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Russian Orthodox Church calls for end to Christians’ persecution

ICC Note: It is becoming more apparent that persecution of Christians is becoming a global burden as Russian Orthodox church details the events of the need to stop global persecution of Christians.

06/29/2011 Russia(The Voice of Russia)The global community should develop effective mechanisms for protection and support of Christianity, the Russian Orthodox Church believes, since  it looks like the second persecution of Christians is happening in the world today.

According to the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, 75% of all religious persecution in the world is against Christians.

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“At present about 100 million Christians are persecuted in many countries. It is obvious that Christians are becoming the most persecuted religious community in the world.”

The most difficult situation is in the countries of the Middle East. Thus, Metropolitan Hilarion says, a Coptic Christian church was burnt down in the Egyptian city of Alexandria on January 1, 2011. In March there were armed brawls between Muslims and Christians in several Egyptian cities, Cairo included. A similar situation exists in Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan. However, we should not blame Islam for the escalation of tension, the Metropolitan Hilarion said.

“Islam is a peaceful religion and the Koran preaches  respect for people of other confessions, in particular, Christians and Judaists. The persecution we are witnessing today does not stem from adherents of moderate Islam but from radical groups that also make other Muslims’ life difficult.

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A political community, which does not think about ordinary people’s suffering in pursuit of its own interests and ambitions, plays a big role in stirring up inter-confessional conflicts. A good example is the situation in Kosovo. The forceful separation of that land from Serbia has destabilized the religious situation in that region, Metropolitan Ilarion said.

“Kosovo is a primordial Serbian land and the cradle of Serbian Orthodoxy. With time, as a result of various processes, Orthodox Christians became a minority there. There are towns there with no Christians at all because all of them had to leave their homes. There are thousands of Kosovo refugees. In other places Christians live as though under siege. I have met a woman who has to live in a Christian church which is guarded by international forces. She cannot leave the shelter and visit her own house where she has not been for four years.”

At a session of the Holy Synod late in May, the Russian Orthodox Church adopted a document strongly criticizing the growing Christianophobia inthe world.

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Each case of violence and persecution of believers should become a subject for wide international discussion and even legal proceedings.

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