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Romania - Appeal for continued dialogue on church-state legislation

04 February 2000

Letter to President Emile Constaninescu, 4 February 2000.

Your Excellency,

    As a worldwide fellowship of churches, the World Council of Churches has always been concerned with issues of church-state relations. In this regard, it has come to our attention that the government of Romania is continuing its consideration of legislation on religions. Some of our member churches in Romania have expressed to us their concerns about this legislation, particularly the requirements for registration of religious communities.

    We strongly encourage further dialogue and negotiation involving the representatives of churches and religious communities themselves before the legislation is finalized.

    As you are aware, we have signaled this concern previously to your Government. In a spirit of constructive dialogue I sent our Coordinator for International Relations, the Rev. Dwain Epps, to Romania to share our experiences. In his extensive conversations with Dr Gheorghe F. Anghelescu on the broader issues of church-state relations in 1998, Rev. Epps offered our continuing support in the resolution of some of these issues.

    It is in this same spirit that I reiterate our sincere hope that you and your Government will respond positively to this new request.

                                                                                                                                    Respectfully yours,

                                                                                                                                    Konrad Raiser
                                                                                                                                   General Secretary