To share information about European churches’ work on care for creation, and to promote their environmental projects through networking, representatives of the European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN) visited Belarus from 30 September to 2 October 2019.
The group included ECEN Secretary Rev. Dr Peter Pavlovic and ECEN moderator Per Ivar Våje from the Church of Norway.
“We have been impressed by interest and quality of some church projects we could see,” said Rev. Pavlovic. “Most of their work is not known outside Belarus. Therefore, at ECEN, we express solidarity with our colleagues in Belarus. We hope to contribute to better information sharing and building of bridges between churches’ work on care for creation across Europe,” he added.
The ECEN group learnt about projects focusing on the care for creation carried out by the Center for Environmental Solutions that cooperates closely with the Belarusian Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church as well as with the Protestant churches in the country.
“Churches can play an important role in bringing forward solutions to current environmental challenges. It is a significant part of our efforts at the Centre to work with churches and state authorities,” explained Evgeniy Lobanov, director at the Center for Environmental Solutions.
The ECEN representatives were received by H.E. Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, Metropolitan of Minsk-Mohilev Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church and were greeted by Fr. Alexander Shimbaljov, the Vice Chair of the Synodal Committee on Church and Society of the Orthodox Church in Belarus.
The group participated in discussions on the role of churches in care for creation that took place with students of the Institute of Theology of the Belarus State University under the leadership of Prof. Andrei Danilov. The ECEN delegates also took part in a seminar organised at the Theological Academy in Belarus that brought together church related initiatives focusing on care for creation, as well as a representative of the Belarus Ministry of Environment.
The ECEN team also learnt about the inspiring work on care for creation by the Minsk parish of St. Nicolaus of Japan, as well as care for creation initiatives in Lavrishevo monastery. They met with representatives of church related initiatives focusing on ecology. They discussed the possibilities of churches’ work on care for creation in conditions of small village parishes.