Orthodox Church in Saudi Arabia for Mosque in Moscow

Interfax | Nov. 26, 2008

Moscow – Representatives of Orthodox public organizations addressed the King of Saudi Arabia an open letter with a request to build an Orthodox Church in his country. The address, conveyed to Interfax-Religion, was initiated after the Saudi Kingdom announced its plans to build a mosque in Moscow.

“You often say that Islam is a religion of justice. However, if Saudi Arabia builds mosques in dozens of Christian countries, isn’t it just to build a church for Christians living in Your Kingdom!” the letter says.

To support their words the authors quoted Chairman of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran who said that “if Muslims believe it right to have a great striking mosque in Rome, than it is right for Christians to build a church in Riyadh.”

Orthodox believers remind that preachers of monotheism – Christians – came to Mecca and Medina several centuries before Muslims, while Jews historically resided there. Therefore, it is unjust not to allow them in the territories, where their ancestors lived, where their churches and cemeteries were located.

“Saudi Arabia, as any other country of the world, is a multiconfessional and policonfessional state. It would be just to grant the freedom of faith to Christian minority as their share exceeds 10 per cent,” the address further says.

Its authors consider it is very important to lift restrictions on visits of Christians to Mecca and Medina, to permit them to wear crosses, to publish religious literature and preach their religion. “It would be just to create the same conditions for Saudi Christians as Muslims have in Russia,” Orthodox activists stressed.

“It is the only way to make interreligious dialogue honest and just,” the address written by the Moscow Division of the Union of Orthodox citizens, the Radonezh Society and the Byzantium Club concludes.

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8 thoughts on “Orthodox Church in Saudi Arabia for Mosque in Moscow”

  1. Have to love those Russians, they really set the Saudis straight. What’s fair is fair! Now it’s time for every single Christian country that allows mosques to be built to do the same.

  2. Amen! This is LONG overdue, if I may say so.

    May God give them strength, and others courage to ask for this same very fair thing.

  3. I know the Ruskis are not quite the democracy many were hoping for, but I gotta tell ya’, they do have some “good ol’ boy”(read “the way America used to be”) ways of handling some things. Cases-in-point: the above article, the Moscow theatre hostage situation. God love ’em.

  4. I am pleased to see that others had the same reaction to this as I did. I posted a different article (by Paul Goble) about the same story and commented on it a couple of weeks ago on my page in “A Saudi Mosque in Moscow?” The Goble article has some delightful details:

    “Moreover, they suggested that if the Saudis want to begin broadcasting their television programs to the Russian Federation and its Muslims, then ‘it would be just’ to offer ‘Your subjects the opportunity to watch Russian Orthodox channels and thus to learn that Christians don’t believe in three gods, don’t distort the Bible and don’t pray to idols.'”

    and . . .

    “Dmitry Volodikhin, a Russian nationalist fantasy writer, added an additional reason for opposing the construction of a Muslim center in Moscow: The Russian capital, he said, needs to restore more Russian churches for Orthodox Christians before it thinks about building new mosques for Muslims.”


  5. Thorum,

    I went to your blog. I would be curious to read your thoughts on the article In the Name of Knowledge and Wisdom, by Jamie Glazov on the home page of orthodoxytoday.org

    Hey Chris, how about posting it here for comments?

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