Church in Wales calls for action against the Russian Orthodox Church over its support for the war in Ukraine
The Church in Wales has called on the World Council of Churches (WCC) to distance itself from the Russian Orthodox Church following the invasion of Ukraine.
An emergency motion passed unanimously by the Church in Wales has urged the WCC to take “clear and appropriate action” against any member which supported the war, but stopped short of calling for the expulsion of the Russian Orthodox Church from the WCC
The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Rowan Williams has previously indicated he believed such a move may be appropriate and during a visit to Ukraine last month said: “There are elements in the Russian Christian tradition that can become really toxic when they get in their head a particular kind of Christian nationalism, a sort of messianic approach to the fate of the nation.”
The Russian Orthodox Church is closely connected to the Russian government. Its head, Patriarch Kirill I, is a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, and according to the New York Times in return for providing spiritual cover for the invasion of Ukraine, has been rewarded with “vast resources for his church in return”.
The Patriarch has called Mr. Putin’s lengthy rule “a miracle of God,” and has characterised the war as a just defence against liberal conspiracies to infiltrate Ukraine with “gay parades.”
The Bishop of Asaph, Gregory Cameron, who proposed the motion to the Governing Body said there were few members of the church who were not “horrified” by the attacks on Ukrainians.
He welcomed the WCC’s condemnation of the war and its voicing of support for the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, a critic of the war.
“What has been disappointing has been the response of the Patriarch of Moscow himself, who has sided with President Putin, and who has become increasingly vociferous in toeing the official line,” Bishop Gregory told Anglican News.
“The Church in Wales’ view is that the war in Ukraine is an unprovoked war of aggression and we are asking the WCC to take appropriate action.
“We are asking Christians globally to take the stand for peace and to pray for repentance and reconciliation.”
The Russian Orthodox Church has about 100 million members and close to 30 million people in Ukraine are members of Orthodox churches.
Since 2014 the church has come under attack for perceived anti-Ukrainian and pro-Russian actions by its clergymen and in 2019 the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was finally granted independence from the Russian Orthodox Church in 2019, a move never recognised by Russia.
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