The Archbishop of Canterbury has been listening and spending time with Ukrainian refugees who are being supported by the UNHCR Refugee Community Support Centre in Romania.
Yesterday’s visit (Monday) to the refugee centre in Bucharest is part of a three-cities-trip which the Archbishop is making this week (between 11-16 March). He is visiting Istanbul, Bucharest and Chisinau in Moldova. In all three cities Archbishop Welby is having meetings with Orthodox, Christian and Jewish faith leaders to discuss issues of common interest, particularly the impact of the war in Ukraine on these three countries within the region.
In Bucharest, the UN works with other organisation such as The Salvation Army and World Vision to help hundreds of refugees with housing, education and practical advice, as well as giving them pastoral support. On his visit to the camp the Archbishop also saw how the food and clothing bank worked.
In Bucharest on Tuesday morning Archbishop Justin met HB Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church, the Chief Rabbi of Romania, Romanian government officials, as well as the Romanian Royal Family. On Tuesday afternoon he will be with Fr Nevsky Everett and congregation members of the Church of the Resurrection. He is also spending time with members of the Roma community.
Following Romania, Archbishop Welby travels to Moldova on Wednesday evening. It will be his first visit to the country and he will meet His Eminence Father Metropolitan Petru, Archbishop of Chisinau, Metropolitan of Bessarabia and Exarch of the Plains.
At the weekend (11-12 March) Archbishop Justin was in Turkey and attended a memorial service for Metropolitan John Zizioulas; met with HAH Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople New Rome & Ecumenical Patriarch; preached at the Anglican Christ Church, and attended a Celebration Mass for the 10th anniversary of Pope Francis’ election.
The Archbishop said:
“This is a trip where I am listening and learning from the Eastern Orthodox Church leaders and others about their concerns for the region and the instability on their borders. I am joining them in praying for peace in Ukraine and our hope for a better future.
“Yesterday’s visit to Ukrainian families displaced by war, allowed me to see for myself the work the UNHCR is doing to support them. Two things struck me: the dignity with which people are treated here and the generosity of Romanian people. It was heart-warming. It was a privilege to meet Ukrainian refugees, to hear their stories and to meet the people who are working with them to create a safe-harbour.
"It was also a real pleasure, as always, to spend time with the chaplaincies and their congregations in the Diocese in Europe.”