In 2002 Justin Welby was made a Canon of Coventry Cathedral, where he jointly led its international reconciliation work. During this time he worked extensively in Africa and the Middle East. Archbishop Justin has had a passion for reconciliation and peace-making ever since. He was installed as Archbishop of Canterbury in 2013.
The Archbishop visited Ukraine from 30 November to 2 January 2022. On his last day, as well as visiting mass graves and several other places in Kyiv, he found time to give a five minute interview to the BBC Today Programme on Radio 4 which is included in the audio below.
On the Archbishop’s website he is quoted as saying:
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an act of evil. Being in Irpin and Bucha today has made my conviction of that even stronger. War unleashes the forces of hell and today I met people who have been through that hell.
“So often in places of war and conflict, the church suffers alongside the communities it serves. Today I met heroic priests, seminarians and local Christians who – even amidst their own agonising suffering through this brutal invasion – have loved, cared for and supported those around them. I feel today that I have touched the hem of Jesus’ cloak and seen his face in the faces of the people of Irpin and Bucha.
“It was a great honour to spend time with the faculty and students of the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary. I give thanks to God for their courageous faithfulness to Jesus Christ. They will remain in my prayers for a very long time – as will all the people of Ukraine…
“It has been a profound privilege to visit Ukraine. This visit has made me even more determined to stand in solidarity with the heroic people of this country. I have been so struck by the bravery, resilience and faith of the people I have met.
“But I have been struck too by the magnitude of evil that has been unleashed by this unjust invasion – which means that our resolve to stand with Ukrainians in their struggle for freedom must be even greater.
I appeal to the Church of England, the Anglican Communion and Christians around the world to pray for Ukraine this Advent – and for all people around the globe living through conflicts and injustices.”