Eastern patriarchs deplore regional violence
The Daily Star
BEIRUT: The patriarchs of Eastern churches Tuesday deplored raging violence in Iraq and Syria that has caused massive displacement of people, calling to maintain the Christian presence in region’s war-torn countries and preserve their lands.
In a statement released at the opening of their Holy Synod in Lady of Balamand Convent in north Lebanon, the prelates also called for safeguarding democratic norms and political freedoms in Lebanon by ensuring the quick election of a new president and reactivating constitutional institutions, especially the Parliament and Cabinet, to enable the country to face the pressing economic, social and security challenges.
“The patriarchs prayed for the people of Mosul and north Iraq and urged the world to prevent Iraq’s disintegration and save its people from the scourge of a devastating war,” the statement said. “They also called upon the international community to preserve Iraq’s civilizations, including the deep-rooted Christian civilization, and encouraged their sons to cling on to their land and not give it up under the pressures of current conditions.”
Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, Melkite Gregorius III Lahham, Syriarc Catholic Patriarch Ignatius III Younan, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem , Greek Orthodox Patriarch John Yazigi attended the conference.
The patriarchs demanded the release and safe return of all kidnap victims, be they civilians, clerics, or nuns, notably bishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi, who went missing in Syria 14 months ago.
In addition to the patriarchs, the synod was attended by more than 40 bishops representing the different churches of Antioch and the Orient.
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(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)
More needs to be done especially for those who are kidnapped.
At the beginning of the 21st century Christians constituted 6–7 percent of the region’s population: less than 1% in Turkey, 3% in Iraq, 12% in Syria, 39% in Lebanon, 6% in Jordan, 2.5% in Israel/Palestine and 15–20% in Egypt.
Only Russia Defends Eastern Christians – Russian Orthodox Church
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk
Russia remains the only consistent advocate of Christians in the Middle East, where "Christian communities are being exposed to genuine genocide," Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said in an interview with RIA Novosti Tuesday.
"Western countries, which were helping Christians in the region for centuries, have denied them support and almost officially recommended them to leave the region and move to other countries,” said Hilarion, who oversees the Russian Orthodox Church's external relations.
“I was told this by, for example, Maronites [members of one of the Syriac Eastern Catholic Churches] who have been living in Syria and Lebanon for centuries. They were disappointed by France, which had been traditionally supporting them but is refusing to defend them now. Our country has remained the sole defender of the Christian presence in the region. Many Christians remaining in flashpoints are relying on [Russia],” he said.
Christians are currently facing unprecedented persecution in the Middle East, he stressed.
“Christian communities in some countries are being exposed to genuine genocide” because of the spread of terrorism and extremism on religious grounds, Metropolitan Hilarion said.
“[The Russian Orthodox Church] on a regular basis receives reports on the destruction and desecration of Christian churches, kidnapping of clerics, beheading of Christians, mass graves of killed Christians being found, exiles of Christian families from their homes …, shelling of Christian residential areas," he said.
Extremists aim to completely expel Christians from their places of residence by means of terror or physical destruction, the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church said.
Developed countries have to use political instruments for resolve this crisis, Hilarion added.
Three years have passed since the European Parliament signed a resolution titled the “Situation of Christians in the Context of Freedom of Religion,” but a mechanism for monitoring compliance of freedom of conscience in the world was not created, the Hilarion said.
“International institutions do not react to violations of rights of the Syrian civil population, including Christians. I would even say that actions and statements of representatives of some Western powers rather contribute to further polarization of society," Metropolitan Hilarion said.
He urged all political forces to “approach what is happening in Syria with responsibility” and base their actions on the interests of the Syrian people.
Patriarch of Antioch thanks Russian Church for defending Christians in Middle East
His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Great Antioch and All the East sent a message to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, in which he expressed his gratitude for the efforts that the Russian Orthodox Church makes to defend Christians in the Middle East.
In his letter, His Beatitude Patriarch John X mentioned the celebration marking the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism Russia, which was held in Moscow, Kiev and Minsk with the participation of the Primates and representatives of all Local Orthodox Churches, saying in particular, “I was… so happy to see the brothers gathering about the holy Divine Altar and praising the Author of Life, Our Lord Jesus Christ who blessed Russia and the Russian People and granted this great nation all his heavenly blessings to be a true and sincere witness of Christendom. The baptism of Russia is not only an historical event, but it is also a concrete and lived reality that all people and nations can “come and see” (John 1:46) and praise the Lord Jesus Christ.”
According to His Beatitude, “with deep feeling of respect and appreciation” he read the Statement by Heads and Representatives of the Local Orthodox Churches Assembled for the Celebration of the 1025th Anniversary of the Baptism of Russia. The main theme of the joint statement is the situation of Christians in the Middle East.
“I consider it my duty to raise an Antiochian thankful voice to support and share every word of the released statement,” Patriarch John’s letter reads. “Truly, Christians are persecuted and damaged in the Middle East, in the land of Jesus Christ. The salvation of Syria and of all the Middle East comes, as mentioned, through the logic of dialogue and peaceful political settlement. Extremism, fundamentalism and blind radicalism are the most great dangers which threaten not only the Christian presence, but the existence of the States and the peace of all the nations.”
His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Great Antioch and All the East expressed his wish to pay a brotherly visit to the Russian Orthodox Church and said in conclusion of his letter, “May Lord, Jesus Christ, the King of Peace give us His Divine Peace, grant you, the Russian Synod and the Russian People His heavenly blessings and bless the efforts of all the orthodox world to settle the peace in the Middle East and in all the world redeemed by the precious blood of our Savior.”
Look at how hard these countries are falling to dust as the Christian numbers to.
Not to mention, the number of Muslims mercilessly slaughtered by extremists has got to have hit over a million by now too.
The middle east could be, or could have been, a nice place- depending how optimistic you are.
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@bigwinnman; this is not a religion section thread.
Actually, it's in one's perspective. You and some others may not think it belongs in the religion section and others may. We'll leave it here.
Originally Posted by YOSS
On a side note ... You are right about the Sudan woman thread, although the incident is definitely religious oriented, it may have better suited in the Social and Economic section. Having said that, it has been in the Religious section for some time with no complaints so it to will remain in this section.
"No need to say more...I, for one, do not care one iota about being politically correct, I do call it as I see it without no fear, and those who get their feeling hurt by such truth I say to them:
" GO CRY ME A RIVER" "-Beirutilibnani
The Right To Do Something Does Not Mean It Is Right. (William Safire)
Every piece of this is man's bullshit. They call this war a cloud over the land. But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say 'Shit, it's raining!'
Some people never learn. Instead of complaining why don't they comment on the content of the thread?
Originally Posted by bigwinnman
Since I never learn, why would you want my comments?
Originally Posted by lebanese1984