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  • » 01/31/2014, 00.00

    RUSSIA - SYRIA

    Kirill and Patriarch of Antioch, a joint call for "peace and integrity" in Syria



    John X Yazigi concluded his visit to Moscow, where he met the Russian Orthodox Patriarch. The two religious leaders have called for dialogue and the release of the Christian hostages. The Eastern Churches are increasingly looking to Russia as their defender.

    Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Moscow Patriarchate and the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch have launched a joint appeal for peace and independence of Syria. "The two churches believe that only through open and honest dialogue true peace its independence and territorial integrity be guaranteed in Syria , and equal rights and opportunities for its citizens ensured," reads the statement issued on 30 January, at the end of Patriarch John X Yazigi's visit to Moscow.
    According to the two religious leaders, it is important to support the process initiated in Geneva and at the same time hope that " that all the political problems in Lebanon, Iraq and all the countries in the Middle East will be dealt with in a spirit of peace that rejects violence and all types of pressure that may come from extremist positions or terrorist acts".

    The statement also stresses the need to take measures to ensure the immediate release of all the hostages from Metropolitan Boulos Yazigi ( of the Orthodox Church of Antioch ) and Metropolitan Mar Gregorios Youhanna Ibrahim ( of the Syrian Orthodox Church ) - abducted in April - as well as nuns , priests and orphans of the Convent of Maalula.

    "The Churches of Antioch and Russia both have an experience of co-existence with Islam - conclude the two Patriarchs - We reject any type of extremism and hate speech. We appeal to Christians and Muslims to work together for the benefit of their homelands."

    The visits of religious leaders of the Eastern Churches in Russia are almost a daily occurrence now and show - according to some analysts - the growing attention of those Christian communities towards Moscow, increasingly seen as a point of reference and new champion of their defense against the threat of Islamic extremism. Kirill is giving a more "global" aspect to the Russian Orthodox Church than his predecessor Aleksy II and aims to carve out a leading role internationally. According to the director of the Radio Kommersant Konstantin von Eggert, who is also a commentator on religious matters, the battle for the defense of Christians is "also an opportunity for the Moscow Patriarchate to remember that not only it is the most numerous among the autocephalous churches, but that is ready to use its special ties with the Kremlin for defending the community worldwide". ( N.A. )

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    See also

    12/09/2013 RUSSIA -US - SYRIA
    Patriarch Kirill to Obama : No attack on Syria
    After the Pope's letter to Putin , the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church joins appeals of the spiritual leaders of the world to avoid a military solution to the crisis. Despite the leading role of Moscow in the crisis, the Russians are uninterested in developments in the Middle Eastern country .

    16/11/2011 RUSSIA - SYRIA - LEBANON
    Patriarch Kirill in the Middle East: no to Christianophobia; yes to peaceful political change
    The head of the Russian Orthodox Church invites political leaders to listen to the needs of the population. The concern for Christians in Egypt, Libya and Iraq. The three day visit to Syria and Lebanon ended yesterday.

    22/01/2014 RUSSIA - SYRIA
    Geneva II, Patriarch of Moscow: Stop the war and free the hostages
    Kirill addresses the participants of the international conference on Syria , which opens today in Montreux, Switzerland. Still no news of the two Orthodox bishops seized in April 2013.

    10/11/2015 RUSSIA - SYRIA
    Ahead of Vienna 2, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East arrives in Moscow
    Mar Ignatius Ephrem II: Russian military intervention gave hope to the Syrian people, now time to proceed with the negotiations. The religious leader is visiting Russia until November 13 and he will meet with both Patriarch Kirill and Foreign Minister Lavrov.

    18/12/2012 SYRIA - LEBANON
    Youhanna X is the new patriarch of the Greek-Orthodox Church of Antioch
    The youthful 57-year-old was elected yesterday. In his first statement at a press conference, he reiterated the right of Christians to remain in the Middle East. He equally stressed the importance of dialogue with other Churches and with Muslims. "Christians are staying," he said. "This is their land."



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