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(RNS) With the civil war in Syria and the civil conflict in Egypt, instances of violent repression against minority Christians have increased. This rise was particularly worrying for Orthodox bishops, who lead the largest body of Christians in the Middle East.

6 Comments

  1. I think the article sugarcoats Putin’s relationship to the Orthodox Church. In many ways cosying up to them has helped cement his power.

    The Orthodox has a bad history with the Russian government prior to Communism. They were a prime mover in organized officially sanctioned violence against Jews and Central Asians. Much of the backlash against them during the Bolshevik revolution stems from this involvement.

    Putin’s involvement with the Orthodox Church is part of the problem and gives the impression of going into the subject with unclean hands. The Church has been a tool for modern day ethnic pogroms against people from the Caucasus region and against gays.
    http://russialist.org/biryulevo-violence-only-latest-pogrom-in-putins-moscow/
    http://www.truthwinsout.org/pressrelease/2013/08/36669

  2. Orthodox bishops in the Middle East are also painfully aware that persecution by Muslims is in many cases linked to Western influence in those countries and especially at the hands of the Israeli state. It’s hard to imagine that such a gathering of bishops would not in any way address that part of the problem. But perhaps they did and it wasn’t mentioned in this article.

  3. Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Putin’s attitude just seems like a continuation of the historic Russian attitude that they are the protectors of Orthodox Christian believers in the Middle East.
    Meanwhile our government under Obama seems to care little about the fate of Christians in that area.

    • “Putin’s attitude just seems like a continuation of the historic Russian attitude that they are the protectors of Orthodox Christian believers in the Middle East.”

      You are really painfully unaware of history.

      Such “Russian attitudes” usually went hand in hand with political/territorial ambitions in the region going back to the days of the czars. World War One was touched off over such concerns.

  4. Daniel Berry, NYC

    Relations of different groups in the middle east have to be a real headache for Orthodox bishops. I don’t suppose they are terribly pained by persecution of Muslims, but the anti-Semitism of the Russian church in particular is legendary. They won’t find it easy to make friends, even among other Christians.

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