A Russian’s View of Spiritual Abandonment
Below we present points from correspondence of the last two months, anonymously and arranged thematically as questions and answers.
Q: What are your thoughts as we enter 2013?
A: My thoughts turn both ahead and also back to 2014, the centenary of the great European suicide. This was the disaster of 1914, from which Europe has not only not recovered, but from which it has fallen and falls ever further. The consequences of that War and its disastrous Treaty of Versailles were numerous, not least the guarantee of a Second War, but also:
If in the First World War Russia had defeated Germany and Austro-Hungary, as it was about to in 1917, the whole of world history would have been different. The Jews, who had already suffered terrible pogroms in Vienna and Berlin before that War (much worse than those in Poland, the western Ukraine and Bessarabia), would have been protected. In turn, there would have been no holocaust and no reason to establish Israel. The whole Middle East quagmire that exists today and the results of the manipulative Western divisions of the Ottoman Empire would not have come into existence.
There would have been the promised independence for Poland, Finland and the Baltic States, but with protection for their Orthodox minorities, autonomy for the Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia and other peoples. There would never have been the disastrous centralism of the Soviet period. There would have been freedom at last for Carpatho-Russia, protection for the Orthodox Balkans, freedom for Constantinople and liturgies in the Church of the Holy Wisdom, and protection for Orthodox Asia Minor. Both the Armenians and Greeks in what later became Turkey would have been protected from genocide. No masonic Greeks and Romanians would have catholicised the Church calendar and split the Diaspora. There would have been no Turkish invasion and occupation of Cyprus and the Orthodox of the former Ottoman Empire, as in Syria, would have been protected.
Q: That brings us to today’s situation in the Middle East?
A: Precisely. After the recent wars lost in Iraq and Afghanistan and staring bankruptcy in the face, the West now faces the disastrous consequences of its meddling in Yugoslavia, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and perhaps in Bahrain. The ‘blowback’ is enormous, as we see in Mali. Now come the consequences of meddling in the rest of the Ottoman Empire – in Turkey and Syria, not forgetting the Kurds, so mistreated by European colonialism in the carve-up of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War.
It is said that members of the French and British special services have already been killed in Syria, though this has been hushed up by the governments involved. There are 1500 members of US Sp3ecial Forces in the Jordan alone. Who knows? The 65,000 terrorist mercenaries in Syria belong to 29 different nationalities, according to the UN. Recently many Tunisians, another 5,000, have been flown into Syria and armed by the CIA, financed by the oil monarchies, especially by anti-Iranian Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has made space in some of its prisons and sent criminals to fight in Syria. It is curious that the only well-known European politician who has spoken out against the allying of the West with Muslim terrorists in Syria is the French Marine Le Pen. She has had the courage to say that the Western-encouraged ‘Arab spring has been followed by the Islamist winter’. Interestingly also, no-one in the West has dared to speak against support for the Syrian people by China, only for the support offered by Russia.
Q: Why has the West spoken against Russian support and not against Chinese support?
A: China is due to become the world’s greatest economic power within the next ten years. It may also by then have become the world’s largest Christian country. The anti-Christian West is frightened of this. It is less frightened of Russia, which it still associates with the decadence of the 1990s. This is a mistake. Today’s Russia has been rising since 2000. In 2000 Russia had its revelation, since when it has been on the road from Damascus; the West is still on the road to Damascus, it has still not had its revelation, which it is purposely avoiding. Russia and the West have already passed each other by on that road, heading in opposite directions, Russia heading towards Jerusalem, the West heading towards Babylon.
Q: From a spiritual viewpoint, why are the events in Syria so important?
A: Because Syria is very close to Jerusalem and, spiritually, Jerusalem is the centre of the world, the beginning – and the end.
Q: If we can come back to what you said originally about Russia’s potential victory in the First World War, why did it not win?
A: The Western aims in that War were twofold – the defeat of Germany and then of Russia. The Western elites knew perfectly well that Russia, unimpeded, would become the World’s greatest power by 1950 and its Orthodox Christian culture would then stand at the centre of Europe and of the world. The Russian Empire was already in advance of much of the West by 1914, and not only in terms of agricultural and industrial production. For example, 85% of its inhabitants were literate by 1917, thanks largely to the stupendous achievements of the last Tsar.
