exposing Christian persecution during the great fast: Wrong or Right?

edited December 1969 in Faith Issues
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit forever One God Amen

I recently watched a youtube video about the European parliment discussing an alarming rise in the persecution of Christians worldwide, centred around Egypt....

I posted it to my friends lists and asked them to send it on because it is something we condemn as Christians and we should stand up for equality and Justice for all...

a brother who is fairly new to the Orthodox faith...responded by saying i have missed the point of the fast, which is a time for fasting and prayer and calling on God to forgive us our personal sins (which i do agree)....he calls taking notice of such things engaging in politics....

My response to the brother was that he has missed the point of the true fast as it is more than he thinks which is what our Lord describes in Isaiah 58:5-12

please express your views on whether it is right or wrong to post info about the persecution of Our Brothers and Sisters or is it contrary to the true fast?


  • I think that it is good to be given to much prayer for our persecuted brethren around the world. If there is a need for some political activity then this does not strike me as entirely inappropriate if it is possible to remain prayerful. If we become very angry and uinable to control ourselves then this is not helpful to our spiritual state at any time, and especially during the fast.

    Last night I was present at the meeting of the Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches in London, of which I am the Secretary. The bishops and priests at the council agreed to send a letter to His Holiness Pope Shenouda expressing our prayerful sympathy with the suffering Church in Egypt, and for his difficult ministry; and also to His Holiness Mar Zakka Iwas, Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church, expressing similar sentiments with regard to the suffering of the Church in Iraq.

    My own bishop is often called to attend official meetings to try and allow converts to Christianity from Islam permission to stay in this country rather than be forced to return to their homelands. He engages in these activities even during the Fast.

    So I am not convinced it is always wrong to be concerned always about our suffering brethren. We should not believe that political action is the means to salvation, we should always trust in prayer, but if we have some small part to play in highlighting these situations then it seems to me that spending a few moments out of a day to pass on an email is not wasted time.

    We pray all of the time for those in captivity. If there is some practical help we can offer then it seems to be better to give that help, even during the Fast, than to wait until the Fast has ended, as if to help someone else might disturb our spiritual state.

    "What you have done for the least of these, you have done for me".

    But we must not think that political and practical action is the most important. It is always prayer, and prayer with fasting, which has most effect.

    In many periods and places the Church has considered it honorable for people to give money to allow for Christian captives to be freed. I do not believe that such funds were only received and spent outside of Lent.

    Father Peter
  • Thankyou very much for you reply father,

    I am in total agreement with your view, Prayer and fasting where we call upon the Lord is our Strongest weapon against satan, and this is not necessarily exclusive of doing other meaningful works, to relieve the suffering of our brothers worldwide....perhaps the brother who sent the email feels that he is at a low spiritual level and needs to focus on the core fasting activites, which is fine... i believe he should not try discourage those who may be a little more mature than him spiritually to stop engaging in such works e.g. interfaith dialogue should continue in the fast, evangelism should continue during the fast or according to his logic should we stop inviting people to the Orthodox Church or should the priest stop baptising people, should we all simply fast and pray at all times its ridiculos to advocate such beliefs.....because as the book of Acts tells us the Apostles appointed some to take over such daily tasks so those effective at prayer could do so, so both aspects of the Spiritual life are vitally important...

    Peace and Love

    Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Forever One God Amen
  • It is not wrong to express.  If you follow the sequence of Our Lord's Life from the raising of Lazarus until His Crucifixion, there were plenty of examples of direct political statements.  Your friends' comments are wrong.
  • Didn't Jesus rebuke the Pharisees when they told Him not to heal on the Sabbath? He told them that if they had a donkey stuck in a ditch, they would help it regardless of the day? I think the same principle applies here...
  • Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit

    Give thanks to all the brothers and sisters who have commented.

    Let us pray that the brothers heart is set on fire by the Holy Spirit, to do the will of God without misconceptions or fear.

  • At no time should the church NOT be defended.
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