Prince Charles attended a service at Westminster Abbey in London on Tuesday, he delivered a message of hope to Christians facing persecution in the Middle East. The service paid tribute to the contributions of Christians in the region.
Prince Charles delivered a message of hope to Christians facing persecution in the Middle East as he attended a Westminster Abbey service on Tuesday evening.
The Duke of Cornwall, 70, insisted ‘extremism and division are not inevitable’ as he joined the Archbishop of Canterbury for the service celebrating the contribution of Christians in the region.
The prince said he was privileged to have met so many ‘with such inspiring faith and courage’ who were battling oppression and persecution, or who have fled to escape it.
Delivering a speech, Charles said of the Middle East: ‘Throughout history, in these lands which are the cradle of faith for Jews, Muslims and Christians, communities of different beliefs have shown that it is possible to live side by side as neighbours and friends.
‘Indeed, I know that in Lebanon Muslims join Christians at the Shrine of our Lady of Lebanon to honour her together.
‘And I know that there are Muslim faith leaders who have spoken out in defence of Christian communities and of their contribution to the region.’
The service was attended by more than 1,000 people including congregations from the Coptic Orthodox Church Centre, Syriac Catholic Church and Iraqi Chaldean Catholic Church, all visited by Charles in recent years.
The prince added: ‘Co-existence and understanding are not just possible, therefore; they are confirmed by hundreds of years of shared experience.
‘Extremism and division are by no means inevitable.
‘All three of the great Abrahamic faiths believe in a loving, just and merciful God who cares for creation, who cares for his creatures and who expects us to care for one another.’
Charles ended his address by saying:
‘So in this season of Advent, as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, who himself knew exile, injustice and suffering, I can only assure you of our steadfast support and most heartfelt prayers as you take forward your works of restoration, justice and healing, so that God’s will might be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Charles’ appearance comes after the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote an article warning that Christians in the Middle East are facing ‘imminent extinction’. Justin Welby said followers of the faith were subject to the ‘daily threat of murder’ and the situation was the worst ‘since the Mongol invasions of the 13th century’. The stark warning came as the Archbishop urged the Government to take in more refugees.
Figures suggest that just one in 400 Syrian refugees given asylum in the UK last year was a Christian.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show ahead of a special service at Westminster Abbey, Mr Welby said: ‘The plight of Christians in many parts of the Middle East has become more and more acute.
‘As we approach Christmas, we need to pray for them and speak out for them’.
Source and photo: The Daily Mail