In a commentary to the TASS news agency, Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, the new chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, pointed to the danger of continued manifestations of extremism against Christian shrines in the Holy Land. One of the latest such incidents was the attack on the chapel of the Jerusalem Patriarchate on Mount Zion on June 6 by a group of radical individuals.
In his commentary, the metropolitan said, “Children of the Russian Church treat the Holy Land with special reverence. For centuries, our pilgrims have sought to venerate the places associated with biblical events and the earthly life of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The rise of extremism poses a threat to the safety of common Christian shrines and calls into question the possibility of access to them.
We are disturbed by the latest fact of the defiant desecration of the chapel of the Jerusalem Patriarchate on Mount Zion. The Russian Orthodox Church strongly supports His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilus of Jerusalem, who, along with other local Christian leaders, is fighting to maintain a Christian presence in Jerusalem and throughout the Holy Land. We will continue to do everything in our power to support our brothers and draw the attention of the world community to this problem.
I hope that the Israeli state authorities will promptly respond to the lawlessness that has taken place, find a way to restrain the manifestations of extremism and ensure the harmonious and peaceful coexistence of the communities of the three world religions in their holy city.”
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