The 2022 European Prayer Breakfast  in Brussels

The 2022 European Prayer Breakfast in Brussels

Around 480 politicians and other Christian leaders gathered for a  prayer breakfast at the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday morning.

This gathering demonstrates a combination of seriousness and a bold expression of faith, which is an encouraging signal of the natural role of Christianity in all life, including politics.

At this year’s event in Brussels there was, of course, mention of the military action in Ukraine. One of the most powerful moments of the prayer breakfast was when a Ukrainian and a Russian pastor from St Petersburg embraced each other and gave their testimonies about how only God’s love can reconcile despite the events taking place in the world, when people are sowing distrust, hatred and even death.

The Deputy Secretary General of NATO, the Romanian Social Democrat Mircea Geoană, was one of the speakers at the breakfast. He spoke about the centrality of prayer in his life and in resolving the military conflict taking place in Europe, despite the fact that he himself is a representative of the military bloc.

The tone of his speech was influenced by the nature of the meeting – surely at strategic meetings at NATO headquarters he would have used different words. But there was nevertheless a striking closeness and devotion to the Bible, to Jesus and a conviction in the power of prayer in the group of people of mixed national and denominational backgrounds who spoke and led the prayer.

While Christian leaders in Brussels are praying together for the Christian faith to become a unifying center for all aspects of life and society, the Ukrainian authorities are ready to encroach on what is sacred – the canonical Ukrainian Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, the main stronghold of the Orthodox. There are plans to ban its activities and take away its property – including churches, valuable icons and monasteries with thousands of years of history. On 2 December, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made an unimaginable statement: the activity of the second largest church in the country, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, might be banned. The politician explained that the authorities might take such a decision because of the affiliation of its leadership with the Moscow Patriarchate, “the center of Russian influence” abroad.

He also gave assurances that sanctions would be imposed against all priests found collaborating with their spiritual brothers in Russia and that the charter of the religious organization would be checked for compliance with national legislation.

By these and other decisions, we guarantee Ukraine’s spiritual independence.

In other words, work with “saboteurs in cassocks” was put on stream. The results of these inspections were widely reported in the Ukrainian media, and there was even a petition on the website of the Ukrainian president demanding a complete ban on the activities of the UOC. This was the first time the authorities dared to interfere directly in the activities of the church.

Perhaps it is time for politicians not only in Brussels, but also in Stockholm and other capitals who have not yet held prayer breakfasts, to hold such events at a time like this, when the good news of the gospel is needed more than ever. The Kingdom of God is bigger than political parties and national boundaries.

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