A large number of church leaders from all over the world, today attended the opening of second International Conference on Christian Persecution in Budapest, Hungary. The conference will host meetings and debates for the next three days and participants include Hungary’s prime minister Victor Orban, Hungary’s minister tasked with the aid for persecuted Christians, Tristan Azbiye, His Holiness patriarch of the Syriac-Orthodox Church Mor Ignatios Afrem II, His Holiness patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East Mor Gewargis III Sliwa, Syriac-Catholic bishop of Baghdad Mor Afrem Yusif Mansur, bishop of Mosul Mor Afrem Yusif Mansur of the Chaldean-Catholic Church of Babel Mor Nejib Mixayel, father Josef Kassab of the Evangelical Church in Syria and Lebanon, patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Mathias and a large number of cardinals and bishops of the Nigerian church and other churches.
In his speech on the first conference day Syriac-Orthodox patriarch Mor Ignatios Afrem II explained the dramatic situation over the past couple of years of oriental Christians and he appealed to Europe and the West for urgent aid to Christians in the Middle East. The patriarch appealed for sanctions relief and to lift the financial boycott on Syria because it only affects the ordinary people of Syria. Furthermore, he appealed for more democratic governments in Middle-eastern countries in that human rights of all civilians are irrespective of religion or denomination. In his address the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East Mor Gewargis III Sliwa said “we are gathered here because of persecution of Christians in the Middle East. We are the oldest Christian peoples of the Middle East. Why do the persecutors target us?
Hungarian Prime Minister Orban said that his country has a responsibility to defend the christian and guarantee their presence in their homelands and the land lands of their grandfathers. Hungarian Minister Azbiye, responsible for the aid for persecuted Christians expressed his hope and confidence that his government will be able to increase its aid for projects that help the Christians of the ME through these dramatic times and continue living in their homelands.
After the general meetings ended on the first day, patriarch Mor Afrem II and Prime Minister Orban discussed the latest developments in the situation of Christians in the Middle East.