On May 13, 2024, the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (UCCRO) met in Kyiv at the German Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Catherine with the President of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Bishop Henrik Stubkjær (Denmark) and the General Secretary of the LWF Dr. Anne Burghardt (Estonia).

On behalf of the religious community, Pastor Anatoliy Raychynets, representative of the Chairman of the UCCRO, expressed gratitude to the leaders of the Lutheran World Federation for their support of Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, including prayers for a just peace for Ukraine, for helping Ukrainian refugees in the Kingdom of Denmark and Estonia, for humanitarian aid and for spreading truthful information about the war and Russian aggression in the world. 

In his speech, UGCC Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk raised the issue of humanitarian challenges in the context of the war and the joint responsibility of churches together with churches and governments of other countries in addressing humanitarian problems in Ukraine. “We must work together to resolve the humanitarian crisis so that this crisis does not turn into a humanitarian catastrophe,” said the Head of the UGCC Sviatoslav Shevchuk. In his speech, he also emphasized the importance of chaplaincy service for the military and their families, the status of clergy and the role of churches in Ukrainian society, as well as the advocacy activities of churches and religious organizations at the international level. 

The participants of the meeting noted the common problem that the Russian Orthodox Church is the author of the genocidal ideology of the “Russian world” and spreads these non-Christian narratives through church channels. 

The LWF leaders noted that their visit to Ukraine is aimed at further support of the Ukrainian people in their struggle for freedom and a just peace. In addition to the LWF President and General Secretary, the meeting with the UCCRO was attended by Mark Mullan, head of the LWF Humanitarian Office in Ukraine, and Josef Platner, head of humanitarian aid to Ukraine in Europe.  

The Lutheran World Federation unites 150 churches in 99 countries with a total membership of about 77 million believers. The LWF office is located in Geneva (Switzerland) and coordinates communication between the member Lutheran churches, as well as humanitarian work in different regions of the world, including Ukraine.

Photo by Anatoliy Nazarenko