Bishop Angaelos, the general bishop of the Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, told Christian Today he rejected Viktor Orban’s approach.
“The distinction should be based on people’s need, not their religion.”
Nationalist conservative Orban attacked EU immigration policy earlier today as misguided and dangerous. He warned the influx of what he saw as Muslim migrants posed a threat to Europe’s apparently Christian identity.
“Those arriving have been raised in another religion, and represent a radically different culture. Most of them are not Christians, but Muslims,” he said.
“Is it not worrying in itself that European Christianity is now barely able to keep Europe Christian?”
“There is no alternative, and we have no option but to defend our borders,” he concluded.
Bishop Angaelos took Orban to task for his comments and called for governments and agencies to work collaboratively to tackle the needs emerging from “this humanitarian disaster.”
“I don’t think we can afford to be tribal at this moment,” he said.
“When talking about accepting people into countries, it should be the ones at the greatest risk. Often that is the Christians,” he added.
European Council president Donald Tusk also strongly disagreed with Orban’s understanding of a Christian approach to the crisis.
“Referring to Christianity in a public debate on migration must mean in the first place the readiness to show solidarity and sacrifice,” he said.
The cost to human life was brought to the fore yesterday when five children were among 12 Syrians who drowned off the coast of Turkey while trying to reach Greece.
Images of a washed-up body of a three-year-old boy, who died alongside his mother and five-year old brother, circulated widely on social media.