Since April, The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute has been a prime contributor to the movement asking the World Council of Churches (WCC) to suspend member privileges for the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church. In addition to the development and circulation of a petition demanding action, we worked closely with a team of experts, advocates, and interlocutors, to bring our message to influential denominational and international church leaders. We base our appeal on Patriarch Kirill’s egregious violations of the WCC’s mission promoting peace and justice, not to mention the very essence of the Christian gospel summarized in the angelic declaration, “Peace on earth and goodwill to humankind.”
Kirill continues to make repeated public statements praising Putin’s war of aggression against the Ukrainians. He recently pronounced that Russian soldiers will enjoy forgiveness of sins for prosecuting that unjust war.
In early September, leaders with whom we are working with on this issue conveyed our concerns to leaders of the WCC and its member bodies. While the WCC Executive Committee and General Assembly failed to take action on the Russian Church’s membership, it released a statement denouncing the war as “incompatible with God’s very nature and will for humanity and against our fundamental Christian and ecumenical principles.”
In keeping with our namesake’s emphasis on moving from the “phraseological” to the “real,” and his concepts of the “concrete” and “responsible action” we persist in our call for the WCC to do more than speaking. We maintain it is time to speak and act. Therefore, our petition campaign continues, as does our dialogue with WCC representatives.