Bishop Hilarion – Christianophobia Rising in Europe

OrthodoxEurope.org | Bishop Hilarion | May. 5, 2008

Europe is witnessing a significant re-shaping of its religious map. In some countries, where not long ago an atheist ideology was officially imposed on the entire population, and where churches were heavily persecuted, we are now witnessing an unprecedented religious revival. In other countries, however, we see a clear decline in religious practice. Secularism is gaining momentum in nations which not long ago identified themselves as Christian, while the growth of Islam is also quite noticeable.

The EU leadership makes laudable efforts to help immigrants from Islamic countries to embrace European values and to fully integrate into European society. An environment of tolerance is being created, whereby every person, regardless of his or her beliefs, must feel at home.

I believe, however, that secular ideologies should not be regarded as the main basis for creating a society of tolerance and mutual respect. A secular or atheist ideology cannot serve as a common denominator for all of the different world views that exist in Europe.

I also believe that tolerance should not be promoted at the expense of Christians, who continue to constitute the majority in Europe’s population. Instances of Christianophobia and of discrimination against Christians should be officially condemned. The public display of Christian symbols should nowhere in Europe be prohibited, and the celebration of Christian feasts should nowhere be discouraged in the name of falsely-understood tolerance.

One would expect from the EU authorities that they will do more to protect Europe’s Christian heritage. This relates, in particular, to the Kosovo region, where churches are being brutally destroyed, and thousands of Christians are left homeless or forced into exile. It also relates to that part of Cyprus which is still unlawfully occupied by Turkish military forces, where churches are being ruined and the remaining Christian population continues to suffer excessively.

Turkey aspires towards membership in the European Union, while at the same time continuing to neglect the needs of its Christian population. Turkey’s refusal to reopen the theological school on Halki, in spite of repeated requests from the Patriarchate of Constantinople, is but one of many examples of such neglect. This largely anti-Christian policy is presently enforced by the official denial of the atrocities committed against Christians in the past, such as the genocide of Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians. I hope that the EU will use the mechanism of negotiation with Turkey in order to ensure that crimes of the past will never be repeated in the future, and that religious minorities in Turkey will be treated according to civilized standards.

Much more could and should be done by the EU leadership to protect Christian populations outside of Europe, notably in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and in many other Islamic countries. In Iraq, the killing and abduction of Christian clergy is a daily reality. In Afghanistan, conversion to Christianity may lead to the death sentence. In Saudi Arabia, no single Christian church exists and Christian workers are not allowed to read the Bible or to come together for worship. Alarming news about the persecution and killing of Christians comes from Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, as well as from many African nations.

I would like to conclude my short contribution by affirming that Christian Churches in the European Union, notably the Orthodox Churches, will continue to co-operate fully with the EU leadership in order to create a world founded on the principles of tolerance, justice and equality.

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Comments

  1. witheddie says:

    I think the best way to promote democracy in Islamic countries is to have them give the same opportunity to the minorities over there as we give them here in the West.

    May our Lord open the eyes of our politicians.

  2. European civilization achieved its greatest heights while being a Christian Civilization. If you look at ancient Greece and ancient Rome, their great civilizations just did not last as long as the Christianized European ones did. The enemies of European culture know this. That is why these same enemies are the ones promoting massive immigration into Europe from non-Christian, third world countries. Notice some of the terms that these liberals, who promote this massive immigration use. The vulgar term “Euro-trash” is just one of the popular sayings of these liberals. Another thing that is being written and emphasized is that Josef Fritzl, the convicted rapist who is charged with holding his daughter prisoner for a number of years and repeatedly impregnating her, was turned into a beast because of Austrian culture. (Of course this is a totally ridiculous lie!! The liberals love it, though) Of course these same liberals insist that non-Christian immigrants continue to practice their religions in Europe. As a matter of fact, these non-Christian religions should take precedence over Christianity, according to the New World Order, oops I mean liberals. By the way, except for a small area around where Constantinople was, Turkey is not a European country. Modern day Turks have no ethnic identity with Europeans. The fact that EU wants Turkey to join it shows you the real objective of the EU.

  3. Grumpy Old Man says:

    +Hilarion is a wise man.

    Forgive me if I question one part of his statement. The EU is a bureacratic juggernaut that seeks to erase differences and traditions, and to acquire power for itself. It’s not for the church to prounounce upon such political questions, but personally I question its merits.

  4. The Bible indicates that unless people in Europe conform to certain religious-inspired legislation (the “mark” of the beast—which will probably preclude the observance of the biblical Sabbath), they will not be able to function within this trans-European social-economic-political system that will be part of a global trading network (Revelation 13:15–18; 18:10–15).

    The persecution of Christians in Europe has already started. Christians are ignored, mocked and attacked by organized guardians of the secular society – whether it’s in the streets, at schools, workplace, or around residential areas, individuals and groups have been assigned to execute their tour-of-duty against those true Christian believers. This is exactely what the Bible is telling us: The European beast power, in league with an influential religious leader, will persecute those who actually live by biblical precepts (Daniel 7:21, 25; Revelation 13:7, 15; 17:6).

    So, we need not be surprised to witness the ever growing persecution of Christians in Europe or elsewhere, because Bible prophecies revealed thousands of years ago that this end-time scenario would occur
    I am positive that those who are persecuted because of their faith have to be the lucky ones, as it would help them know that they are following the truth path of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44)

  5. Jacobse says:

    Note 2. Anton, read this: The Great Liberal Death Wish.