The Russian Orthodox Church and the Evangelical Association of Billy Graham are planning to jointly organize an international conference, whose participants are to discuss the problems of persecution of Christians in different countries of the world. The organizers expect that this forum will be attended by about a thousand leaders of various churches and communities.
About the joint project told on Friday on a press-conferences in Moscow the President of the Association of American preacher Franklin Graham, who the day before talked with the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill, reports RIA «Novosti».
According to Graham, during the meeting with the Primate of the ROC and head of the Department for external Church relations of Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alphaeus), agreement was reached that within a year or a year and a half, this conference will be organized.
«We will invite nearly a thousand Church leaders from around the world to discuss the persecution of Christians,» said Graham. He expressed particular concern about the situation of Christians in the middle East. «Over the past 10 years the number of Christians in Iraq, according to a recently published report from the British government, declined from 1.6 million to 300 thousand,» — said the preacher. «We are gravely concerned by the threat that Christianity will disappear in the middle East in the next five years,» added Graham.
He commended the activities of the ROC. «Her strong voice in defense of morality is very important in a world in which we live,» said the head of the Association.
Answering the question of RIA «Novosti» about the obstacles for preaching Christianity, Graham said that they are mainly found in Muslim countries. «But we live in the Internet age, which allows us to carry the gospel into those countries, which choose to go. And we see how many people from these countries interested in Christianity and faith,» explained the American pastor.
Franklin Graham is the son of world-renowned preacher Billy Graham, has repeatedly came to the USSR and Russia and has established warm relations with the Russian Orthodox Church. Graham Sr. was a spiritual Advisor to five American presidents, who belonged to the Republican party.