Foto: Christophe Licoppe/European Union

"Fredsbyggande bör också vara en högsta prioritet för EU"

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Den 27 januari medverkade Åsa Nyström, biskop i Luleå stift, i ett möte mellan EU-kommissionens vice ordförande och religiösa samfundsledare. Mötet ägde rum i Bryssel och biskopen talade bland annat om kyrkornas engagemang i mottagandet av ukrainska flyktingar.

Åsa Nyström, biskop i Luleå stift, deltog vid ett möte med fokus på utmaningar i relation till kriget i Ukraina för oss som lever i Europa. Hon var där som representant för Europeiska kyrkokonferensen (KEK).

Our parish deacons meet these refugees who are now realizing that it may take a long time before they can go back. What will happen after March 2025 when the temporary protection no longer can be prolonged?

Åsa Nyström, biskop

I anförandet, som finns att läsa nedan, tog hon bland annat upp frågor om de stängda gränserna till Ryssland och vad det betytt för samverkan kring urfolksfrågor och klimat. Hon talade också om kyrkornas engagemang i mottagande av ukrainska flyktingar och deras situation i det svenska samhället.

– I allt detta blir det ännu mer uppenbart att kyrkorna behöver vara en kraft för fred, både lokalt och globalt. Vi måste alla ta denna utmaning på allvar. Militärt stöd och sanktioner är viktiga, men fredsbyggande bör också vara en högsta prioritet för EU, avslutade Åsa Nyström sitt anförande.

Yahya Pallavicini och Åsa Nyström. Foto: Christophe Licoppe/European Union

Kristna, judar och muslimer representerade

Förutom Åsa Nyström deltog sju andra representanter från olika religioner och religiösa samfund, ett antal observatörer, medföljande och tjänstemän i EU-kommissionen.


  • Bernhard Felmberg, militärbiskop i den protestantiska kyrkan i Tyskland (EKD)
  • Pinchas Goldschmidt, tidigare överrabbi av Moskva och ordförande för Conference of European Rabbis
  • Antoine Hérouard, ärkebiskop av Dijon och ordförande för kommissionen för sociala frågor vid the Bishops' Conference of the European Union (COMECE)
  • Christian Krieger, pastor och ordförande för Conference of European Churches (CEC)
  • Nifon of Târgoviște, metropolit i den rumänska ortodoxa kyrkan
  • Åsa Nyström, biskop i Luleå stift
  • Yahya Pallavicini, imam och ordförande för Comunità Religiosa Islamica Italiana (COREIS)
  • Cyril Vasil', ärkebiskop i den grekisk-katolska kyrkan i Slovakien
Deltagarna i mötet mellan EU-kommissionens vice ordförande och företrädare för religiösa trossamfund. Foto: Christophe Licoppe/European Union

Läs biskop Åsa Nyströms anförande

Thank you, Mr Schinas!

The diocese I lead is in the north of Sweden, in the Arctic region. This is a part of the country where forestry, mining and high-tech industry are big employers. It is also a part with a small population, well spread. Most of the people live along the coast but many also live in rural areas, where people have to travel for many hours to have access to basic health care and other social services.

Right now, the green industry is growing fast, you may have heard about the new discovery of essential earth metals, but the growth mostly favours the cities along the coast. There is an optimism in the area, due to this expansion of the Green industry.

At the same time, many people are worried about their personal economy. Energy prices are rising because of the war, inflation makes everything more expensive and it is difficult to plan for the future. This strikes hard in groups with small resources. They feel left behind, and they are.

In spite of the green industry, many in the younger generations are fearing for their future. They saw the world’s governments come together to combat covid, and now to support Ukraine, but the ambitions and willingness to do the same in the face of the climate crisis is nowhere near that level of commitment. So many young people are losing hope and trust in a sustainable future.

When the Russian invasion of Ukraine started, the Nordic bishops in the Barents Church Council met to assess the situation. This council consists of nine member dioceses in northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia from the Lutheran and Orthodox churches. It has been working for over 25 years and together these Churches have cooperated in the north – in people-to-people encounters, work to combat climate change and advocating for indigenous people’s rights.

The Russian invasion radically changed the possibilities for us to work together. The Nordic bishops issued a joint statement, where we condemned the military aggression and put the work of the council on hold.

All other organizations that work in the Arctic region had to do the same. Cooperation between regional councils, communities and universities across the Russian border have stopped. Research projects have been unable to continue.

This also means that the Sámi, an indigenous people living in our four countries, and moving between, have been prevented from travelling across the Russian border.  Families are split and friends can no longer meet. For many years, Russian Sámi have attended meetings and cooperated with Sámi from the other three countries, but now it’s impossible and they are sadly separated.

Some of the research projects that have been prevented from continuing, concern climate change in the Barents region. This is alarming since the temperature rises four times faster in the Arctic than in the south of Europe. In order to understand and make decisions about ways to counteract the global warming it is essential to follow the effects of the climate change in the Arctic, across the borders.

The war in Ukraine, Sweden’s NATO application and the competition for natural resources and trade routes in the new open waters in the Barents region, because of the melting ice, have led to a higher level of militarization in the northern part of Sweden. Civil defense has become a growing part of the cooperation between the regional authorities and the churches and civil society. We all feel that this is a serious situation. Still, the attitudes to the war haven’t changed. The support for helping and defending Ukraine against the aggression from Russia is strong, even if it has costs for our own daily lives.

My diocese has seen an influx of Ukrainian refugees, not as many as predicted early in the war, but still noticeable. Our parish deacons meet these refugees who are now realizing that it may take a long time before they can go back. What will happen after March 2025 when the temporary protection no longer can be prolonged? They are also suffering from the very low economic aid from the Swedish Migration Authority in a time when prices are rising real fast. The level of economic support is still the same as 30 years ago and there has been no compensation for inflation.

The influx of refugees also affects the small orthodox diaspora congregations in the diocese, where some consist of both Russians and Ukrainians and where their parish life has been strongly affected by the war.

In all this, it becomes even more evident that the Churches need to be a force for peace, both locally and globally. We all need to take this challenge seriously. Military support and sanctions are important, but peacebuilding should also be a top priority to the EU.