MOSCOW—The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, while speaking about atrocities being committed against Christians in Iraq and Syria brought the Ottoman Empire as an example of a government, which had laws in place that in his words “imposed order ensured relative security and stability in the lives of religious minorities.”
“Relations between Christians and Muslims have never been bright. There were instances of forceful Islamization, conquering of Christian lands, but, if we do not consider the military actions, which were also accompanied by losses on both sides, the Islamic world has never witnessed anything similar to the ongoing developments,” Kirill told the Rossiya 1 Channel.
“Let’s take, for example, the Ottoman Empire. Christian minorities were not exterminated there,” he added.
This prompted a spokesperson for the patriarch to clarify the pontiff’s remarks by issuing a statement clarifying his remarks, reported Armenpress.
The statement made by Deacon Alexander Volkov to the Armenian press on Monday said that the position of the Russian Church remains unchanged saying that the absence of such laws one hundred years ago under the Ottoman Empire is what has set the precedent for modern-day persecution of Christians in Iraq and Syria.
“This is the reason we call the current developments ‘genocide,’” said Volkov in his statement.
“The position of our Church toward the Armenian Genocide has been clearly mentioned several times in the numerous official statements and proclamations of the Patriarch. There are clear examples demonstrating our position toward the issue: the top level participation of the Russian Orthodox Church in the key events of the Armenian Apostolic Church, participation of His Holiness in the consecration of Armenian Church in Moscow, the visit of the delegation of the Russian Church to Yerevan in 2015 to participate in the remembrance events dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Genocide,” clarified Volkov.
“The position of the Russian Church remains unchanged. We always protected that position transparently and publicly in international, inter-Christian and inter-religious platforms and will continue to do so,” added Volkov.
The patriarch’s spokesperson did not say what prompted Kirill to make such a statement in the first place, nor, evidently was the clarification made to the Russian press as Armenpress reported that Volkov’s statement was made only to the Armenian media.