Russian Orthodox Church

Official website of the Moscow Patriarchate

Русская версияУкраинская версияМолдавская версияГреческая версияАнглийская версия
Patriarchate

Metropolitan Hilarion: The threat to the presence of Christians in the Holy Land cannot but cause concern to the Russian Church

Metropolitan Hilarion: The threat to the presence of Christians in the Holy Land cannot but cause concern to the Russian Church
Version for print
16 December 2021 year 13:58

In an interview given to RIA Novosti news agency Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, spoke about the Statement on the current threat to the Christian presence in the Holy Land made by the heads of Local Churches of Jerusalem.

– Recently an action initiated by Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem aimed at protecting the Christian presence in the Holy Land was held in Jerusalem. A few days after, the heads of the Christian Churches of Jerusalem issued a statement. What is the reason for this concern?

– Jerusalem is a unique city which is held sacred by the three religions. Many wars had been fought for centuries to have it; there had been a lot of struggle and enmity. No one has won a victory, but this complicated process has resulted in the establishment of a certain balance of forces. It has been achieved through suffering of many generations, and its upsetting may have grave consequences.

Jerusalem is historically divided into the Christian, the Muslim and the Jewish quarters. The Patriarchate of Jerusalem has been trying for many years to contest the unlawful purchase by a radical group of the Patriarchate’s property located by the Jaffa Gate in the Christian quarter. Actually, we are talking not only about an eventual loss of unrestricted access to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the road to which starts from the Jaffa Gate, but also about the threat to the Christian presence in Jerusalem. This is a very dangerous tendency that may lead to the loss of the status quo and step-by-step ousting of Christians from the city which is the cradle of Christianity. This is the problem that not only the Orthodox, but all Christians are facing. That is why the heads of all Christian Churches in the Holy Land have sided with His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos.

– Can the changes and threats you have named affect Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church?

– The Church of Jerusalem and the Russian Church are near each other in the diptych, occupying the fourth and the fifth places respectively, but this does not explain our nearness; we are near because Russia has always deeply revered the Church of Jerusalem as the mother of all Churches since it is the first Christian Church founded in Jerusalem. Russia has always venerated the holy places associated with the earthly life of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Church of Jerusalem has been a diligent custodian of these holy places for centuries.

The tradition of pilgrimage to the Holy Land appeared in Russia right after the adoption of Christianity. During many centuries our ancestors have been longing to make their way into Jerusalem to worship at the holy sites and venerate the Holy Sepulchre. The rulers of Russia have always considered it their duty to help preserve Christian shrines.

The current threat to the Christian presence in the Holy Land cannot but cause concern to the Russian Church. We fully share anxiety of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and join it in calling the Israeli authorities to do all in their power to protect the Christian community of Jerusalem and respond to the request of the church leaders in the Holy Land to create a special Christian heritage zone in Old City for the sake of preserving the unique character of the Christian quarter.

DECR Communication Service/Patriarchia.ru

Version: Russian, Greek

Materials on the theme

Russian Ecclesiastical Mission commemorates its heavenly patron

Head of Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Israel meets with Russian Ambassador

Russian Church representatives convey Christmas greetings to Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem

Clergy of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission celebrate Liturgy in Bethlehem Grotto of the Nativity

Several humanitarian projects in Africa carried out in cooperation with Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa

Metropolitan Eugene of Tallinn is forced to leave Estonia

DECR chairman meets with the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Antioch

Bishop Pitirm of Jakarta meets with Russia’s Ambassador to Laos

Ukrainian authorities try to withhold information from world community regarding facts of violation of believers’ rights

Hierarchs of the Malankara Church have called for the speedy release of Metropolitan Jonathan of Tulchin and Bratslav

Patriarch Porfirije of Serbia: Father Superior of the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra given custodial sentence for his religious affiliation

Patriarch Kirill meets with delegation of the World Council of Churches.

DECR deputy chairman meets with Iranian diplomats

DECR chairman meets with the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Antioch

DECR chairman concelebrates Liturgy with Patriarch of Antioch at Russian Church’s Metochion in Damascus

Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk begins working visit to Syria

The Primate of the Orthodox Church in America visits the Synodal Residence of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad in New York

DECR deputy chairman meets with Iranian diplomats

DECR chairman meets with leader of the Israeli Druze community

The DECR Chairman took part in the international Muslim forum

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill presides over jubilee meeting of Inter-Religious Council of Russia

Acting Exarch of Africa meets with Primate of Coptic Church

Acting Patriarchal Exarch of Africa meets representatives of Ancient Oriental Churches in the South African Republic

Representative of Egyptian monasticism arrived in Russia

Meeting with representatives of Armenian Diocese of Russia and New Nakhichevan takes place at Theological Institute of Postgraduate Studies