A delegation from the Conference of European Churches visited Estonia on 17-20 August 2017 as the country assumed the presidency of the EU. Together with the Commision of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) they met with the Estonian Prime Minister, Mr. Jüri Ratas, the Interior Minister Mr. Andrus Anvelt and national church leaders.
As a result of the meeting CEC, COMECE, the Estonian Council of Churches in cooperation with Estonia’s Interior Ministry will organise a consultation on religious fundamentalism 16-17 November 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia.
The CEC and COMECE delegation brought to the attention of the Prime Minister the current challenges of solidarity between East, West, North and South in Europe and the churches’ role and contribution in that debate.
Internal and external migration was also a theme that was discussed. In particular and often neglected, the church leaders highlighted that the implications of migration from one EU Member State to another requires more political attention.
Changes in the cultural and religious landscape were brought up in the context of a broader and deeper understanding of religions, as provided by general and academic education, is required. Religion should not only be considered as part of the problem but a key element of the solution to the struggles society faces.
The CEC delegation continued its visit by learning more about the ecumenical landscape of Estonia. They met with the heads of the two CEC Member Churches, Archbishop Urmas Viilma of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and Metropolitan Stefanus of the Orthodox Church, as well as the leadership of the Estonian Council of Churches, President Archbishop emeritus Andres Põder, vice presidents Bishop Philippe Jourdan and Dr. Meego Remmel,
The CEC delegation was invited by the Orthodox Church to the parish of Obinitsa in Estonian Setomaa for the feast of the Transfiguration of Christ in the Julian Calendar, 19 August. With hundreds of pilgrims of all ages from Estonia and beyond, they saw an impressively vivid dimension of Orthodox popular tradition and contemporary missionary potential.
Members of CEC Delegation
President Rt Rev. Christopher Hill KCVO, DD
Vice-President H.E. Metropolitan Emmanuel of France
Vice-President Very Rev. Karin Burstrand
General Secretary Fr. Heikki Huttunen
For more information or an interview, please contact:
Conference of European Churches
Rue Joseph II, 174 B-1000 Brussels
Tel. +32 2 234 68 42
Fax +32 2 231 14 13
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of 115 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from across Europe, plus more than 40 National Council of Churches and Organisations in Partnership. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Brussels and Strasbourg.