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

15 January 1999


Following recent suggestions in some media that the Russian Orthodox Church has suspended its membership of the World Council of Churches (WCC), the situation, as confirmed to the WCC by the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) in Geneva, is as follows:

The Russian Orthodox Church has not suspended or withdrawn its membership of the World Council of Churches.

A meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, held 28-29 December in Moscow, heard a report on the WCC Eighth Assembly from the ROC delegates who attended. The report included details of the Assembly decision to set up a special commission to examine Orthodox concerns with and participation in the World Council of Churches.

The Holy Synod agreed that from now until the results of the special commission were known, the Russian Orthodox Church would suspend its active participation in the regular work of the WCC. In practice, this means elected Russian Orthodox Church members of the WCC executive committee and central committee would attend meetings but would not actively participate in general discussion or voting.

The Holy Synod agreed that the church would fully participate in the work of the special commission.

For more information contact:
John Newbury, Press & Information Officer
tel.: (+41 22) 791 6152 (office);
tel.: (+41 22) 369 3726 (home)
e-mail: media
Top of page

1999 press releases

WCC homepage

The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 336, 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.