Prince Charles donates to persecuted Christians after meeting Iraqi and Syrian refugees

Prince Charles (centre) recently spoke at an advent reception hosted by Cardinal Vincent Nichols (left) where he met Syrian and Iraqi Christians who had fled persecutionACN

Prince Charles has donated money to persecuted Christians after meeting several Iraqi and Syrian refugees.

The undisclosed gift was made from the Prince of Wales' charitable foundation to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), and follows a speech he made on persecuted Christians at an advent reception last month.

The growing crisis of extremism could threaten "the very existence of Christianity in the land of its birth," he warned at the event where he also met Syrian and Iraqi Christians who had fled persecution.

Neville Kyrke-Smith, UK national director of ACN, thanked the Prince for his gift and said it could have a far reaching impact.

"Having met Iraqi and Syrian refugees recently in Lebanon, I know how much such help means – and the fact that our brothers and sisters are not forgotten," he said.

"The support of the Prince of Wales for the work of Aid to the Church in Need and other organisations encourages more people to do the same."

It is not the first time the Prince has supported persecuted Christians. He has previously donated what was described as a "small token of assistance" to ACN and has regularly spoken of the threat Christianity faces in the Middle East, which he said is an "indescribable tragedy".

ACN works with persecuted and oppressed Christians around the world and has recently announced a series of extra emergency aid for people in the Middle East.

Last year, ACN UK paid over £1.5 million to support projects in the Middle East, including Iraq and Syria where the charity has 140 recent and current projects. Since the outbreak of conflict in the region in 2011, ACN has given more than £11 million for projects in Iraq and more than £7 million for Syria.