... in proclaiming clearly the persecution of Christians in other lands we also affirm this faith in our land. To remain silent about this specific persecution is to neglect and weaken the awareness and role of this faith here.The paragraph that struck me from the addresses given by the Prince of Wales and Archbishop Nichols at an Advent reception with Christians from persecuted communities is that cited above, from the few words of Archbishop Nichols.
But the Prince of Wales did give an address that is worth reading, an address which reflects his own immediate experience of meeting with those who have suffered persecution and his own reflection on the historical context of the present day persecution. The address is a thoughtful and communicates a deeply held conviction on the part of Prince Charles:
For, despite what the brainwashed militants would have people believe, Christianity is not a “foreign” religion. As the atmospheric Chapel of St. Ananias in Damascus and countless other holy sites bear witness, Christianity has been part of the rich tapestry of life in the Middle East for two thousand years. And it was the early Middle Eastern church communities in places such as Antioch, Alexandria, Bosra in Syria, and Mesopotamia which eventually brought Christianity to Asia and the West. To take just one example, the Armenian Apostolic Church – which, of course, is the oldest Established national church in the world – traces its origins to the Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddaeus. And, ladies and gentleman, it is, perhaps, worth remembering that those of us who are members of the Church of England will be only too familiar with the Nicene Creed, whose words were first formulated in the Middle East in the fourth century. Far from Christianity being a “Western” religion, Christianity was born in – and shaped by – the East…!The original source for the texts is the website of the Catholic Church in England and Wales; they have also been posted here.
Prince Charles ended his address with the following words:
Above all, ladies and gentlemen – and however inadequate they may be – my special prayers are with you and all those in the Middle East and elsewhere who suffer iniquitous atrocities and perfidious persecution for whatever faith they may belong to.