Joint Press Release No: 18/03
17 January 2018
To mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2018, presidents of CEC and the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) has jointly issued the following message:
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
“Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power…” (Exodus 15:6a) is the theme chosen for this year’s celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. It reminds us that it is the Lord who rules the world and history, and who has a plan (Ephesians 1:3-10) of hope for humanity.
To bear witness to Christian hope in a secular society
Today, Europe needs hope! It is the underlying cry which shines through the faces of many citizens in our countries. It is the sense of emptiness reached by a God-less life. Economic well-being alone is not capable of satisfying the human heart. A European plan focusing on accumulation of wealth, incapable of solidarity or hospitality, paradoxically creates new poverty. Everyone who is open to the Gospel discovers the other, the suffering, the elderly, the unemployed, and feels united with them in generating hope.
We Christians want to give witness to our hope which is rooted in a life with Christ. We have certainty that in Christ is it possible to live with peace of mind in these present times and to build a better future with eyes open to eternity.
Care for every person and for the whole world
Today there are many threats and new forms of slavery which profoundly damage the dignity of the human person created in the image of God. We think of the mass exodus of people who are forced by conflict and poverty to abandon their families or homes. A better future is possible only if we follow God and our hearts and do justice, as individuals and as communities.
The Christian Churches in Europe want to testify Christ’s love for every person, created in the image God. The yearning for visible unity of our Churches finds its expression today in the charity of so many Christian communities. So unity is strengthened through:
- solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters living in conditions of poverty, of loneliness and marginalisation;
- solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters and others who are persecuted for their faith, especially in the Middle East, in Africa and in Asia;
- solidarity with our neighbours who come to the gates of Europe;
concern for a Europe which takes care of the spiritual and material needs of its citizens.
Perseverance on the ecumenical journey
The urgency of these challenges confirms the importance that Christians be united.
Therefore we call on our faithful to persevere in hope and witness to the Gospel. This requires that we support each other through mutual understanding in order to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Rt Rev. Christopher Hill KCVO, DD
President of CEC
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco
President of CCEE
For more information or an interview, please contact:
CEC Communication Coordinator
Tel: +32 2 234 68 42
CCEE Media Officer
Tel. +41 71 227 6044,
Cell. +41 79 12 80 189
The Conference of European Churches is a fellowship of some 116 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, plus 40 national councils of churches and organisations in partnership. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Brussels and Strasbourg.
The Council of European Bishops’ Conferences of Europe currently gathers 33 European Bishops’ Conferences, represented by their Presidents, plus the Archbishops of Luxembourg, of the Principality of Monaco, the Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus and the Bishop of Chişinău (Moldova Rep.), the Eparchial Bishop of Mukachevo and the Apostolic Administrator of Estonia. The President is Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa; Vice-Presidents are Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, and Msgr Stanisław Gądecki, Archbishop of Poznań. The Secretary General is Mgr Duarte da Cunha. The Secretariat is based at St Gallen (Switzerland) www.ccee.eu