20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster
Got this through the grapevine: A letter by the Justice, Peace and Creation Team of the World Council of Churches to persons responsible for or engaged with the witness of their churches regarding environmental concerns:
Dear colleagues and friends, sisters and brothers in Christ,
Let me share with you a decision taken by the recent Session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on 27 December 2005:
The Holy Synod in its session chaired by His Holiness the Patriarch
Considered the upcoming 20th anniversary (26 April 2006) of the Chernobyl disaster.
- Remembering the mournful date, to consider it important to pay honours to the victims of the Chernobyl disaster and to those who sacrificed their lives to relief its consequences, and to invite society to help the surviving victims and veterans of Chernobyl.
- To conduct â€˜prayers of fervent supplication for the deceased relief workers and victims of the accident, for the health of the surviving workers who relieved the consequences and for those who suffered from the accidentâ€™ in all Russian Orthodox churches on St Thomas Sunday, April 30 – the first Sunday after April 26.
The nuclear accident at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine on April 26th, 1986, had world-wide consequences, The effects were directly felt in central and western Europe but the brunt of the accident was born by the people living in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. The event was a strong reminder of the real threat of nuclear warfare.
We send this letter to you as persons involved in the environmental engagement of the churches to whom you belong. We would like to know from you, if your church or groups within your church have already plans to mark the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. We share with you the decision by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church as an invitation to also holding prayer services on April 30th as a sign of our common concern and fellowship. Almost twenty years after the disaster, people affected still need support and assistance. This is especially true for children and youth in the region. The Geneva-based environmental non-governmental organisation Green Cross International made the proposal to ask in conjunction with the prayer services for an offering for the victims of the catastrophe. In case you have not already developed your own partnership with churches and groups in the area concerned, Green Cross International, but probably also other charities in your home country, could channel this support to the people affected through their partners on the ground.
Please respond to this letter as soon as possible and share with us your comments, suggestions and especially information on your plans concerning April 30th.
Yours in Christ,
Martin Robra, World Council of Churches
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