Patriarch Bartholomew at a WCC event in 2012

Patriarch Bartholomew at a WCC event in 2012

The targeting of tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities can never be justified in the name of any religious creed or conviction, said Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople in a statement issued on 13 August.

“We will not remain indifferent or silent before such irrational persecution, cultural intolerance and appalling loss of life, especially when it is caused by religious hatred and racial hostility.”

Reiterating commitment to dialogue and reconciliation by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, a founding member of the World Council of Churches (WCC), Patriarch Bartholomew called upon religious and political leaders in the region to “promote conversation to resolve dispute, and to support peaceful means to overcome conflict.”

He stressed that the situation in Iraq is especially critical.

“We appeal to every responsible organization and every person of good will – beyond any support through perpetual and persistent prayer – to assist with material and humanitarian resources so that these innocent victims may no longer endure hunger, suffering and death,” said the Ecumenical Patriarch.

He went on to express his hope and prayer that “the God of love – worshipped by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike – may prevail over the false idols of fanaticism and prejudice.”

Read full text of the statement by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Patriarchs of Eastern Churches appeal for aid against forces of religious extremism (WCC news release of 18 August 2014)

Prayers and solidarity for churches in Northern Iraq (WCC news release of 8 August 2014)

WCC member churches in the Middle East