Beirut, November 14, 2011
"I am acting as the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, not as a political leader, a diplomat, or a political ambassador. My main concern in connection with the events taking place in the Middle East is the situation of Christians," Patriarch Kirill said while answering an Arab journalist's question about his attitude toward the decision made by the League of Arab States on Syria at a briefing at the Beirut airport.
The Patriarch said Syria has been an example of "peaceful and calm co-existence and interaction of the Muslim and Christian communities" for many years.
"Of course, we are concerned about what may happen. We see what has happened in Egypt and Iraq. We see the violence against Christians and we see an increase in Christianophobia, which is destroying the relations that have taken a lot of time and effort to build," Patriarch Kirill said.
The patriarch said he is hoping that "nothing like that will happen in Syria, Lebanon, or any other country in the Middle East or North Africa and in the entire world.
"The issue of interreligious relations is very important to Russia too. We have a special style of relations between Orthodox people and Muslims, and we treasure that. We believe that only peace between religions can maintain peace on our planet," Patriarch Kirill said.