For May 24-25, 2022
Contact: Jessica Felix Romero | firstname.lastname@example.org
Mateusz Piotrowski | email@example.com
Phone/WhatsApp: +48 530 074 147
World Religious Leaders Travel in Emergency Just Peace Mission to Pray in Kyiv and Appeal to Pray in Moscow, 24-25 May 2022
Kyiv, Ukraine – In solidarity with the nonviolence movement in Ukraine, a high-level delegation of religious leaders will travel to Kyiv in an emergency intervention seeking to contribute to stopping the aggression and bombing in Ukraine and to pray for an immediate ceasefire and a just peace.
In March, Mayor Vitali Klitschko of Kyiv, Ukraine’s besieged capital, issued a call to religious leaders to come to Kyiv to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people. “I make an appeal to the world's spiritual leaders to take a stand and assume the moral function that is incumbent upon them, and to proudly assume the responsibility of their religions for peace,” said Klitschko. “...Let us make Kyiv the capital of humanity, spirituality, and peace.”
In response to Klitschko’s request, more than a dozen representatives from the major world religions will arrive in Kyiv on Tuesday, May 24 to engage in prayer, pastoral accompaniment, and distribution of humanitarian aid, as well as key encounters with peacebuilders, religious leaders, and political leaders. They plan to hold two prayer vigils for peace – one on May 24 and one on May 25 – each followed by a press conference.
“We are here to demand that bombing of Ukrainian cities must stop,” said Dr. Mateusz Piotrowski, one of the lead organizers and president of Europe, a Patient, “We want to contribute to strengthening humanitarian corridors. We also hope that interventions of religious leaders, in the form of recurrent vigils for just peace in other cities endangered by bombing, could provide an important instrument of peacebuilding – in Ukraine and elsewhere.”
“The aggression against Ukraine has horrified the international community and accelerated diplomatic and humanitarian crises around the world,” said Rose Berger, a member of the delegation and senior editor for Sojourners. “The text in Matthew 5:9 says, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.’ To make peace is not to avoid natural human conflict, but to step toward it with unarmed resolve to restore right relationships, to heal wounds, to model hope and to fiercely seek peace and pursue it. This is a religious pilgrimage, not a political mission. We will place ourselves bodily with our family in Ukraine and we will pray. This is the path of gospel nonviolence.”
The host partner of delegation visit to Kyiv is Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, non-governmental organization that formed the first modern Holocaust museum in Eastern Europe and the center for tragedy study. Delegation organizers include Europe, a Patient Association, a pan-European advocacy initiative to respond to humanitarian crises based in Warsaw, and Sojourners, a Washington, D.C-based Christian NGO dedicated to articulating the biblical call to social justice and peace.
What: Outdoor prayer vigils calling for peace, hosted by an international delegation of faith leaders.
Where and When: The delegation plans to hold public outdoor prayer services on Tuesday, 24 May at 9:00 AM at Babyn Yar and on Wednesday at 12:00 PM (noon) in Kyiv (location TBD).
Who: Members of the delegation will include:
Rt. Rev. Dr. Jo Bailey Wells, Anglican bishop of Dorking, U.K., representative of the Church of England and supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury
Imam Yahya Pallavicini, president of COREIS (Islamic Religious Community-Italy) and coordinator of EULEMA, the European Muslim Leaders’ Majlis
Sr. Sheila Kinsey, FCJM, Executive Co-Secretary of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission of the Union of Superior Generals (male religious congregations) and of the International Union of Superior Generals (female religious congregations), Catholic Church, Rome
Lord Maurice Glasman, Labour peer (UK) and director of the Common Good Foundation
Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, Executive Director of Churches for Middle East Peace (USA)
Ms. Michele Dunne, OFS, Executive Director of Franciscan Action Network (USA)
Imam Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Religions for Peace (UK)
Ms. Rose Marie Berger, senior leader, Sojourners (USA)
Prof. Jose Casanova, senior fellow, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Georgetown University (USA)
Ms. Sara Prandi, member of Stopthewarnow (Italy)
Ms. Maura Galati, member of Stopthewarnow (Italy)
Prof. Eli S. McCarthy, Georgetown University (USA)
Prof. Barbara Wien, American University (USA)
Mr. Alberto Capannini, member of Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII - Operazione Colomba (Italy)
Mr. Aleksander Temkin, cofounder of Europe, a Patient Association (POL)
Dr. Mateusz Piotrowski, President of Europe, a Patient Association (POL).
Follow Up: A press conference will immediately follow each prayer vigil.
Interviews available with delegates and Ukrainian nonviolence leaders