25 March 2007, 21:34
We are enriched especially by the voice of the Russian Orthodox Church
The secretary general of the Conference of European Churches Colin Williams during his recent stay in Moscow gave a brief survey of his organization current activities in the interview to the Interfax-Religion web portal.
- During the Cold war, at the beginning of its history, the main aim of Conference of European churches was to build bridges both between western and eastern churches and societies. But today the situation on Europe has changed radically. How can you characterize the most important tasks of Conference today?
- Christian unity remains a priority, because we have a long ways to go, before we can achieve this full visible unity, for which we tried. But CEC has several roles within that. First of all, we wish to enable the churches of Europe to speak together with a strong confident voice to all the people of Europe. То that end, we represent (tense) of churches within CEC, particularly orthodox and non-orthodox churches, (to name in the fine ways) to speak and to act together. And we also have offices in Brussels and Strasbourg, engaged with the European institutions to give again a care voice by the European churches.
- Do you feel that the European politicians really hear the voices of Christian churches, or they don't?
- Of course, our dialog is not effective enough, we must continue to work at that. We are in regular contacts with decision makers in Brussels and Strasbourg. And we continue to make a news of ourselves. So, they can do to listen to us. We're encouraged by the fact that the draft of the European Constitutional Treaty committed the European Commission to regular open dialog with faith communities in Europe. And although the draft of European Constitutional Treaty remains in limbo, we have found that the European institutions and monsignor Barroso are would to have the dialog.
- How would you define the specific role of orthodox members of Conference, specifically Russian Orthodox Church, in the modern ecumenical movement?
- It is important that CEC contain within itself the strong voice from the Eastern Europe. I've been reminded in these days of meeting together in Russia, that there is a distinctive view, which comes to us from Eastern Europe. And we cannot as CEC claim to speak on behalf of the churches of Europe, and that's we take that voice very seriously. And we are enriched especially by the voice of the Russian Orthodox Church within a fellowship. It is very important to us, that the churches of Russia, and especially Russian Orthodox Church continue to play a leading role in our life.
- There are many people in Europe, disturbed by the growth of Islamic communities in Europe. Which kind of platform for contacts do you have within CEC for dialog with Muslims?
- Firstly, we do it together with our Roman catholic brothers and sisters. We have a regular meetings with representatives of muslin leaders in Europe, precisely to promote dialog between our two historic faiths. It is important on our continent of Europe that we promote good relations between two historic faiths. Only with an open and honest message can we have effective dialog. We have found in some parts of a continent that Muslim brothers and sisters been supported of our Christian position, especially when secular rises have try to push the church out of public life. And I thing that specially in my own country of Britain the dispute over "British Airways" towards stewardess wearing the cross when Muslim communities were specially together with the churches, oppose to "British Airways" and that ban. So we need today to work together, but to do so honestly with each other, sharing our differences as a some narratives.