Hierarchs of Ukrainian Churches discussed with European Union (EU) deputies the relationship of Ukraine and European Union

Friday, 04 October 2013, 12:11
During both meetings there was an exchange of thoughts concerning European prospects of Ukraine. The focus of the discussion was on the importance of fundamental values on which current Europe is built – freedom (including freedom of conscience and religious affiliation), democracy, respect for human rights, and rule of the law.

In presenting the delegation, His Beatitude Sviatoslav (Shevchuk), UGCC Primate, underlined that the religious leaders of Ukraine do not represent the government or politicians, but the faithful, who form the majority of Ukrainian people.

“Through our mere presence here we want to demonstrate the good news from Ukraine – we are a European nation, we want to and know how to cooperate as representatives of various peoples and various confessions.  We see Ukraine’s future in the circle of free European nations,” emphasized UGCC Head.  He also stressed the special significance of preserving moral values and the freedom of religious affiliation.  In his words, this not only depends on the possibility of freely praying, but also on the possibility of freely teaching  faith to children and youth, freely preaching and voicing one’s religious views on social issues.

The participants of the meeting testified their wishes from the European side as well as the Ukrainian side, towards signing the Agreement on Association at the summit in Vilnius.

“As in a marathon race, Ukraine and Europe together has run the permanent road towards the possibility of signing the Agreement of Association at the Vilnius summit.  Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we will succeed in covering the last hundred meters of the marathon,” summarized the Head of the Committee, Elmar Brok.  “The European Union is not something just fixed on paper,” emphasized the European Deputy Haler, “it is a community of countries and peoples, who share similar values and implement them into life.”

Patriarch Filaret (Denysenko) underlined that the support of religious leaders of the European prospects of Ukraine also emerges from wishes for a lasting peace in Europe and the whole world.

“We do not want Europe to be divided into warring camps, as it was in recent history,” he noted.

UOC-KP Primate said that in his opinion, the recent celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus testified: our people and nation have already been a part of Europe for over a thousand years.

“We do not like everything in Ukraine, as we do not like everything in Europe,” said Patriarch Filaret.  “However, then, when there will be an Agreement of Association of Ukraine and EU, it will be simpler to correct that which needs correction. “

Participating in the discussion were also other members of the delegation of religious leaders. The first day of the Brussels visit ended with a supper-meeting with representatives of religious organizations, which are empowered to work along with the European Union.  The program foresaw a discussion of many issues, important both for the Ukrainian society as well as for the general European perspective





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