Heads and representatives of the Eastern Orthodox religion have issued a statement in the defence of their “Christian brothers” throughout the world who are persecuted for their faith. The statement was published at the end of July and was made as heads and representatives of the Orthodox Church met to celebrate the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus. Nine primates of the local Orthodox churches led the festive prayer, which was held on Vladmir Hill in Moscow, on July 27. Representatives from six other local churches sent delegates to represent them.
The representatives said they considered it their duty to speak out and highlighted how many Christian believers are tortured or punished for their faith. The statement detailed how torture and murders are being reported in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Kosovo. The leaders called for an end to the death and persecution of people with a Christian faith.
During the statement, representatives from the Orthodox Church also spoke out against the violence in the Middle East and more specifically the ongoing war in Syria. In the statement, the representatives described the situation on Syria as “tragic” and explained how Christians – along with members of other religious groups – were being forced out of their homes, towns and villages, and how some are being massacred in cold blood.
The Eastern Orthodox Church ended its statement by making a plea for an end to the violence that has encompassed Syria and urged the warring factions to try and negotiate a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict. The statement from the church finished by saying that they were praying for peace in the Middle East and that refugees made homeless by war in Syria would be able to return home. The church also said prayers for those injured during the Syrian war and called for those captured to be released.
Just days after the statement calling for peace in Syria and an end to religious persecution, the Orthodox Church announced that it was to donate over one million dollars to civilians in Syria to help those affected by the civil war.