06/23/2011, 00.00
RUSSIA
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Patriarchate of Moscow launches program for protection of Christians worldwide

by Nina Achmatova
The World Russian People's Council will regularly publish information about violence and abuse against the community. Orthodox Church concerned over christianophobia in the Middle East.
Moscow (AsiaNews) - Concerned by a widespread "Christianophobia", the Russian Orthodox Church has decided to publish regular information on episodes of violence that affect Christians in the world. Interfax news agency reports that the World Russian People's Council is a public forum that brings together several religious and political leaders in Russia and is chaired by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill.

"The Russian Orthodox Church will launch a program to protect the Christians who have recently become the most targeted religious," says Roman Silantyev, director of the Center. The idea is to monitor the crimes and atrocities committed against Christians, such as murders, threats, rapes, massacres and executions.

The greatest concern focuses on the Middle East, as explained by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Department for External Church Relations. "The escalation of Christianophobia in some Middle Eastern countries can lead to serious consequences for the Orthodox faith, putting at risk the lives of the faithful of the ancient local church, deprived of their rights," he denounced in an interview with Interfax-Religion after having met with the rector of the Egyptian Islamic Al-Azhar University. "If the governments of the Middle East do not take special measures to protect Christians, we will soon see another wave of immigration," continued the Metropolitan, concluding with a wish: that "extremism behind religious slogans is not identified with Islam, which preaches tolerance between members of different religions." (N.A.)
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