But Russia had to be destroyed before it destroyed Germany and then freed the Slav peoples from Austro-Hungarian oppression and the Orthodox peoples of the Near and Middle East from Ottoman oppression. So Rasputin, the symbol of the Russian Orthodox people, was murdered by the British (as we now know from Andrew Cook’s book, ‘To Kill Rasputin’) and the Revolution was organised by the British ambassador to St Petersburg, Sir George Buchanan, with the open support of Lord Milner, Balfour and Lloyd George. Russia could be brought down, because it was no longer necessary to the Allies – they knew that the USA would enter the War on their side, as soon as Russia was destroyed.
Q: Is there any chance that today’s Russian Federation could re-establish a sort of Orthodox Empire, as it could have done, had it been victorious in 1917?
A: Every Empire has problems. European models of Empire were too centralised, which provoked rejection on their fringes. In turn, the Soviet Union was a far more extreme and oppressive form of European Empire. In the territories of the pre-1917 Russian Empire, we should be hoping to see the emergence of a looser and voluntary Eurasian Confederation, not a Union or an Empire. However, at present only Belarus and Kazakhstan are taking part in this organisation. There is far to go.
Q: Eastern Europeans – though not necessarily their governments – have become disenchanted with the EU and have been rejecting the European Union since the Euro disaster. There is even talk of the UK leaving the European Union. Do you think any of these countries would want to join a Eurasian Confederation?
A: EU Eastern Europe is more or less bankrupt. Estonia will soon have no money to pay for any services, because so many of its tax-paying younger people have had to emigrate, mainly to Finland and Sweden. Half of Latvia and Lithuania seem to be in the UK or Germany. Whole villages and towns in the Baltic States are now populated almost entirely by pensioners and almost worthless blocks of flats are locked up, their owners abroad. There is no work.
Even ethnic Estonians and Latvians are cursing Gorbachov and would like the Soviet Union back. Then they had an excellent education system and free, quality health care – far better than the rationed, emergency only health system in the UK today. Eastern European politicians, as in Poland, say that their unemployment is relatively low, but that is only because millions of their young people have emigrated. The situation is similar in Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, where real youth unemployment is over 50%. However, at present there is no real alternative to the EU for EU Eastern Europe. That is the challenge facing the Russian Federation, to set up a viable alternative to the EU.
And I think that this also concerns the UK. The internal realignment necessary for the UK elite to follow the people and quit the EU is unlikely at present, but perhaps largely because there is no realistic alternative. To go from being a US / German colony, as is clear from recently-expressed negative US and German attitudes to UK desires for freedom from the EU straitjacket, to being an independent country in association with a loose Eurasian Confederation is a very big step. But who knows?
Q: What are your thoughts regarding President Putin?
A: He is a phenomenon of the post-Soviet period, so inevitably there is light and also some dark with him. However, he does have one great leading idea, that of rebuilding national unity, retaining the best of the old Soviet Union and restoring the best from the old Imperial Russia. This is why he had the remains of the great Russian Orthodox philosopher Ivan Ilyin and also White émigré leaders brought back to Russia. Now he is restoring pre-Revolutionary regiments and honouring the Russian victims of the First World War. This is the future, not the Communist past.
Currently, for example, the Russian Communist Party asserts that it made only one mistake during its tyranny – the persecution of the Church under Stalin. This is an outrageous lie. Its evils began in 1917 under the mass murderer, Lenin. There was civil war and artificial famine, causing cannibalism. Communist persecution continued right up until the 1980s. Stalinism continued long after Stalin; the Khrushchov period was especially awful. It is a lie to call the genocide of tens of millions a ‘mistake’. That genocide also includes Stalin’s crass mismanagement of the Soviet armed forces before and after the German invasion. Millions of Russians and others died then because of his incompetence. The Soviet period was quite possibly the worst crime in world history – not a mere ‘mistake’.
Q: What will happen after Putin?
A: Who knows? He could be succeeded by another politician, with or without Soviet tendencies, more or less positive. That is not what we want. What we want is the restoration of the Orthodox Monarchy. However, it is unclear whether Russia will be ready, spiritually mature, for that by the time that Putin has disappeared from the scene.
Q: Patriarch Kyrill has been criticised by some in the Diaspora as a liberal. What would you answer?
A: I can remember that the then Metropolitan Kyrill was criticised publicly at the 2006 All-Diaspora Council in San Francisco for his ecumenistic and liberal reputation. At that time no-one challenged that thought – we all felt much the same. However, people change – that is the nature of the Church, at the centre of which stands repentance, though the modernists will not admit that, because in their pride they do not have the repentant spirit, thinking like Protestants that they are ‘already saved’.
