Russian Orthodox Church Holy Synod’s statement on growing manifestations of Christianophibia in the world1. June 2011 - 12:31
This document was adopted by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church at its meeting on May 30, 2011 (Proceeding No. 51)
With profound concern the Russian Orthodox Church has taken reports coming from various countries in the world about recurring manifestations of Christianophobia. Christians have been subjected to persecution, becoming victims of intolerance and various forms of discrimination. The recent tragic events in Egypt's Giza on May 7 and 8, when during mass disorders Christian churches were set on fire and parishioners of the Coptic Church were killed, are only one chain in the link of such developments. Our brothers and sisters are killed, driven away from their homes, separated from their relatives and friends, deprived of the right to confess their religious beliefs and to bring up their children according to their faith. Regrettably, the manifestations of Christianophobia cannot be treated as occasional incidents: they have become a settled tendency in some parts of the world.
Russia opened an unprecedented exhibit of religious art pulled from across the country and abroad at Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery last week, in a show of Kremlin support for an Orthodox Church growing more powerful since the fall of Communism.
A member of gallery staff passes an exhibit at the Holy Russia exhibition at the Central House of Artists in Moscow. The exhibition, previously held at Paris' Louvre as part of a Russian-French cultural exchange, contains artefacts from the beginning of the spread of Christianity in Russia.
The domes of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Philip the Apostle in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, have been crowned with golden crosses. It is the only Russian church to have been built in the United Arab Emirates and in the whole of the Arabian Peninsula, and the only one to have been crowned with golden crosses, the Moscow Patriarchate said on its website.
On May 7-8 in Giza, two Coptic churches were set on fire by radical Muslims. Twelve people were killed and about 200 were injured. In this connection, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate's department for external church relations, made the following statement:
It is with deep sorrow that we in the Russian Orthodox Church took the report about the death of Egyptian Christians and setting fire to churches as a result of mass disorders on May 7 and 8, 2011, in Giza. We pray for the repose of the victims of this terrible tragedy and express condolences to their families and friends.
Knapsacks shouldered and bibles in hand, a group of Christian pilgrims from Indonesia, China and the United States trooped into the remains of a fourth-century church in ancient Philadelphia last month. Gazing up at the columns that tower over what is today the Turkish market town of Alasehir, the pilgrims listened as their Australian guide read from the Apostle John's letter to the early Christians of this city, one of the biblical Seven Churches of Revelation.
Patriarch Bartholomew I, center, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, conducted a service at the Sumela Monastery in Trabzon, northeastern Turkey, in 2010.