THE Prince of Wales has recorded a special Easter message in support of persecuted Christians and those of other faiths. The video message was broadcast by the Associated Press on Good Friday.
In it, Prince Charles says: “My heart goes out to all who this day, whatever their beliefs, are being persecuted on religious grounds.
“And at this time of Easter, when our minds are recalled to the suffering of Our Lord two thousand years ago, we think especially of those Christians who are suffering for their faith in many places around the world. I want to assure them that they are not forgotten and that they are in our prayers.”
A note from Clarence House said that the move had been inspired by Prince Charles’s recent meetings with Christian leaders from the Middle East, including the Coptic Pope, the Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, and the Melkite Archbishop of Zahle and Forzol.
The meetings were facilitated, in part, by the Christian charity Aid to the Church in Need, it said.
Prince Charles continues: “Over the years, I have met many who have had to flee for their faith and for their life — or have somehow endured the terrifying consequences of remaining in their country — and I have been so deeply moved, and humbled, by their truly remarkable courage and by their selfless capacity for forgiveness, despite all that they have suffered.
“I have also heard that in the darkness there are small shafts of light, signs of Resurrection and of hope that, slowly but surely, Christians who have had to flee from their homelands are beginning to return and to rebuild their shattered homes.”
He also remembers the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, who, he says, “occupies a unique and elevated position in both Christianity and Islam. She is the mother of our Lord and exalted in the Qur’an.
“All three Abrahamic faiths have known and continue to know the bitterness of persecution when religion has fallen into the barbaric grip of those who distort and misrepresent faith.
“This Easter I want to salute the fortitude of all those who, whatever their faith, are persecuted for remaining faithful to the true essence of their beliefs. I admire, and greatly respect, all those of you who find it in your hearts to pray for those who persecute you and, following the example of Christ, seek forgiveness for your enemies.”
Prince Charles concludes his message: “Jesus summarises the Ten Commandments into two requirements — that we should love God and love our neighbour as ourselves. It is, therefore, my special prayer this Eastertide that they will be your guide and your inspiration.”