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WASHINGTON, May 6. /TASS/. Metropolitan Ilarion, the chief of Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations is expected to address the Word Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians, organized by the Billy Graham Evangelical Association.
The summit will take place in Washington from May 10 through May 13, sources at the department of Moscow Patriarchate’s parishes in the U.S. told TASS on Friday. The Administrator of the parishes, Bishop John, will also be on the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church at the forum.
The current head of the association that was set up by Pastor Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, said the organizers would like the event to shed clear light to the whole world on the ongoing persecutions of Christians and help reverse this highly dangerous tendency.
All in all, the summit is likely to bring tougher more than 600 guests from 130 countries. Many other local (national) Orthodox Churches, including the autocephalous Church in America will have their delegations at the forum. Roman Catholics and Protestants in all of their diversity will also be present.
Even now that the world is moving steadily towards the third decade of the 21st century, Christians continue to be the most persecuted religious community in the world. According to the data published by the Italian author and sociologist Massimo Introvigne, about 90,000 disciples of Christianity were killed across the world last year. The U.S.-based Open Doors association says about 215 million Christians living in 50 countries most hostile to Jesus Christ’s word are subjected to very severe or extreme persecution. ‘
The scope of issues for discussion includes religious extremism and militarism and the rebuffing of militants who espouse religious ideologies. Representatives of Syria and Canada will act as moderators at the sessions.
Franklin Graham said the Christians needed to cooperate with state agencies of different countries and with international organizations, including the UN, in their cause of defending religious rights and freedoms.
He also said it was important for U.S. society and for politicians in Washington to realize what was happening in reality.
U.S. President Donald Trump signed a new executive order on protection of free speech and religious liberties a few days ago.