Today we are looking at Patriarch Kyrill. Given the overview of the international Russian Orthodox Church that only a Patriarch can have and the responsibilities that he bears, he has changed. I think the concerted series of attacks on the Russian Church of 2012, orchestrated by the pro-Western media inside and outside Russia, and not without foreign finance, have changed him even more. He now knows exactly where his friends are and where his enemies are.
The ecumenists and renovationists, left-overs from the Soviet period inside and outside Russia, have lost the remaining support they had. It is now clearly understood that these are only the frontmen of Western Protestantism, ultimately Eastern-rite Protestants, Neo-Uniats, financed or at least encouraged by the Western Secret Services and the Western media which those Secret Services control. In April 2012 Patriarch Kyrill publicly condemned this ‘fifth column’ of ‘traitors in cassocks’.
Their only purpose is to divide the Church, as they have done especially in the Ukraine, where they have been financed by dollars. All divisions of the Church merely play into the hands of anti-Orthodox and weaken the Church. Hitler knew this and so do the CIA and its embassies in Kiev and Moscow. Some of those who have taken part in these divisions are ambitious and unscrupulous careerists. Tragically, some of those who have followed them in their divisions are truly pious but very naïve, not seeing that the cause that the support is gravely spiritually tarnished.
Q: Many of us have been disturbed by some events inside Russia, for example the continued activities of Fr George Kochetkov’s neo-renovationist group, or the strange opinions of Deacon Andrei Kuryayev. What do you say?
A: These are all adolescent distractions inside Russia, examples of spiritual immaturity. For instance, Fr George Kochetkov’s group is tiny. All these problems concern a small minority who were baptised and ordained in the 1990s and never fully integrated the Church. For example, the concept of merging Christmas and the New Year is fantasy and betrays the still Soviet mentality of its author. This shows ignorance of the age-old liturgical cycles of the Church. But nobody takes such fantasies seriously and they will die out. They are convert froth. Our interest is in the vast and immortal ocean of Orthodoxy, not in the passing froth on the seashore, which is here today, gone tomorrow.
Q: There has been controversy recently as to whether Tsar Nicholas is not a martyr, but a passion-bearer. Do you have any views?
A: Technically speaking, a martyr is one who had been killed for the Faith by Non-Orthodox; a passion-bearer is one who has been killed for the Faith by lapsed Orthodox in a state of apostasy. However, in reality, the word ‘martyr’ is used for all those killed for the Faith, which is why we talk about the ‘New Martyrs and Confessors’, not the ‘New Passion-Bearers and Confessors’.
In the Soviet context, we know that many of the Red murderers, Stalin for instance, were baptised Orthodox. Most of these were Slavs, but among the murderers there were also Latvians, Hungarians, Jews and others who were not Orthodox. So technically speaking, many of the ‘New Martyrs’ were at the same time ‘New Passion-Bearers’. And, in this sense, the Tsar was both a martyr and a passion-bearer. In general, none of the Soviet obscenities could have occurred without the co-operation of lapsed Orthodox, without apostasy. On the other hand, the whole Soviet ideology came, like the Revolution itself, from the West, which organised and financed it.
But what a pedantic question this is! All the more so when we know that only the Russian Church makes such a distinction. The Greek Church calls them all martyrs, that is, ‘witnesses’ for the Faith. In England St Edward the Martyr will always be called so and not a ‘passion-bearer’, which technically he was. In everyday life the Tsar Martyr will always be called universally, both inside and outside Russia, the ‘Tsar-Martyr’. This is an argument about words.
Q: Do you think that the little dissident groups, all split among themselves, who did not accept the reuniting of the Russian Orthodox Church six years ago, will ever return to unity?
A: I do not know. I would answer them with the prophetic words of Metropolitan Philaret on 10/23 September, 1974 in his Reply to Alexander Solzhenitsyn:
‘If the liberation of Russia were to take place and unity with a restored Orthodoxy and canonical hierarchy were to take place, then we would consider ourselves part of the Russian hierarchy’.
I would add that, historically speaking, such dissidence is in any case increasingly irrelevant when we put it into the context of the spiritual meaning of the huge new emigration from Russia and Eastern Europe, which has transformed our situation in the Diaspora over the last six years.
Q: What do you mean by ‘the spiritual meaning of the new emigration’?
