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Nordic churches: Unceasing support of Ukraine

Nordic bishops are currently meeting with Ukrainian church leaders to show solidarity with Ukraine. Copenhagen's bishop is participating, hoping to strengthen the relationship with the Ukrainian church, which has been severed it ties to the Moscow Patriarchate.

In the photo, from left to right, are: Bishop of Copenhagen Peter Skov-Jakobsen, Finnish archbishop Tapio Luoma (both Lutheran). Finnish archbishop Leo and Ukranian metropolitan Epiphanius I (both Orthodox). Photo: Birger Nygaard

Copenhagen's bishop, Peter Skov-Jakobsen, is currently meeting with Ukrainian church leaders, the head of the autocephalous Orthodox Church in Ukraine, Metropolitan Epiphanius I, and Pavlo Shvarts, bishop of the German Lutheran Church in Ukraine. Also present are leading bishops from Iceland, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. The meeting began in Stockholm Wednesday and continued in Turku and Helsinki, Finland, yesterday and today.

As a gift, the Copenhagen bishop gave each Ukrainian leader a figure of Christ, replicas of Thorvaldsen's Christ standing at the altar in Copenhagen Cathedral.

"This meeting hopefully strengthens the relationship between our churches," says Peter Skov-Jakobsen, adding:

"We meet in a country with a long history with Russia; a country living with an awareness that the war is close to us. We have received many Ukrainian refugees in Denmark, and it is also out of respect for their history that I want to meet with their compatriots in Turku," says Peter Skov-Jakobsen.

The meeting is not just a gathering between Nordic and Ukrainian churches but also an ecumenical meeting between Lutheran and Orthodox churches.

"I would be pleased if this could lead to renewed collaboration between Protestant traditions and the Orthodox tradition," says Peter Skov-Jakobsen.

Tapio Luoma, the Finnish archbishop hosting the meeting in Finland, states:

"Ukrainians living under the pressure of war need all the help they can get. The goal of the visit is for our churches to establish closer contact and show that our church stands by the suffering Ukrainians," says Tapio Luoma, adding:

"There is a risk that the Western countries' interest in helping diminishes as the war of aggression initiated by Russia drags on. One goal of the visit is, therefore, to draw the attention to the Ukrainians' distress and the continued need for support," says Tapio Luoma. The statement can be read on the website of the Finnish Church.

The Ukrainian Metropolitan Epiphanius has expressed great appreciation for the support of the Nordic churches.

"Spiritual weapons are no less important than physical weapons. You do so much for us when you pray for us. It inspires us to continue the fight," says Epiphanius, according to Kyrkans Tidning