26 May 2008, 12:24
The Moscow Patriarchate's representative in Europe concerned with oppression of Christians in Islamic world
Brussels, May 26, Interfax - Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church to the European International Organizations Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and all Austria urges to protects interests of Christian population in Islamic countries, the Representation's press-service has reported to Interfax-Religion.
Bishop Hilarion named Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia and Philippines among the countries where Christians were persecuted when the bishop was speaking at the European encounter Shared Values for a Changing Europe - Contributions of Cultures and Religions in Rovereto, Italy.
"Kidnapping and murders of Christian clerics have become the reality of every day life in Iraq. Converting into Christianity may result in death penalty in Afghanistan. There is no Christian church in Saudi Arabia," the Moscow Patriarchate representative stated.
Speaking about Europe, Bishop Hilarion drew participants' attention to Kosovo where the churches were violently destroyed and thousands of Christians, bereft of home, were consigned to exile.
According to him, the occupied part of Cyprus remains in tight situation as the churches are destroyed there and Christian population suffers badly.
The Moscow Patriarchate's representative pointed out that Turkey negated interests of Christian population and mentioned as an instance that Turkish authorities refused to open a theological school on Khalkis Island in spite of persistent requests of the Constantinople Patriarchate.
Bishop Hilarion hope that Christian-Islamic dialogue in compliance with words of Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia expressed in his letter to 138 Muslim leaders will not only work out theological questions but influence actual situation with Christian population in Islamic countries.
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