World Congress of Families

Activists beyond Confessional Borders: The «Conservative Ecumenism» of the World Congress of Families

This article is devoted to the history of the World Congress of Families (WCF) and its interaction with Russian partners. The article begins with a story about Allan Carlson’s trip to Moscow in 1995, where as a result of a meeting with sociologists, the idea of creating a WCF was born. The author then analyses the cooperation between the WCF and the Russian Orthodox Church as an example of so‑called “conservative ecumenism,” which partly replaces classical, more liberal ecumenism, such as that presented by the World Council of Churches.

Discussing the Concept of «Conservative Ecumenism»

The article continues the discussion of the concept of “conservative ecumenism”, proposed by the author in 2017 to describe conservative Christian alliances in defense of traditional values. Main debates have revolved around the use of the term “ecumenism” in the case of such alliances. The article proposes minimal criteria of being “ecumenical” — those that the author calls “ecumenical consciousness”. The question of whether striving for Christian unity is a necessary criterion of ecumenism is considered.

Two Ecumenisms: Conservative Christian Alliances as a New Form of Ecumenical Cooperation