A senior British cleric, along with other members of the Anglican clergy, have signed an open letter of protest to the British government, alleging that the government has neglected to recognize the plight of Christians in the Middle East.
ChristianToday.com reports that London Vicar Fr. Christopher Phillips, along with other clergy members, are demanding to know why the British government refused visas to three leading Middle East clerics.
The British government does not give visas to people from Syria for security reasons, but the clergy maintain they should have made exceptions for the Archbishop of Mosul, the Archbishop of St. Matthews, and the Archbishop of Homs and Hama.
The three Middle East clerics were invited to the U.K. to attend the consecration of the Syriac Orthodox Cathedral in London, but they were unable to come after the British government denied them visas, claiming that the clerics did not have enough money and would not be able to leave England once there.
"We are therefore dismayed that the applications of the Archbishops of Mosul, St Matthew's, and Homs and Hama for visas to attend the service should have been refused by your office. Each of the dioceses represented by the Archbishops covers territory that has been taken over by Daesh/IS, and Christians there are subject to extreme forms of persecution.,” Fr. Phillips wrote to the government.
"These are respected Christian leaders, whose bona fides could easily have been checked with the Archbishop of Canterbury's office at Lambeth Palace, or with the Syriac Orthodox Church in this country,” he continued.
Phillips concluded that he could no longer remain silent on the issue of Christian persecution in the Middle East:
"Seeing recent reports about St Thomas' and the Archbishops' visas, I decided I could no longer remain silent and resolved to do something, however small, to try to help,” he told Christian Today. “I very much hope that the government will review the way that they consider visas in order to ensure that there is a sensible system of checking credentials. It is very important that respected Christian leaders from areas of persecution are able to travel freely as part of their ministry, to draw attention to the suffering of their people."
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Publication date: December 9, 2016