ROME — The Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) issued an appeal Friday urging support for Ukraine under the threat of Russian military aggression.
Representing the Catholic Church in forty-five countries in the European continent, CCEE President Archbishop Gintaras Grušas of Vilnius, Lithuania, described the tension around Ukraine as “dramatic” while also expressing the closeness of the European bishops to “the Churches in Ukraine and to all its people.”
In the statement, the bishops urged the international community to offer its support to Ukraine “in the face of the danger of a Russian military offensive.”
The actions of the Russian military forces have been universally understood as “a real threat to peace throughout the world,” Archbishop Grušas declared, adding that in this time of fear and uncertainty for the future of the country, the bishops embrace “our brothers and sisters in the faith and all the people of Ukraine.”
Citing Pope Francis, the bishops also appealed for a resolution to the crisis through “serious dialogue and not with arms.”
“Reciprocal trust and readiness to engage in calm discussion should also inspire all parties at stake, so that acceptable and lasting solutions can be found in Ukraine,” the pontiff told members of the Diplomatic Corps on January 1.
The bishops encouraged world leaders not to forget “the tragic World Wars of the last century” so that “international law as well as the independence and territorial sovereignty of each country will be defended.”
“At this extremely delicate time, we ask Christians to pray for the gift of peace in Ukraine so that those responsible may be filled with, and radiate, a peace that is ‘contagious’ and that the crisis will be overcome exclusively through dialogue,” the statement concludes.