Metropolitan Hilarion accuses West of leaving Egypt Christians in the lurch

Metropolitan Hilarion accuses West of leaving Egypt Christians in the lurch

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations has accused the West of failing to stand up for Egyptian Christians during recent violence against them and has slammed Western governments for putting economic interests before human life.

"Despite the unprecedented escalation of violence against Christians in Egypt early in October, not a single Western country has put any pressure on the provisional military authorities of that country or threatened economic sanctions," a statement from the Synodal Department for External Church Relations quoted Metropolitan Hilarion as saying during a ceremony at the university of Lugano, Switzerland, in which he had the degree of doctor honoris causa conferred on him.

Footage showing armored personnel carriers "crushing a peaceful Coptic demonstration and shooting at unarmed people remain outside the attention of politicians" though they shocked the entire world, he said. The Copts are a Christian ethnic group in Egypt.

"Neither has an appropriate assessment been made of the speech of the Egyptian minister of security, who denied that weapons had been used against demonstrating Copts, or of reports about falsifying the death toll and the character of injuries. It is the right of the churches to ask the governments of their countries how long this would go on. Why are economic interests more valuable for those countries than the lives of completely innocent people who get killed just because they believe in Christ?" he said.

He called for Christians to come together "to defend their brothers and sisters who are suffering in various regions."

"If this doesn't happen, we will look even less convincing in the eyes of this world. On the other hand, by defending our fellow believers, we will strengthen our positions, will become more unified, and hence closer to one another," he said.

Attacking the secularization of the West, he said Christians face "an imperative and seemingly unfeasible task to lead modern so-called post-Christian civilization out of its crisis."

"Christian Churches, primarily the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, and also the ancient Eastern Churches, should come together today and join forces. We have the imperative need to create a community of Churches following the apostolic tradition where we would together discuss problems and challenges of the modern world," the metropolitan said.

He also suggested setting up "joint informal information structures that would provide objective, fresh and verified information on events that are of determining significance for the future of the Church and the world."