EKD Council President does not want to break off contact with the Russian Orthodox Church

Dhe EKD Council Chairwoman Annette Kurschus feared an ideological exaggeration of the war in the Ukraine warned. If the Moscow Patriarch Cyril supports the Russian war of aggression and thereby puts God “in front of his own cart”, it is “blasphemy”. However, one should not idealize the defense of Ukraine “as a defense of Western values”, said the EKD Council Chairwoman. “Here, too, I sense a historical-theological exaggeration”.

Reinhard Bingener

Political correspondent for Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Bremen based in Hanover.

The relationships of EKD Kurschus does not want to break off with the Russian Orthodox Church, although there are corresponding demands within the Protestant Churches. The EKD Council President said that with her criticism of the patriarch Kirill, who is close to Putin, she was not condemning the entire Russian orthodoxy, which was “very polyphonic in itself”. “We must not and will not break the ecumenical bridges to her,” Kurschus clarified.

Steinmeier: “Churches should stop circling too much about themselves”

The EKD Council President, who was elected to office last November, spoke on Wednesday evening at the St. John’s reception of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), which was also attended by the Federal President Frank Walter Steinmeier spoke. Steinmeier said the situation as a whole “has not become any easier for the churches”. The ongoing loss of members is not solely due to mistakes in dealing with sexualized violence, said Steinmeier. Steinmeier nonetheless called on Christians to be confident and committed. “The churches should stop focusing too much on themselves for fear of losing their importance,” advised Steinmeier. The strength of religion lies precisely where there are no simple answers, no clear orientation.

Steinmeier also advised the churches to pay particular attention to a “practical orientation” in their work. “The poor and the weak must be in focus” in their very different needs. Steinmeier added that with this advice he “spoke largely as an evangelical Christian”, but listened approvingly to himself as Federal President.

In her speech, EKD Council Chairwoman Annette Kurschus spoke of an increasing numbness in the face of the daily news from the war zone and warned of a “fatalistic composure”. “We are tired of the constant new crises,” said Kurschus. First Corona, then war in Ukraine and the necessary ecological transformation are all together a “single overstrain” for people and society.

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