Statement of the Nordic Bishops’ Conference on the war in Ukraine – March 2024

We applaud the resilience of Ukraine and the efforts made by people of good will to feed the hungry, console the grieving, nurse the sick.

On 11 March 2022, we, the Nordic Bishops’ Conference, issued a statement expressing its ‘profound communion with the Ukrainian people and its outrage at the war of aggression by which the Russian Federation shows disdain for Ukraine’s sovereignty and causes untold suffering to millions of innocent people’.

Two years on, our outrage is undiminished, sharpened by grief at the many lives lost, at the multitudes maimed or driven from their homes, at the trauma sustained by children, and at the systematic destruction of a national, cultural, and religious patrimony.

Russian aggression is also causing concern in our countries: a few days ago, Russia announced the deployment of troops along the Finnish border. Memories of past confrontation are evoked. In such a climate, fortitude is called for, and clear thinking. Required is a long-term vision for European stability that can enable the flourishing of peace in lasting justice. At a time when our continent is rocked by winds of menace, we need to make sure our roots run deep. In this work, the Catholic Church in the Nordic countries wishes to play its part.

We applaud the resilience of Ukraine and the efforts made by people of good will to feed the hungry, console the grieving, nurse the sick. In such ways the flame of hope penetrates the deadening darkness of hatred. We especially commend the work of Caritas in Ukraine. Like last year, our countries will unite in a Pentecost action to collect funds for Caritas’s humanitarian work in Ukraine.

Hundreds of Thousands of Ukrainian refugees have, during these two years, been integrated into our Nordic parishes and communities. We welcome them. They enrich us with the spiritual riches they bring. For a thousand years a strong bond of friendship has tied our countries to the region of Kyivan Rus’. We pray God, the protector of the poor, who laughs at the presumption of princes (Psalm 2.4), to restore peace to Ukraine.

As we enter Passiontide, our eyes focus on Jesus, who is our peace (Ephesians 2.14), before Pontius Pilate. We are reminded that an endeavor to establish peace in our sin-sick world involves speaking truth to power. May Christ’s saving Pasch, the foundation of our existence, renew the face of the earth. May Christ’s Spirit make us truly wise.

Luxemburg, 15.03.2024

+ Czeslaw Kozon, Copenhagen, President

+ Anders Cardinal Arborelius OCD, Stockholm, Vice-President

+ Bernt Eidsvig Can.Reg, Oslo

+ David Tencer OFMCap, Reykjavik

+ Erik Varden O.C.S.O., Trondheim and Apostolic Administrator Tromsø

+ Raimo Goyarrola, Helsinki

+ Peter Bürcher, Bishop em. Reykjavik

+ Berislav Grgic, Bischof Prelate em. Tromsø

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