2014-01-29 10:01:00

Christian exodus from Syria will become a civilization disaster for the whole Middle East - Matviyenko

Moscow, January 29, Interfax - Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko and Patriarch of Antioch and All the East have discussed the situation in Syria and its influence on Christians in the Middle East as a whole.

Disappearance of the Christian Church from the region is unacceptable, and so is the Christians' exodus from Syria, which would have most negative consequences for the entire Middle East as a whole, the speaker said.

"The prospect of the Christian exodus from Syria as a result of the intra-Syrian conflict will become, without an exaggeration, a civilization disaster not only for this country but for the whole Middle East, given that Christians live in Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon. Our country's efforts are aimed, among other things, at preventing this sort of disaster," Matviyenko said on Tuesday.

The Christian exodus as a result of the Syrian conflict might lead to "a fatal transformation of the region's historical character," the speaker said. Up to half a million Christians had to leave their historical homelands as a result of the Syrian conflict, she said.

Also, one should not expect fast results from Geneva II, which discusses the intra-Syrian resolution, Matviyenko said.

"Geneva II is just a first step in the search for a peaceful resolution. There will be a very long and hard work of continuing dialogue and searching for a peaceful crisis settlement. For its part, Russia will continue to increase its efforts in supporting the Geneva process and to seek involvement of all healthy forces," Matviyenko said.

Patriarch John X thanked Russian leadership for its principled stance on Syria and for Moscow's consistency in calling for the Syrian conflict to be resolved by the Syrian people only, without outside interference.

The relations between the Russian Orthodox and Antioch Churches have a centuries-long history, John X also said.

"These relations were established when Russia adopted Christianity. We are inseparably linked, our relationship has gone through centuries and various stages, having passed the test of time," the patriarch said.