World Council of Churches Office of Communication|
150 route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
First visit to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by a WCC/CEC delegation since the political changes
"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:
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.