FSPC and the Bishops’ Conference call for the protection of persecuted Christians in Turkey

The Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches and the Swiss Bishops’ Conference issued an appeal against the confiscation of land belonging to the Syrian Orthodox Mor Gabriel Monastery by the Turkish authorities.

It is with great dismay that the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) and the Swiss Bishops’ Conference (SBC) have observed serious hostility and attacks against Christians in a number of countries. This includes the ongoing attempts of the Turkish authorities to take action against the Syrian Orthodox Mor Gabriel Monastery by dubious means. The situation has again come to a head over the past few weeks.

The court of cassation in Ankara decided for the confiscation of significant parts of the monastery’s grounds. While the monastery has been accused of acquiring land in violation of the law, it was in fact founded in 397 and can prove the ownership of its land through valid documentation that had been recognized as proof by the previous court.

The FSPC and the SBC have followed with great concern how this 1600-year-old monastery is under threat by forces for whom the symbols of Christian life would seem to be a thorn in the side. Continual accusations have been leveled at the head of the church, Archbishop Mor Timotheos Samuel Aktas. The FSPC and the SBC have been supporting the monastery’s leaders to appeal against the verdict of the court of cassation.

The FSPC and the SBC have also called upon the Turkish government to recognize all of the country’s Christian groups and to guarantee their right to religious freedom. In the name of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches of Switzerland, the authors appealed to the Turkish government to decisively oppose such human rights violations, both as a candidate to join the European Union and as the current incumbent of the rotating presidency of the Council of Europe.

The FSPC and the SBC have asked their churches and congregations to remain vigilant with regard to developments in Turkey. The Christians of Switzerland are called upon to pray for their brothers and sisters in faith in Turkey.

» Appeal (german)

Author: 
SBC/FSPC