Christian persecution is happening in the world, whether it’s by ISIS terrorist groups in the Middle East or Boko Haram terrorists in Africa, and some have grouped together to address the growing problem. CBN News reports that Franklin Graham recently announced a “Global Christian Persecution Summit” which will take place in Moscow, Russia, sometime later this year. Evangelist Graham, the son of renowned evangelist Billy Graham, wrote on his Facebook page that 2015 had been reported as the worst year for Christian persecution. Graham announced on the FB page that “The World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians” would be held in Moscow, Russia, from October 28-30, 2016. The summit is being organized by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the Russion Orthodox Church.
Graham stated in the FB post that no church in modern history had suffered more than the ROC and that he had met with Patriarch Kirill, who is the head of the ROC, and other evangelical leaders. At the meeting, Graham and the other leaders discussed the persecution of the church worldwide. Patriarch Kirill had said in an interview published in February that “I strongly believe that we should work together in order to save our society from de-Christianization – because, facing increasing atheistic pressure, which has become quite aggressive in some countries, Christians are being squeezed out of public life.”
Graham says that the summit will shed a global spotlight on the crisis and bring delegates from around the world to join hands with people of other churches and denominations to pray for “our brothers and sisters in Christ.”
In a Christian Post article, it was stated that Graham’s announcement of the summit came after a report by Open Doors USA about 2015 being the worst year for Christian persecution on a global scale in the modern era. In 2015, an estimated 7,000 Christians were killed for their faith, which was a 50 percent increase from 2014, according to the CP article.
David Curry, CEO and President of Open Doors said, “Islamic extremism continues to be the primary driving force behind the expansion of persecution.”
“It is no longer just a Christian problem, but a global problem that must be addressed…As the dominant power in the free world, [the U. S.] must lead the change in bringing more relief and aid to those suffering.”
The CP article also pointed out that the summit is a collaboration between two groups that have not always agreed with each other, evangelicals and the Orthodox. In 2011, CBN had reported on the concerns that some Russian evangelicals had about the growing power of the Orthodox Church in the former USSR. CBN also reported, “Since the early 1990s, the Church has grown in size and influence as its relationship with the Russian government has improved significantly. However, that cozy relationship worries the country’s evangelicals.”
“The Orthodox Church’s biggest competitors are the evangelical, charismatic congregations, which are experiencing tremendous growth.”
Graham also wrote more about the persecution of the ROC on his FB page, saying, “In the years under Communist rule, virtually all of the priests, pastors, and church leaders in Russia were imprisoned or executed by the Communists, and their graves are on the outskirts of Moscow and throughout the country serving as a reminder.”
“So Moscow will be a fitting and meaningful location for this much-needed summit.”
Graham also mentioned that Prince Charles of Britain had warned that “Christianity might be entirely erased from the land of its birth in the Middle East within five years.” Graham further drove the point home by mentioning that “we saw beheadings, torture, imprisonment, and more in many countries around the world.”
[Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jim Cole]