On the eve of the upcoming Finish Presidency of the Council of the EU (July-December 2019), a delegation of the Committee of Representatives of the Orthodox Churches to the European Union (CROCEU) received the visit of Most Revd Dr Tapio Luoma, the Archbishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.
In the opening of the meeting, the Archbishop expressed his conviction that the contribution of Orthodoxy to the European project is certainly not a new chapter in the history of Europe, recalling his personal experience of meeting the then Archbishop of Cyprus, Makarios I, at an international conference in 1975, in Helsinki. He also emphasised the excellent relation that the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland has with the Orthodox Church in the country, headed by Archbishop Leo of Karelia and All Finland, as well as the very fruitful ongoing theological dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church.
Turning to the priorities of the Finnish presidency of the Council of the EU, Archbishop Tapio Luoma mentioned environment protection policies and the promotion of an economy of wellbeing, in line with the principles and objectives of the European Pilar of Social Rights, as aspects of utmost importance to the churches in Europe. Protection of democracy and the rule of law, as well as finding a balanced solution to the ongoing migration crisis also figure high on the agenda of the Finnish Lutheran Church during the EU Presidency.
On their part, CROCEU members presented the Archbishop their current efforts to articulate with one voice the concerns and perspectives of the Orthodox Church on the European construction process. They also assured their guest of their openness to cooperation throughout, and beyond, the Finnish Presidency of the EU, for the common good of all European citizens.
Archbishop Tapio Luoma was joined at the meeting by members of his staff: Mr. Pekka Huokuna, President of the Church Council, Mrs. Lena Kumlin, Legal Adviser for European Affairs, and Revd. Juha Merilainen, Theological Advisor.
The CROCEU delegation was made up of Archimandrite Aimilianos Bogiannou (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople), Rev. George Valcu (Romanian Patriarchate) and Archimandrite Nektarios Ioannou (Church of Cyprus).