As Lithuania expresses solidarity with the world's persecuted Christians, a Syrian Jesuit priest says he has hope that countless refugees will be able to return home and expect not to be persecuted for their religious beliefs.
© AFP/Scanpix

Ziad Hilal said in a news conference at the parliament building in Vilnius on Monday that over 5 million people have fled civil war-torn Syria and another 12 million have been displaced within the country, which had a population of 22 million before the outbreak of the conflict in 2011.

Hilal, a refugee himself, named several Christian missionaries who were kidnapped and killed several years ago.

"We don't want to become refugees living in Europe. We want Syrian people to live in a safe and peaceful Syria," he said.

According the priest, the Syrian Christian community, which makes up about 7 percent of the country's population, is one of the largest in the region.

Mark von Riedemann, director for public affairs at the Aid to the Church in Need, said that Christian persecution is widespread in other countries as well.

Von Riedemann called on European governments to pay attention to this "underestimated" problem and "assume responsibility".

"I want to thank Lithuania as a country taking part in this call to raise awareness of Christian minorities in countries where they currently suffer persecution and oppression," he said.

"If our generation allows this to go on, we will have to assume a huge responsibility for this in history books."

BNS
It is prohibited to copy and republish the text of this publication without a written permission from UAB „BNS“.
Leave a comment
or for anonymous commenting click here
By posting, you agree to terms
Read comments Read comments

Pope Francis confirms Lithuanian Giedraitis as blessed

Mykolas Giedraitis, a secular Augustinian born in Lithuania in the 15th century, has been confirmed as...

Lithuania's emigration rate falls, but more people leave than arrive

Lithuania's emigration rate fell by 14.2 percent in the ten months of 2018 compared with a year ago,...

Vilnius unveils plaque to mark 100th anniversary of Lithuania's 1st government

A commemorative plaque was unveiled in Vilnius on Friday on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of...

Lithuanian town of Vandžiogala unveils monument to Jews killed in 1941

A monument to the Jews who were killed in Vandžiogala in 1941 was unveiled in the small town in the...

Lithuania's top court adjourns hearing of gay rights case hearing

Lithuania's Constitutional Court of Thursday adjourned the hearing of a case on the rights of gay...