2013-01-22 10:01:00

Patriarch Kirill expresses anxiety about Christians in M. East

Moscow, January 22, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has once again rung alarm bells about the rights of Christians in Arab countries.

"The Russian Church constantly, and at every level, raises the issue of the position of Christians in the Middle East and of the dangerous tendency for Christian presence in those countries to weaken," the Patriarch said during a meeting in Moscow on Monday with Lebanese President Michel Sulayman.

Sulayman received an international prize for contributing to the unity of Orthodox peoples during a ceremony at Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior on Monday evening.

The Patriarch called for "the earliest possible end to hostilities in Syria, for conciliation in that region, and for sustained Christian presence in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa." He assured Sulayman that the Russian Church would "make every effort" to achieve that.

Sulayman said there would be no democracy in the Middle East and extremist trends were inevitable there if the interests of minorities are ignored.