2012-10-17 15:47:00

Metropolitan Hilarion calls on Catholics to act as united front to defend Christians

Moscow, October 17, Interfax - Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations, believes Orthodox and Catholic Christians should act together to defend Christians.

"I would like to use this opportunity to call on my brethren from the Catholic Church to create a united front to defend Christian faith in all countries where it is persecuted and oppressed," the metropolitan said at the Council of Bishops attended by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome on Tuesday.

"We see that supporters of militant secularism and atheism in Europe and America are trying to cause Christian faith to leave the life of society, banish Christian symbols, destroy the traditional Christian understanding of family and marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and question the very value of human life, from its birth to its natural end," Metropolitan Hilarion said.

He said the very existence of Christian churches is threatened in some parts of the world and "millions of Christians are suffering from cruel persecution" in some countries.

"In Iraq, where up to 1.5 million Christians lived several years ago, only 150,000 Christians are left, and the others have been killed or driven away. There is intensive persecution of Christians going on in Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, India, Indonesia, and other countries, both in the Middle East and in other regions," Metropolitan Hilarion said.

There is a humanitarian catastrophe going on in Syria, where "militant Islamists supported by some Western countries are trying to seize political power."

"In places where they have succeeded in that, Christians are persecuted and destroyed. The Christian communities of Syria and other countries of the Middle East are crying for help, while the Western media are ignoring these cries for help. As for politicians, they are turning a blind eye to this unprecedented persecution," Metropolitan Hilarion said.

It is Christians' duty is to keep calling on political leaders, international organizations, and the mass media, "reminding them of this humanitarian tragedy, which is unfolding in front of our eyes," he said.