Msgr. Barwa: In Orissa Hindu pogroms have united Christians. Blood ecumenism
by Nirmala Carvalho

In 2008, the extremists targeted everyone, regardless of denomination. "The cross of Christ was proof that united us, our faith was visible." In Bhubaneshwar a common burial ground. Catholic educational, health and social institutions  must not discriminate against anybody, "even those who have persecuted us."

Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar (AsiaNews) - In Orissa "ecumenism among Christians is a living reality, because it is a blood ecumenism" says Mgr. John Barwa, Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, intervening in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. He explains that it was the "circumstances", that is, the anti-Christian pogrom of 2008, "to make us united and ecumenical and to fight for peace and mutual development".

Msgr. Barwa continues: "The horrific anti-Christian violence united us all as Christians, followers of Jesus Christ. Our persecutors failed to distinguish between denominations, they only knew that we belong to Jesus, we love him, we are ready to die for him. "

The archbishop argues that the Hindu radicals targeted the Christian community in Orissa, and in particular those of Kandhamal district, because "our faith is visible and therefore the extremists have killed our people ... burned our churches and homes". "The cross of Christ – he adds - was proof that united us. This is ecumenism for us, and we, his people, we are proud of our ecumenical love, solidarity, unity and peace ".

Msgr. Barwa reports that there are frequent encounters between Christian leaders of all denominations: "We meet regularly and these gatherings are a sign of love and brotherhood in serving our people." With the ecumenical love, he suggests, "we can create a culture of peace and harmony, solidarity, unity and service for the good of all."

The prelate also reports that in Bhubaneshwar a common burial ground for Christians was identified. Then he points out that the "Catholic Church is at the service of all. For this, as Christians united by the love of Christ and for Christ, all our educational institutions, the social apostolate and those in the health field must not discriminate between Christians, not even against those who have persecuted us. "