The 'foreign minister' of the Russian Orthodox Church's Moscow Patriarchate has claimed that Christianity is dying out in Europe and being replaced with 'the monopoly of the secular idea'.
Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev), who was speaking at a conference organised by the Russian Embassy in London in front of diplomats, politicians, entrepreneurs and religious figures, said: '[The] monopoly of the secular idea has affirmed itself in contemporary Europe. Its manifestation is the discrimination of religious vision in the social sphere.'
He added: 'Other peoples will live in Europe in the future, with other faiths, other cultures, and other paradigms of values.' The cause, Hilarion said, was liberalism, or 'the realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all fields of civil, economic, political, social and cultural life'.
Hilarion appealed for this to be countered by unity among the Churches. 'In the current conditions of oppression by power groups that propose ideas incompatible with the traditional views of Christian morality, it is indispensable to unite Church efforts to counter these processes, to act together in the field of information and legal support, and in the propagation of common Christian values at all levels,' he said.
'Christians in Europe must strive to defend their values on which the continent has been built for centuries, and listen to the lamentations and sufferings of Christians from all over the globe.'
According to Asia News, the Metropolitan cited among challenges 'changing the ethical and religious landscape of Europe' the migration crisis seen as the most serious since the end of World War II and caused by 'military conflicts and economic problems in the Middle East'.
Asia News reported that the Russian prelate cited the official data of the Frontex agency, according to which 1.8 million migrants arrived in the EU alone; according to the UN, the number of migrants in European countries increased from 49.3 million in 2000 to 76.1 million in 2015.
He also referred to figures showing that 1.3 per cent of the adult population (66 million people) are planning to move definitively from their country mainly towards to the most affluent European nations.