Patriarch Kirill: christianity is the most persecuted and oppressed religion
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia is concerned with the risk of Christianity to be extinct in the Middle East.
According to the Department of External Church Relations, the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Russia addressed this topic during his meeting with Greek Defense Minister Panagiotis Kammenos on Thursday.
‘I have information about atrocities committed against Christians, in the north Iraq in particular. I happened to visit those areas and saw many churches and monasteries. The city of Mosul alone had 45 churches. Now there is not a single one. This is a disaster. Who will build churches in the city? Four hundred churches were destroyed in Syria’, the Patriarch was quoted by the Interfax news agency.
If the situation prevails, there would be no Christian presence in the Middle East, he added, and among other things, this could lead to a greater degree of radicalization in the Islamic community.
‘The presence of the Christian minority was a factor that, in a good sense, brought tolerance and good relations between Christians and Muslims,’ Patriarch Kirill explained.
‘Christianity today is the most persecuted and oppressed religion. We see this in Nigeria, Pakistan, and North Africa. Even in some European countries people are banned from wearing a cross in the office; invoking the necessity of tolerance, the words “winter holiday” are used instead of Christmas; Easter is not called Easter, but a “spring festival”, noted the Patriarch.