Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya to deliver keynote at European churches' conference in Estonia

  • 2023-06-09
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will be the keynote speaker at the general assembly of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) to be held in Tallinn Creative Hub in Estonia from June 14 to June 20.

Tsikhanouskaya's keynote speech on the theme "What can Churches offer in European society" is to take place at 4 p.m. on June 15 and it can be streamed live.

Tsikhanouskaya is a Belarusian opposition leader and the head of the united opposition's transition government. She gained international attention in 2020 when she ran as an independent candidate in the Belarusian presidential elections against long-time dictator Alexander Lukashenko and winning the elections, according to independent observers. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, Tsikhanouskaya restructured the leadership of the opposition movement, forming the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus.

In addition, keynote speakers at the general assembly of the Conference of European Churches include Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and German sociologist Hartmut Rosa.

The general assembly, which takes place every five years, is being held in Tallinn for the first time and brings together over 300 representatives from churches across Europe, including several church leaders. This year's theme for the assembly is "Shaping the Future under God's Blessing."

The general assembly of the Conference of European Churches is an important form of prayer, fellowship, and cooperation for European churches, bringing them together in an ecumenical spirit to shape the future of Europe.

The general assembly is hosted by the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church.

CEC is a fellowship of 113 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic churches from across Europe, plus more than 40 national council of churches and organizations in partnership. CEC was founded in 1959, following World War II, to work for healing and peace. Together with its ecumenical partners, CEC represents over 380 million European citizens in the continent.

The main topics of discussion at the general assembly will be the role of churches in contemporary society and the work towards common peace and human rights, with a particular focus this year on the war in Ukraine. The assembly's website will provide live streams of many plenary sessions, keynote speeches, and the opening worship service from Tallinn's St. John's Church.