The Ecumenical Social Week as a project of inter-confessional cooperation in Ukraine was presented at an international conference in Minsk

2011-12-01 17:00

Participants discussed issues of inter-confessional cooperation in economic, social and cultural spheres. There were discussed relevant issues of bioethics: abortion, euthanasia, cloning. Although the conference was titled Catholic-Orthodox dialogue, representatives of the Jewish and Muslim communities also participated in the event. As if today ecumenism goes beyond the notion of inter-confessional and often includes inter-religious dialogue.

Honorary guests of the event were: Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk Filaret, Patriarchal Exarch of all Belarus, Cardinal Kurt Koch, Head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Apostolic Nuncio in Belarus Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti. Among the speakers were guests from Estonia, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Ukraine.

Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk Filaret began a session. He stressed that Christian relations must be build on the principles of mutual understanding. "We must learn to see Christians of other denominations not as adversaries but as brothers" – called the Head of the Belarusian Orthodox Church. According to Filaret, "Unity of Christians is not only the unity of faith, but the unity of good deeds as well".

Head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch presented the history of the decline of Christian values in Europe, and therefore called for a new evangelization of Europe: "True evangelization has to transmit to people the idea given us by the Lord". At a time when the secular trends are spreading "our task is to maintain thinking about Christ in the world". The Cardinal expressed his concern over the situation: "There where God was thrown out the life, very quickly people begin to be trampled underfoot as well".

General Secretary of the Community of St. Ehidiy (Italy) Adriano Rokuchchi emphasized the issues of bioethics, as a rejection of the weak: "Today there is less room for otherness (disabled, sick, weak). For example there is the destruction of another weak through euthanasia. Denial of otherness is a denial of human value and recognition of man himself as well. "Such questions on the speaker's opinion are matters of culture, so he offered "to develop a new culture and humanity, which would not come off its spiritual roots".

Director of the Ecumenical Institute at the Catholic University of Lublin, Fr. Przemyslaw Kantyka, expressed an important thought that "today the world needs new Christian leadership in matters of morality".

Coordinator of the Ecumenical Social Week in Ukraine, Iryna Kitura, presented the Institute of Ecumenical Studies of the Ukrainian Catholic University and the project of the ESW. The Ecumenical Social Week is 4th year held in Ukraine in early October. As a sample, she showed an fragment from the film about the third ESW. "The Ecumenical Social Week in Ukraine is a part of a network of European Social weeks, but the peculiarity of the Forum in Ukraine is an emphasis on ecumenism". The Ecumenical Social Week is a good example of cooperation of representatives of different denominations in the social sphere.

The conference participants called for a new evangelization, which is needed today in the first place, taking into consideration the challenges of the world. They stressed the need to erase the memory of the past and decided to start inter-confessional cooperation in the social sphere.