Q: Recently, reports have spread all over the world about the events in Egypt’s Giza where radical Muslim groups killed people and set on fire two Christians churches. Are there real threats to Christianity in the Middle East?
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (MH): The Middle East is the cradle of Christianity. The history of Orthodoxy is inseparably linked with this region. There are four old Orthodox Patriarchates there, those of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, and the old Archdioceses of Cyprus and Sinai. In history, the eastern Mediterranean repeatedly became an arena of political and religious wars, and Christians were often victims of those conflicts.
Christians and non-Christians managed to achieve peaceful coexistence in some countries of the region, and Egypt was considered one of the examples of such coexistence between the Muslim majority and the Christian minority. However, the tragedy of the last months, beginning from the terrorist attack committed at the Coptic church in Alexandria during the night of January 1, 2011, to the recent arsons in Giza, have stirred up anxiety and pain among millions of believers around the world. [Read more...]