· The Patriarch of Moscow on the persecution of Christians ·
“The continued persecution of Christians in several countries of the world, especially in the Middle East, is a matter of our Church’s meticulous attention. Using violent measures, killing Christians for their confession of faith in Christ, extremists seek to physically eliminate Christianity itself, to break the existing interreligious balance....Hundreds of thousands of the faithful have become hostages to the extremely serious situation and have been forced to leave that region. There is a real tragedy taking place before our eyes, a real genocide of the Christian population in the lands from which the Good News spread to the whole world”. Speaking recently to the Bishops’ Conference of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Patriarch of Moscow, Kirill, touched on once again the dramatic persecution of Christians, especially in the Near East. The scale of the disaster is yet to be evaluated, according to the Orthodox Primate. It is being passed over in silence by much of the mass media, he said.
“The Russian Church,” Kirill stated, “aware of her responsibility in the task of protecting Christians in the Middle East, has given manifold help to the suffering brothers and sisters. Our calls to defend Christians is voiced at various international events and forums”. He also explained that the suffering Christians of the Patriarchate of Antioch has been given all possible material support by the Russian Orthodox Church and public organizations, concluding that “Christians in the Middle East see in our Church today and in Russia a defender of their interests. And we should not forget our duty to do all that is possible to preserve the Christian presence in the Middle East”.
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