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.
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.
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.
The European Council of Religious Leaders will hold its annual meeting from June 21-23 in Moscow for the first time. As was proposed by the Russian Orthodox Church, the ECRL will consider Human Rights and Traditional Values in Europe.
The ECRL is one of the four regional interreligious councils under the World Conference of Religions for Peace. It unites authoritative religious leaders in Europe including Christians, Jews and Muslims and provides for the participation of other traditional religions represented in the continent. Founded in Oslo in 2002, it consists of 45 members.
His Holiness Patriarch IRINEJ of Serbia will read the Paschal Epistle of the Serbian Orthodox Church 2011 on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at noon, at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade.
We call all representatives of media to accredit their journalists and cameramen no later than Tuesday, April 19 , 2011 at 2 P.M. Applications for an accreditation which contain a list of journalists and cameramen attending this event should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Subsequent applications will not be accepted.
Information Service of the SOC
The spokesperson of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, Father Dositheos Anağnostopulos, has said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan saved the future of the patriarchate by offering Turkish citizenship to a number of archbishops in 2009. In an interview with the Star daily, Anağnos-topulos said there were 12 archbishops on the patriarchate's Spiritual Board at the time. "Most of [those archbishops] are very old. In order to become a member of this board, one has to be a Turkish citizen. If the patriarch dies one day, it seemed unlikely that a new patriarch would be elected from the board [due to the members' age]. This danger has now passed. The prime minister attended a luncheon on Büyükada in August 2009 ... and said the problem with the Spiritual Board will be overcome if archbishops applied to become Turkish citizens. He assured us that applicants would be granted citizenship," the spokesperson stated.