Metropolitan Hilarion, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, commented on a case that became known to the media when a 15-year-old student was not allowed to wear a cross when posing for a group photo in a Swedish school earlier this autumn. According to the 15-year-old, who wished to remain anonymous, a female photographer asked him to take the cross off, venturing that it would be offensive to include it in the school photo.
“For many years, the leadership of European countries have been fighting against the so-called Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, but they forget that such a phenomenon as Christianophobia has existed in Europe for a long time. Citizens of the European Union constantly face the suppression of the Christian tradition and a disregard of Christian symbols,” the metropolitan was quoted by the official website of the Russian Orthodox Church.
According to Metropolitan Hilarion, the incident that occurred in Sweden is not an isolated one. “This is becoming almost the dominant trend in modern Europe,” said the DECR chairman. “That is, Europe deliberately renounces its Christian roots, deliberately conceals its Christian past and present, and already Christians in Europe begin to feel like a discriminated minority, while they are still quantitatively the majority.”
A perfect illustration of the current situation was the story with the draft of the European Constitution, which they unsuccessfully tried to create in the early 2000s, the archpastor noted: “The published draft said that Europe is the heir to the Greco-Roman tradition, but there was not a single mention of Christianity. This, of course, caused much outrage among Christians throughout Europe, because Christianity is an integral part of European identity. It is enough to come to any city in Europe and to look at its architecture in order to see how many Christian churches there are, and to understand what significance Christianity has and had in the past for the European continent.”
“Therefore, when we hear that a cross was taken out from school classes and auditoriums, that a school student was forced to take off his cross so as not to shock Muslims (although why should they be shocked that he, as a Christian, wears a cross?). All this reminds me about our still relatively recent past, when teachers tore off the crosses from schoolchildren, because atheistic ideology and atheistic propaganda prevailed in our country,” emphasized Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk.
“I hope very much that Europe will not get into such a situation, will not repeat the mistakes for which we have paid a very high price,” the archpastor concluded.