Upon his visit on Wednesday to the Syrian Orthodox Church in Acton, The Prince of Wales noted his sadness during his address to the congregation.
“I need hardly say that the murder of one hundred and forty-one people, one hundred and thirty-two of them children, in Peshawar yesterday by fanatics claiming to act in the name of Islam was a sickening example of such sacrilege. It was also a horrific reminder that Muslims themselves are the victims of the violent intolerance of the extremists. The many, many families in Pakistan who have lost children, other relatives, friends and colleagues in the massacre are in my prayers this afternoon,” Prince Charles stated in his address.
The Prince for years has worked tirelessly to foster inter-faith dialogue and a stronger awareness of different religions in Britain and abroad. His speech was one of heartfelt sadness yet hope for a better future in the Middle East.
“I have been deeply distressed by the horrific scenes of violence and bestial brutality coming out of the Middle East where Christianity was born including from countries, let us remember, like Syria, to which St. Paul went to preach the Gospel and where Christians have lived peaceably with their neighbours for nearly two thousand years.”
The Prince of Wales concluded his speech offering his prayers:
“Archbishop, Ladies and Gentlemen in the meantime, I can only leave you with my prayers and blessings, however inadequate they may be, together with these words of St. Paul’s, which resonate across two millennia – “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed”.
Charles has visited both Coptic and Orthodox centres of worship both home and abroad over the years. Meeting with members of both communities, he has voiced concern about the challenges that exist for Christians in Middle Eastern countries as well as get together with those who live in the UK, to discuss said challenges in his own country.
In December 2013, The Prince of Wales and HRH Prince Ghazi of Jordan jointly visited the Coptic Orthodox Church Centre in Stevenage and the Syrian Orthodox Church in Acton.
The full text of Prince Charles’s speech may be found at: A speech by HRH The Prince of Wales at the Syrian Orthodox Church, Acton, London
Featured Photo Credit: Chloe Howard 2014