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Archbishop Welby praises generosity of Romanians who have hosted refugees

15 March 2023

He spent time with the UNHCR in Bucharest — part of his three-city trip this week

UNHCR

Archbishop Welby spends time with Ukrainian refugees at the UNHCR Refugee Community Support Centre in Bucharest, Romania

Archbishop Welby spends time with Ukrainian refugees at the UNHCR Refugee Community Support Centre in Bucharest, Romania

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has praised the “heart-warming generosity” of the Romanian people who have been supporting Ukrainian families displaced by the Russian war.

Archbishop Welby spent time with Ukrainian refugees at the UNHCR Refugee Community Support Centre in Bucharest, on Monday — part of his three-city trip this week.

In Bucharest, the UN works with organisations including the Salvation Army and World Vision to support hundreds of refugees with housing, education, and practical advice, besides offering pastoral support. On his visit to the camp, the Archbishop also visited a food and clothing bank.

Archbishop Welby said on Tuesday that the visit had “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 harbour.

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

UNHCRArchbishop Welby visits a clothing bank at the camp

On Tuesday morning, Archbishop Welby met the Romanian Orthodox Primate, the Chief Rabbi of Romania, Romanian government officials, and the Romanian royal family. On Tuesday afternoon, he spent time with Fr Nevsky Everett and members of the congregation of the Church of the Resurrection, as well as members of the Roma community.

He was due to travel to Moldova on Wednesday evening. This will be his first visit to the country, where he is due to meet Metropolitan Petru, Archbishop of Chișinău, Metropolitan of Bessarabia, and Exarch of the Plains.

Archbishop Welby had travelled to Bucharest from Turkey, where he had attended a memorial service for the Orthodox theologian and Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon at the weekend. He also met the Ecumenical Patriarch; preached at Christ Church, Istanbul, an Anglican chaplaincy; and attended a celebration mass for the tenth anniversary of Pope Francis’s election (Comment, 10 March).

Archbishop Welby said on Tuesday: “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. I am joining them in praying for peace in Ukraine and our hope for a better future.”

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