Statement by Heads & Reps of Local Orthodox Churches @ 1025 Anniv.
Statement by Heads and Representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches
Assembled for the Celebration of the 1025th Anniversary of the Baptism of
We, heads and representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches, who have come
to Moscow on the occasion of the celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia at the invitation of Patriarch Kirill of
Moscow and All Russia, consider it our duty to raise our voice in defense of our
Christian brothers subjected to persecution for their faith in various parts of
the world today.
Every day thousands of believers in Christ are being tortured and driven out
of their native lands; many people meet their death.
News about tortures and murders are coming from Nigeria, Pakistan,
Afghanistan, and India. In Kosovo, religious shrines are being defiled, many
churches have been destroyed, and many people are deprived of the opportunity to
visit the graves of their relatives and to pray to God in the land of their
The situation in the Middle East causes deep concern. Many countries of this
region are swept with a wave of violence and terror, with Christians falling
victims to it. Libya, where there are almost no Christians left, is breaking
into warring tribes. Terrorist acts go on in Iraq, where one tenth of the former
one and a half million Christians has left. The situation in Egypt is getting
more and more alarming as the conflict there has entered into another bloody
phase and the Christian population flees the country in a mass exodus. Grief and
sufferings have befallen families of thousands of ordinary people. As a rule,
the first to suffer from unfolding conflicts are the most unprotected groups of
the population including ethnic and religious minorities.
In September 2010, the first meeting of the Orthodox Primates of the Middle
East region took place in Cyprus. The Primates expressed their deep concern over
the situation in this region and the future of Christians in the area. The same
concern was expressed at the similar meetings in Jordan in August 2011, in
Constantinople in September 2011, and in Cyprus in March 2012. The statement in
support of suffering Christians in the Middle East was adopted at the meeting of
the heads and representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches, held in Moscow in
The situation in Syria is particularly tragic today. In the heat of the
fratricidal war, Christians, as well as representatives of other religious
groups, are massacred, driven out of their native cities, towns and villages,
out of the places where they used to live for centuries in peace with people of
other religious traditions.
Paramilitary groups do not hesitate to use every possible means to achieve
their goals. Their radical members carry it too far in their crimes. Horrific
scenes of violence, public executions, humiliation against human dignity and
violation of human rights have become habitual. Abductions and murders often
committed for mercenary ends have become a common occurrence. Extremists do not
stop at insulting religious leaders who have always enjoyed respect in the
The world mass media, as well as many politicians, are silent about the
tragedy of Christians in the Middle East.
We express solidarity with His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Great Antioch
and All the East who could not share our joy of celebrations today since he has
to stay with his flock at the moment so difficult for them. Our prayers are with
him and our brothers in Christ who are being killed all day long (Rom.
We are grieving together with all the suffering people of Syria. We demand
that the outstanding Christian hierarchs of Syria – Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo
and Iskenderun and Syrian Jacobite Metropolitan Mar Gregory John Ibrahim of
Aleppo be immediately freed.
We make this appeal to all the warring sides and those who can make a
political impact on the situation: Stop the wave of violence and extermination
of civilians! Impose a moratorium on the military hostilities so that a basis
for peaceful settlement of civil conflicts could be worked out at the
negotiation table! Free the captured clergy and other civilians!
As servants of the Almighty God, we ardently pray to the Author of Peace, the
Lord Pantocrator that peace and love of brothers may be restored in the Middle
East, refugees may come back to their settlements as soon as possible, the
wounded may be healed and the innocent people who were killed may rest in peace.
May the Lord inspire all those involved in the hostilities with wisdom and the
good will to stop them!
Translation from Russian
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