A: The first emigration of post-1917 numbered between one and two million. It was very mixed. Some in it were Church-minded, but a large part of it and of the White Movement in general was not Church-minded, only politically-minded. Let us be clear: among the ‘Whites’ were those very people who had brought about the collapse of the Monarchy. They were not ‘White’ at all. This is absolutely clear from documents and Church Councils of the time, from politically-coloured splits of the period in France and the North America and the famous report of St John of Shanghai on the spiritual state of the Russian immigration at the Second All-Diaspora Council. Some of these people I met in their old age. I repeat: They were not White at all.
Today’s post-Soviet economic emigration is far greater than the post-1917 one. It has a huge task of witnessing to Orthodoxy before an atheistic Western world, of saving what is best in dying Western culture. Russians and Eastern European Orthodox have seen atheism, they have lived through it – they already know that the naïve West, with its persecution of Christianity, political correctness, abortion holocaust, single-sex marriage and pedophilia, has set out on a false path. We have advance knowledge of the folly that the West is creating for itself. This means that we could still save the West from itself. That is what our whole task and calling is, and has been, for the last forty and more years. This is our spiritual meaning, the spiritual meaning of ROCOR, as we set out the uncompromised, but also multinational and multilingual, Orthodox Tradition before the Western world and its aberrations.
Q: What were the results last October of the London Conference of all the Russian Orthodox bishops in the Diaspora?
A: Just as there were deviations in the old emigration, so there are also deviations in the new emigration. Some of its elements manifest a certain nationalism, often, strangely enough, a Soviet one, a sympathy with atheism! Such nationalism will only turn into a ghetto and die out. Other elements, like a few individuals at the new seminary in Paris or among some older elements, manifest a pro-ecumenical attitude, again a hangover from the Soviet period.
Clearly, these extremes have to be ironed out before the parishes which are still for the moment under the Patriarchate of Moscow, even though they are outside Russia, can join ROCOR. Their existence is canonical disorder and it is preparatory work towards their merging with ROCOR that was the real purpose of the October Conference. Through it, the vestiges of the Soviet period, when the Centre in Moscow was paralysed by persecution, are being transformed.
Fortunately, most in the new emigration share in neither of the above extremes and certainly such extremes are unknown in the best of ROCOR. We understand that Russian Orthodox means not only those who are by blood Russian and Orthodox, but all those who in spirit, world view, culture and state of soul, confess Russian Orthodoxy. There have been many examples of this in Russian history – Pushkin, who was part Ethiopian, Barclay de Tolly and Lermontov, who were Scottish, General Bagration, who was Georgian, or Levitan the painter. Yet they were all Orthodox in their cultural reflexes.
Q: What is happening with the new Russian Cathedral in Paris?
A: There has been a planning dispute about the appearance of the new Cathedral, aspects of whose design displeased some, including in ROCOR. This problem should be sorted out fairly quickly. Our prayer is that the new Cathedral will be dedicated to Tsar Nicholas and all the New Martyrs and Confessors and that it will become the centre of the future Western European Metropolia. That would be justice and an act of repentance before and by the whole Orthodox Diaspora. May God grant this and may our prayers be heard.
Q: Could a Western European Metropolia be constructed by another of the Local Orthodox Churches, and not the Russian?
A: Let us be realistic. Apart from the Russian Church, the other Local Churches are too small and simply cannot provide the necessary infrastructure, finance and know-how. But size is not the only important thing. Apart from quantity, there is also quality. Such a Metropolia will be constructed on the Tradition, not on decadence of practice, not on communion without confession, not on an abbreviated Liturgy, not on the Catholic calendar, not on intercommunion etc.
In other words, a Metropolia will be built neither on the conservative extreme of ethnic exclusivism, nor on the liberal extreme of compromises with the heterodox world. It will be built on the maximum, not on the minimum. This house will be built on rock, not on sand. Such a Metropolia must have in part a monastic background, not a background of compromises with the Orthodox Tradition – and there is only One Orthodox Tradition above all nationalities. We have seen the failure of the OCA experiment, which was built on an ‘All-American’ phyletism, on an imitation of the heterodox world and renovationist compromise. Such a minimalist ‘sand’ experiment does not work – and it will not work in Western Europe either.
Q: And do you think that this Metropolia will actually come into being in the near future?
A: I think it is highly likely. It is Patriarch Kyrill’s desire.
