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Church of England
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Church of England
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Archbishop of Canterbury hosts Orthodox Church of Ukraine leaders at Lambeth Palace

by Sophie Drew

Archbishop of Canterbury hosts Orthodox Church of Ukraine leaders at Lambeth Palace 

The Archbishop of Canterbury has welcomed the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, His Beatitude Metropolitan Epifaniy to Lambeth Palace.

The Primate was in the UK to attend the International Conference of Freedom of Religion or Belief in Westminster; an event the Most Rev Justin Welby also attended. 

The plight of Ukraine was high up on the agenda throughout the conference. In her opening remarks, foreign secretary Liz Truss referred to Putin's "holy war", saying: "Vladimir Putin and his enablers claim that Russia is waging a holy war, but in truth they believe nothing is sacred. 

"We're seeing growing evidence of heinous war crimes committed by Russia's troops.

"Innocent civilians  are having to shelter from Russia's indiscriminate bombardment inside places of worship. 

"Churches, synagogues and mosques are being reduced to rubble. 

"Religion is proving to be collateral damage from Putin's aggresson. 

"To Ukraine's delegation in the audience today, I want to say that the UK will not rest until your people prevail."

The Archbishop met with His Beatitude and His Eminence Archbishop Yevstratiy Zoria, Archbishop of Chernihiv and Nizhyn, joining together in prayer and worship. 

From there, they attended the midday Euchariest in the Crypt Chapel, where Archbishop Justin received a blessing from the Metropolitan Epifaniy. 

In his homily Archbishop Justin said: "We know that we are in the presence of those who bear a heavy burden of leadership in war. Let us pray that our love for them and their people, and our peace with which we bless them, may strengthen them in the difficult and stony path that they travel at this time."
 
In a prayer of intercession during the service, Archbishop Justin said: "We ask, O God, for peace in Ukraine, for the defeat of evil, for the end of suffering of the people and for the end of the need for young people to give their lives. We pray for churches meeting the needs of people. We pray for your mercy, O God."

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