Archbishop of Canterbury spends time with Ukrainian refugees in Romania

Posted Mar 14, 2023

[Archbishop of Canterbury] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has been listening and spending time with Ukrainian refugees who are being supported by the UNHCR Refugee Community Support Centre in Romania.

Welby’s visit March 13 to the refugee centre in Bucharest is part of a trip to three cities that Welby is making this week. He also is visiting Istanbul, Turkey, and Chisinau in Moldova. In all three cities, Welby is having meetings with Orthodox, Christian and Jewish faith leaders to discuss issues of common interest, particularly the impact of the war in Ukraine on these three countries within the region.

In Bucharest, the United Nations works with other organizations such as The Salvation Army and World Vision to help hundreds of refugees with housing, education and practical advice, as well as giving them pastoral support. On his visit to the camp the archbishop also saw how the food and clothing bank worked.

In Bucharest on March 14, Welby met Patriarch Daniel of the Romanian Orthodox Church, the chief rabbi of Romania, Romanian government officials and the Romanian Royal Family. In the afternoon, he was scheduled to be with the Rev. Nevsky Everett and congregation members of the Church of the Resurrection. He is also spending time with members of the Roma community.

Following Romania, Archbishop Welby travels to Moldova in the evening March 15. It will be his first visit to the country and he will meet His Eminence Father Metropolitan Petru, archbishop of Chisinau, metropolitan of Bessarabia and exarch of the Plains.

Over last weekend, Welby was in Turkey and attended a memorial service for Metropolitan John Zizioulas; met with Archbishop of Constantinople Bartholomew; preached at the Anglican Christ Church, and attended a Celebration Mass for the 10th anniversary of Roman Catholic Pope Francis’ election.

“This is a trip where I am listening and learning from the Eastern Orthodox Church leaders and others about their concerns for the region and the instability on their borders,” Welby said. ” am joining them in praying for peace in Ukraine and our hope for a better future.

“Yesterday’s visit to Ukrainian families displaced by war, allowed me to see for myself the work the UNHCR is doing to support them. Two things struck me: the dignity with which people are treated here and the generosity of Romanian people. It was heart-warming. It was a privilege to meet Ukrainian refugees, to hear their stories and to meet the people who are working with them to create a safe-harbor.

“It was also a real pleasure, as always, to spend time with the chaplaincies and their congregations in the Diocese of Europe.”