Q: How do you know that?
A: Apart from others who have told me, he told us that, face to face, in Moscow, last May.
Q: And what about a ‘Western Orthodox Church? Will that ever exist?
A: This seems to me to be less likely – and for lack of time. Western Europe has recently become the scene of persecution of the Faith. The Depardieu incident, when the French actor was given Russian nationality as a result of the persecution of all initiative, may be the start of something much bigger. It may be that many other Western cultural workers of talent may yet flee to Russia because of the persecution of Christian-based Western culture by political correctness. This was after all prophesied by St Seraphim of Vyritsa. The best of European culture may yet be saved by Russia, an Empire of the Spirit.
Sadly, this Western persecution of Christianity is not a matter of if, rather of when. So there simply may not be time to see a Local Church evolve in Western Europe. Let us be honest, the number of native Western Orthodox is tiny; we are far outnumbered by Eastern European Orthodox. Why? Because only very few Western people are interested in Christ and His Church. I am constantly contacted by Russians who want to know about Western saints and Western traditions and who want services for these saints, but, sadly, not by Western people. This is a sobering fact and all should know it. The Church is always built on the sober truth, not on fantasies.
1/14 January 2013
Orthodox and Anglican Churches are on different sides of the abyss, says Russian Orthodox leader.
By David W. Virtue
January 12, 2013
The future of ecumenism is in great peril with the gap widening between Orthodox and progressives (sic), says Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church, a noted theologian and Church historian.
Speaking before an audience at Villanova University, a Catholic institution on Philadelphia’s historic mainline and one of the oldest in the US, Metr Hilarion said that when the holy fathers of the first millennium abided in unity and while it was subjected to many serious trials, it was the foundation upon which dialogue between Christians was successful and fruitful. “Fidelity to the Christian tradition is the proper means for the restoration of unity among Christ’s disciples.”
The Orthodox leader blasted parts of the Anglican Communion for abandoning the faith and said renunciation of the truth by some Protestant denominations makes it difficult for the Orthodox Church to continue co-operation with them.
“I regret this, but dialogues with Protestants and Anglicans which we have had for decades are now under threat because of processes taking place in the Protestant communities of the West and North. I mean the continuing liberalization in the field of theology, ecclesiology and moral teaching. Certain denominations have legitimized the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of people openly declaring their non-traditional sexual orientation.”
Metr Hilarion said he was obliged to speak about this because he wanted to preserve the good that was being achieved during the years of dialogue between Orthodox, on the one hand, and Protestants and Anglicans, on the other. “In defending the two-thousand-year-old tradition of the Church, we remain true to this dialogue, yet at the same time we see that Protestants and Anglicans are growing away from us by accepting innovations which we find unacceptable.
“I am speaking of this in the walls of a Catholic university because I am afraid to criticize Anglicans and Protestants to their faces. Every time the opportunity arises, I speak openly of our concern in direct dialogue with our brothers from the Anglican and Protestant communities. In 2010 at a festive dinner at the Nicaea Club in London in the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams I stated the sad fact that the Orthodox and Anglican Churches are to be found on different sides of the abyss which separate Christians of a traditional direction and Christians adhering to liberal teachings. Recently I spoke of the same things at the old Episcopalian seminary at Nashotah House, a contemporary of your University.”
The Metropolitan added that dialogue with Protestants and Anglicans has reached a dead end, but dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church has a future because, like the Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church does not think of itself as being outside of Tradition and strives to teach and live in accordance with the tradition of the apostles and holy fathers.
“In my view, the significant improvement and strengthening of relations between our Churches that can be seen in recent years is connected to an awareness that we are united by a common heritage, thanks to which both Orthodox and Catholics can and must together bear witness to the world of the eternal values of the Gospel.
“The Orthodox and Catholics encounter the same challenges which modern times lay down to the traditional way of life. In this instance we are dealing not with theological problems but with the present and future of humanity. It is in this sphere that Orthodox and Catholics can interact without compromising their ecclesiastical identity. In other words, while not yet being the one Church, being separated by various theological and ecclesiological problems, we can find ways of interacting which would allow us to respond jointly to the challenges of the modern world.
“Together we can help people realize what the traditional Christian values are – the family, the worth of human life from conception to death, the upbringing of children, the integrity and indissolubility of marriage. All of these concepts in the modern secular world are subjected to a radical re-evaluation.”
