Russia Takes Lead, Organizes International Forum to Discuss Middle East Christians

It discussed how to increase international Christian cooperation for giving aid to the suffering Christians and how to strengthen the moral values of young people

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The III International Christian Forum, focused on cultural and spiritual education of the youth and giving aid to the suffering Christians of the Middle East, was held in Moscow August 28-30, attracting more than 200 participants from Europe, former Soviet Union states, and the Middle East, reports Sedmitza.

The main purpose of the forum, held at Christ the Savior Cathedral, was the consolidation of the efforts of state authorities, Christian churches, and civil societal institutions in the work of cultural education and the strengthening of the moral values of young people and children, and familiarizing them with the history and traditions of Russia.

Participants in the forum hailed from Russia, Armenia, Greece, Georgia, Lebanon, Palestine, Serbia, and Syria. The event was organized by the “Christian World” Union for Promoting the Preservation of Traditional Spiritual Values in the person of the union’s president Alexei Cherkezov, with the support of the Department of National Policy and Interregional Relations of the City of Moscow, the “Russar” charitable fund, the Imperial Orthodox Palestinian Society, the Greek regional youth organization “Argo,” the Union of Armenians of Russia, the “United Caucasus” assembly, and the motorcycle club “Night Wolves.”

The delegates first of all drew focus to the problems of Christians in the Middle East, particularly in Syria and Iraq, who are being subjected to a real genocide by Muslim terrorists. “One of the main themes of the forums was the mechanisms for resisting the situation which has unfolded in the Middle East—the practice of genocide against Christians,” said one of the panelists, “Christian World” president Alex Cherkezov, as reports.

An opening message from Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, was read out: “The Russian Orthodox Church has made consistent efforts to fully support and protect Christians in the Middle East and North Africa. I hope that the III International Christian Forum will be able to contribute to the good cause of protecting the persecuted Christians and will testify to the power of the Christian spirit and solidarity in face of persecutions and trials.”

The conference included three discussions: “Contemporary Threats and Mechanisms of Protection for Religious Communities of the Middle East,” “Humanitarian Cooperation of NGOs in the Area of Natural Disasters and Military Conflicts,” and “Socially Active Business,” and the participants in the forum coordinated their efforts in the fight against extremism and in support of Christians of the Middle East.

The III international Christian Forum ended on August 30, resulting in the adoption of a memorandum with a proposal of concrete steps to strengthen interfaith relations with the aim of preserving the Christian heritage of the East.

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