“It is unfortunate that such actions – including with regard to the UOC’s monastic community of the ancient Dormition Kiev Caves Lavra – appear to target the church itself,” said Pillay. “The actions being taken against the UOC do appear to raise genuine questions with regard to respect for freedom of religion or belief.”
Pillay further noted that, while the WCC has condemned the Russian invasion of the sovereign nation of Ukraine, the WCC also emphasizes the importance of protecting the presence and witness of the church wherever it is found.
“The WCC will monitor this situation closely, and respond appropriately in accordance with the principles of international human rights law and the protection of religious freedom,” said Pillay. “In the meantime, the WCC continues to encourage dialogue for peace, including among its member churches and ecumenical partners in Russia, Ukraine, and around the world.”
Pillay reiterated the belief that Christian leaders can and must bring light, hope, and healing to the tragic context. "Thus, we plan to convene a roundtable with church leaders from the respective countries, in the near future, with the latter objectives in mind,” he said. “May the God of love and peace guard and guide us during these difficult times as we pray for Christ’s love to move us to justice, peace, reconciliation, and unity,” he said.