Moscow, June 20, 2011
The Moscow Patriarchate has expressed concerns about the situation of Orthodox Churches in the Middle East.
"The escalation of Christianophobia in some countries of the Middle East may lead to serious consequences for the Orthodox faith, jeopardizing the life of parishioners of old local Churches and depriving them of their rights," head of the Synodal Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said in an interview with Interfax-Religion.
Metropolitan Hilarion expressed great concerns about the safety of Christian holy places in the Middle East. "If the governments of the Middle Eastern countries do not take special measures to protect Christians, we will soon see another wave of their emigration," Metropolitan Hilarion said.
He reiterated that "extremism under Islamic slogans should by no means be identified with Islam, which preaches tolerance between members of different religions."
"I have recently become convinced about that again when I met with the rector, faculty and students of Al-Azhar University, one of the largest Islamic universities in the world. Among the goals of this Egyptian university is to educate young Muslims in the spirit of tolerance," Metropolitan Hilarion said.