World Council of Churches Office of Communication|
150 route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
ON THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE VELVET REVOLUTION:
Ten years after the "velvet revolution" in the Czech Republic, the WCC general secretary’s visit is clearly set under the sign of reconciliation. Raiser has expressly requested that the programme should include a visit to the village of Lidice in central Bohemia, which was razed to the ground by the SS in 1942 in retaliation for the assassination attempt against the National Socialist Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich. More than 190 men were shot and over 300 women and children deported to concentration camps.
On Friday 19 November Raiser will also have a meeting with former dissidents. Czech dissidents have repeatedly complained that the WCC was too uncritical in its attitude during the communist regime in Czechoslovakia.
According to Raiser the important thing now is to overcome the heritage of the cold war and to strengthen ties with the Czech churches and church groups. During his five-day visit Raiser will meet representatives of all the WCC member churches in the Czech Republic as well as representatives of the Roman Catholic Church.
The WCC general secretary will be accompanied by his wife, Dr Elisabeth Raiser, and the WCC Europe Secretary, Alexander Belopopsky.
The programme is organised by the Ecumenical Council of Churches (ECC) in the Czech Republic, Donska 5/370, 10100 Prague, tel./fax: +422.214.171.124.21.28.
WCC member churches in the Czech Republic
The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 337, 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.