Metr Hilarion said that in Western society today, the traditional family way of life has, in effect, been destroyed. As a result, there has been a gradual decline in the populations of Western nations. “This is a very simple and real indication of the spiritual health or spiritual disease of a particular nation. If the population of a country is increasing this means that there are in the nation healthy forces which allow this to happen; if the population decreases, this is a sign of disease.” The disease in society is an absence of the traditional notion of the family, he said.
“At the basis this world view there lies the destruction of the traditional family way of life. If we speak of Christian communities, the traditional way of life of the family is preached only by the Orthodox and Catholic Churches. At the official level it is the Orthodox and Catholic Churches which defend the integrity of marriage, believe abortion to be a sin and call for an end to it, and believe that euthanasia is unacceptable.”
Metr Hilarion continued, “The ‘Foundations of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church’ with the Catechism of the Catholic Church which outlines the official teaching of the Catholic Church on these problems, then everywhere you will see that their positions are similar.
This means that we can combine our endeavors in order to jointly protect traditional values such as the family, giving birth, how children are brought up and the integrity of marriage. This is the field where we can and must today interact with Catholics.
“In this regard, I am convinced that co-operation of all Christian confessions, and first of all between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, is greatly needed for the protection of human life and its inalienable dignity as well as the family. Therefore we who are united by faith in Christ and a two-thousand-year-old Christian tradition have to bring with renewed strength the good news to the world of the family and marriage as institutions created by God.
“In accepting the challenge of the real world, the Christian family is to be as before the hope and pledge of a Christian civilization. It is essential to protect and support a cultural tradition which is favorable to the family, the indissolubility of marriage and the need for marital fidelity by taking an active part in the creation of legislation that favors the family and its natural foundation and by imparting to society the ideals of the majesty and perfection of the family vocation.”
The Orthodox leader said that protecting of Christians from discrimination is another area of cooperation between the Orthodox and Catholics.
“Unfortunately, in the countries of the so called Arab Spring, as well as in a number of other countries of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Oceania, Christians are subjected to discrimination, persecution and repression.
Media Ignores Religious Persecution
The media ignores the problem of religious persecution. “In planning military intervention in a particular country of the Arab world or in preparing the overthrow of the existing regime in a particular country with the help of outside forces, Western strategists completely fail to take into account the fact that the main victims are often local Christians.”
Metr Hilarion cited several examples. “In Iraq only one tenth of a million-and-a-half Christians that lived there ten years ago have survived. In Egypt we are witnessing a mass exodus of Christians. There are practically no Christians left in Libya. Ninety five percent of Christians have abandoned Homs in Syria. We, Orthodox and Catholics, must raise our voices jointly in defense of Christians subjected to persecution and repression in these countries, as well as in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Nigeria and in a number of other countries as well.
“The countries of Europe have traditionally defended the interests of Christians in the Middle East and in Eastern Asia. In the present circumstances we hope that the resolution adopted by the European Parliament on January 2011 on the position of Christians in the context of religious freedom, as well as the declaration of the Committee of Foreign Ministers of the European Union on 22 February, will have practical consequences. They were a result of active participation by the Christian Churches in this direction. We hope that the USA will join us in the defense of Christians.
“Today Christians are subjected to harassment not only in those countries where they comprise a minority but often in those countries with ancient and deep-rooted Christian traditions. Certain European countries are trying to limit the manifestation of Christian faith in public life by claiming that they are thereby observing the rights of adherents of other religions and atheists. This situation demands that Orthodox and Catholic show solidarity in their actions in protecting the Christian identity of Europe and America.
“The Christian communities of Syria and other Middle Eastern countries are crying out for help at a time when the Western media ignore their pleas for aid. Politicians too are closing their eyes to this unprecedented wave of persecution. We, the Orthodox and Catholics from around the world, have to raise our voice in defense of Christians and the Christian traditions of the Middle East. It is our duty to appeal constantly to political leaders, international organizations and the media by reminding them of this humanitarian tragedy unfolding before our eyes.”
Metr Hilarion observed that it is essential for Orthodox and Catholics today to perceive each other not as rivals but as allies in the cause of the defense of Christians’ rights. “We must develop interaction outside of the success or otherwise of theological dialogue, independent even of how relations between the Orthodox and Catholics take shape in concrete regions around the world. We must build this interaction from a common strategic task since we are dealing with the future of humanity. It is upon our joint endeavors that the future of Christianity in the third millennium will primarily depend.”