The General Assembly of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) took place in Novi Sad, Serbia, from May 31 to June 6, 2018, gathering together more than 500 delegates, advisors, stewards, youth, staff, and distinguished guests from across Europe. His Holiness Patriarch Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Church welcomed delegates to Serbia and stressed the significance of the event. Taking as its general theme the biblical verse “You shall be My witnesses” (Acts 1, 8), CEC’s Assembly set its agenda for the next 5 years period with a special focus on the future of Europe in light of economic, political, and social crises, as well as on the mission of churches to enhance a vision of witness, justice, and hospitality. The delegation of the Romanian Orthodox Church was led by HE Iosif, Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan of Western and Southern Europe and was composed of Rev. Sorin Selaru, Director of the Permanent Office of the Romanian Orthodox Church to the European Institutions, Rev. Constantin Jinga, University of Timisoara and Gabriela Pipirig, Department of Youth of the Archdiocese of Iaşi.
During the 7 day-event, keynote speeches were given by His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II (Syriac Orthodox Church), Lisa Schneider (Ecumenical Youth Council in Europe) and The Most Rev. Dr Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of Uppsala (Church of Sweden). The message of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew was delivered by HE Emmanuel, Metropolitan of France. The Ecumenical Patriarch raised concerns regarding the situation of Christians in East, human rights, and environment protection. On Sunday, June 3, the Orthodox bishops and priests celebrated the liturgy service at Saint George’s Cathedral in Novi Sad. The ceremony was led by HE Stephanos, Metropolitan of Tallinn and all Estonia. A day after, Rev. Christian Krieger, President of the Reformed Church in Alsace and Lorraine and Vice-President of both the Union of Protestant Churches in Alsace and Lorraine and the Protestant Federation of France, was elected as the new President of CEC.
The General Assembly is the highest governing body of CEC and, this year, was hosted by CEC Member Churches in Serbia, including the Serbian Orthodox Church and churches in the Vojvodina region, the Reformed Christian Church in Serbia and Montenegro, the Slovak Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Serbia, and the United Methodist Church in Serbia.
Founded in 1959, CEC is a fellowship of 116 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all across Europe, plus more than 40 National Councils of Churches and organizations in partnership. CEC was founded in 1959, with offices in Brussels and Strasbourg.
photo source: www.ceceurope.org