primacy of dialogue over violence. The board members stressed the need for welcoming all refugees.


They discussed the importance of healing and reconciliation, considering the long-term effects of the war, including inflation and the energy crisis among other challenges.


They also expressed concern over the religious dimension of the war. CEC’s statement with the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) emphasises that “religion cannot be used as a means to justify this war. All religions, and we as Christians, are united in condemning the Russian aggression, the crimes that are being committed against the people of Ukraine, and the blasphemy that is the misuse of religion.”


Global Christian solidarity has been underlined by CEC. “This is a time for churches in Europe and globally to form a strong alliance of solidarity. This is a time to gather in prayer for people who possess the power to make decisions that will make peace possible,” said CEC General Secretary Dr Jørgen Skov Sørensen.


CEC President Rev. Christian Krieger has previously urged Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to speak clearly against Russian aggression in Ukraine. “I am disheartened by your daunting silence on the unprovoked war that your country declared against another country, which is home to millions of Christians, including Orthodox Christians that belong to your flock,” he said in his letter to Kirill.


As part of the meeting, a seminar on Ukraine was held. The hybrid event featured reflections from the Ukrainian churches, describing their hopes and struggles for the future.


Among the speakers were CEC president, H.E. Archbishop Yevstratiy of Chernihiv and Nizhyn, Deputy Head of the Department of External Church Relations of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Rev. Vasyl Prits from the Department for External Church Relations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) and Ms Khrystyna Ukrainets, Head of National Partnerships at the Ukrainian Educational Platform from the Greek Catholic Church.


For more information or an interview, please contact:

Naveen Qayyum
Communication Officer
Conference of European Churches
Rue Joseph II, 174 B-1000 Brussels