World Council of Churches Office of Communication
Press Release
150 route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
E-mail: media

14 February 2001

First visit to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by a WCC/CEC delegation since the political changes

For the first time since the political changes there, a delegation from the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC) is to visit the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser, general secretary of the WCC, and Rev. Dr Keith Clements, general secretary of CEC, will both be part of the six-member delegation visiting Belgrade and Novi Sad from 15 to 19 February.

"After years when relations have been strained and communication difficult, we want to close this chapter and concentrate on rebuilding," Raiser said, speaking shortly before the delegation left.

The delegation will seek information on the status of the Ecumenical Council of Churches in Yugoslavia and on questions of church-state relations. Another important topic of discussion will be new areas of cooperation between churches in Yugoslavia and the WCC and CEC.

The WCC/CEC delegation will meet with His Holiness Patriarch Pavle and other representatives of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Also on the programme for Belgrade are encounters with teaching staff and students at the theological faculty and with representatives of civil society.

In Novi Sad, the delegation wants to hear about the situation there from Protestant church leaders and from Bishop Irenej (Serbian Orthodox Church). A meeting is also planned with representatives of the Roman Catholic Church.

A discussion with government representatives has yet to be confirmed.

The members of the WCC/CEC delegation are:
Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser (WCC)
Rev. Dr Keith Clements (CEC)
Anne Glynn-Mackoul (USA), Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East
Rüdiger Noll (CEC)
Katerian Karkala-Zorbas (Greece), Church of Greece
Huibert van Beek (WCC)

For more information contact:
the Media Relations Office
tel.: (+41 22) 791 6153 (office);
e-mail: media
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The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 342, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.