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“For many years the leaderships of the countries of Europe have been combatting so-called Islamophobia and antisemitism, while at the same time they forget that for along time now in Europe there is such a thing as Christianophobia, and that the passing over in silence of the Christian tradition, the ignoring of Christian symbols is what European Union citizens repeatedly run up against at the present,” said the chairman of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate the metropolitan of Volokolamsk Hilarion. He was commenting on the case highlighted by the media in Sweden when a child during a photo session was required by the photographer to remove his cross since, the child was told, the presence of a religious symbol on his breast “may offend the other schoolchildren.”

Metropolitan Hilarion noted that the incident in Sweden was far from an isolated one. “This has become almost the dominant trend in modern-day Europe,” stated the DECR chairman. “That is, Europe is consciously rejecting its Christian roots, consciously passes over in silence its Christian past and present, and Christians in Europe are now feeling themselves to be a discriminated against minority.”

An eloquent illustration to this situation was the drafting of the Constitution of Europe which was unsuccessfully drawn up at the beginning of the 2000s, the metropolitan noted. “In the published draft it was stated that Europe was the inheritor of the Greco-Roman tradition, but not a single word was said of Christianity. This, of course, created great indignation among Christians throughout all of Europe as Christianity is an integral part of the European identity. All you have to do is to go to any European city and look at the architecture to see how many Christian churches there are and realize how important Christianity is and was for the past for the continent of Europe.”

“So, when we hear that crucifixes are removed from school classrooms and assembly halls, that schoolchildren are forced to remove their crosses in order not to shock Muslims (although why would they be shocked at a Christian wearing a cross?), all of this evokes within my memory recollections of our comparatively recent past when teachers tore crosses off schoolchildren at a time when atheist ideology and atheist propaganda dominated Russia,” the metropolitan emphasized.

“I hope very much that Europe does not go as far as this and repeat those same mistakes which we in Russia paid for so dearly,” the metropolitan said in conclusion.

Communications Service of the DECR