Meeting of the Committee of the Representatives of the Orthodox Churches to the European Union took place in Brussels

On 24 October 2017 the Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church before the Council of Europe and before the international European organisations hegumen Philip Ryabykh participated in the meeting of the Committee of Representatives of the Orthodox Churches to the European Union (CROCEU) which took place in Brussels (Belgium).

The meeting was also attended by the Representatives of other Orthodox Churches before the European Union: Bishop Porfyrios of Naples (Church of Cyprus); Archimandrite Aimilianos (Bogiannou) (Patriarchate of Constantinople); Archpriest Georgios Lekkas (Church of Greece); Rev. George Valku (Romanian Church); and Hieromonk Nektarios (Ioannou) (Church of Cyprus).

Before the session the members of CROCEU had a meeting with the European Commission Coordinator for the dialogue between the European Commission and churches, religious associations or communities, philosophical and non-confessional organisations Mr Vincent Depaigne. Mr Depaigne was appointed on 2 October 2017. He replaces Ms Katharina von Schnurbein, who has served in this function since January 2012. The position of dialog coordinator was established in the early 1990s by the President of the EU Commission Mr Jacques Delors. It offers an opportunity for engaging churches and various religious organisations into the process of policy making in the European Union. The CROCEU members congratulated Mr Depaigne with his appointment at the position and expressed their hope for the future effective cooperation. Hegumen Philip gave the newly-appointed EU-official a copy of the Report about the violation of Orthodox Christians’ rights in Europe in 2016.

Following was a meeting with Ms Adina Portaru, a representative of the international non-governmental organisation Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) International, who informed the members of CROCEU about the activity of the AFD International in the sphere of legal protection of the rights of the Christians around the world, in particular, in the situations of persecution, as a result of the use Christian symbols or proclaiming of the biblical moral teaching in  public.

During the session of the Committee, its members also discussed the results of the off-site meeting that was held in Moscow on 6 October 2017. They further discussed the topics of the future conferences with CROCEU-members participation  and the results of their previous meetings with various EU officials.

The members of CROCEU also expressed their special thanks to father Philipp (Ryabykh) for organising the off-site session of the Committee that had taken place from 6 to 8 October 2017 in Moscow.