Swedes want to exclude Russian Church from Christian Council


Northern Europe


beeld EPA, Sergei Ilnitsky

Across the world, organisations cut ties with Russian affiliated groups in reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Now, some Swedish Christian Council (SKR) members want to exclude the Russian Orthodox Church. "Their actions are a betrayal of Christ."

The initiative comes, among others, from Lars Gunther. He is a pastor of the Swedish Protestant Equmenia (Uniting) Church in the city of Hestra and a member of the Equmenia Church board. Gunther has contacted the chairman of the board with a request to raise the issue of the Russian Orthodox Church's membership in Sweden's Christian Council board meeting. He hopes that the Equmenia Church's church board will pursue the issue within the framework of SKR. There are about 30 member churches and observers within Sweden's Christian Council with approximately 6.5 million members.

According to Gunther, it is a reasonable ambition. "We are in a situation where the Russian Orthodox Church is involved in Vladimir Putin's inner circle at least as much as some evangelicals have been with Donald Trump", Gunther says to the Swedish daily Dagen. "We have distanced ourselves from those people's actions as well. The actions of the Russian Orthodox Church are a betrayal of Christ."

Intelligence service

Stefan Swärd, a pastor who previously was the chairman of the Evangelical Free Church and the Swedish Evangelical Alliance, thinks the ROC should be excluded from the Council as well. He says so in his blog and on his Facebook page. Magnus Jacobsson, who is an MP for the Swedish Christian Democrats, commented on that Facebook post, saying that the removal of the ROC from the Council would be "a very wise move as everyone knows that the Russian Orthodox Church, which is affiliated with Moscow, is part of the FSB's intelligence service."


However, the SKR's Secretary-General Sofia Camnerin disagrees with the proposal. She claims that not the whole Russian Orthodox Church is loyal to Vladimir Putin. "I do not think that cutting relationships is the way to peace", she says to Dagen.



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