Statement of the communication service of the Department for External
Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate concerning Syria
Moscow, May 28, 2013
For many decades Syria was distinguished by the atmosphere of interfaith
peace and agreement. Various communities of Christians, Muslims and Jews
lived in good neighborly relations and mutual understanding. With the
outbreak of armed resistance in this country the situation of religious
minorities has worsened greatly.
It is known that many radical extremists from different countries are
taking part in acts of terrorism in Syria and they set themselves the
task of total cleansing of the Middle East region from non-Muslims. As a
result Christians in Syria are faced with persecutions the scale of
which is becoming more menacing. According to Metropolitan Isaac of
Apamia (The Orthodox Church of Antioch), Syrian Christians see that
"after the arrival of militants the unbelievable is happening": Churches
are destroyed, clergymen are kidnapped, Christians are forcibly driven
from their homes and killed.
In April this year, another Hierarch of the Orthodox Church of Antioch,
Bishop Luke of Seidnaya, told the media that 140,000 Christians had been
banished from their homes and at the same time Christian churches were
systematically destroyed. "They are killing people. A human life is of
no value for them," noted the Hierarch.
On April 22, 2013, militants of an extremist organization kidnapped
Syrian Christian Hierarchs: Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo (the
Patriarchate of Antioch) and Metropolitan Mar Gregory Johanna Ibrahim
(the Syriac Church) and their driver, a deacon, was murdered. The
Metropolitans are still in captivity.
On May 11, 2013, it became known that militants had destroyed the
ancient Orthodox Monastery of Holy Prophet Elias in vicinity of the town
of Al-Qusayr: they plundered the monastery, took away the church
vessels, blew up the bell-tower, and destroyed the chancel and the font.
The Russian Orthodox Church definitely condemns any violation and
attempts of provoking interfaith strife in Syria. The Patriarchate of
Moscow expresses its solidarity with the suffering brothers and
sisters—Syrian Christians—and expresses its hope that the international
community will devote due attention to such outrageous events.
Large-scale and glaring violations of human rights must not be concealed
but must be actively resisted.
29 / 05 / 2013