Moscow church leader acknowledges religious persecution in Russia


Interfax-Religiia, 28 January 2019


The Moscow patriarchate called the decision of "Open Doors" to include Russia in its list of 50 states where, in the opinion of that rights advocacy organization, Christians' rights are violated ephemeral.


"From my point of view, the inclusion of Russia in this list is produced not by objective indicators but that short-term political situation that, unfortunately, is operating today throughout the western world and is reflected primarily in the analysis," Metropolitan Ilarion, the head of the synod's Department for External Church Relations, declared on air in the program "Church and World" on the TV channel Rossia-24.


In confirmation of his words he pointed out that Ukraine is absent from the same list, where the metropolitan thinks it should be instead of Russia, because it is in Ukraine that there is now occurring widespread restriction of believers from whom church buildings are being seized and who are enduring beatings, threats, and public defamation.


The metropolitan explained that Russia's entry into the "Open Doors" list is caused primarily by the situation with the Jehovah's Witnesses (an organization banned in the RF), who, from the point of view of the Russian church, are not Christians, but a sect.


At the same time, Metropolitan Ilaron acknowledged that in regions of the country where a Muslim population predominates, the problem of the infringement of Christians' rights really does exist and the RPTs tries to resolve it with the help of its bishops in the regions and also through the Inter-Religious Council of Russia. (tr. by PDS, posted 28 January 2019)

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