WEA Secretary General Meets with Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople to Discuss Refugee Crisis in Syria and Iraq

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New York, NY - November 25, 2014

Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) recently met with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, in Istanbul, Turkey. Together they discussed the current crisis and the plight of Christians in Syria, Iraq and the Middle East region. A specific emphasis of the conversation was on the importance of responding to the increasing number of refugees, ensuring their protection in the short-term and creating ways for them to later return to their homeland.

“This was an important meeting where we able discuss areas of common concern. We spent a considerable amount of time discussing the current crisis in the Iraq and Syria where thousands of Christians as well as other minorities are at great risk. We agreed this was an important moment for the global church to stand united with our brothers and sisters who are facing great hardship,” said Dr. Tunnicliffe.

Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe (right) with Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople 

The meeting was built on a long-term relationship between the WEA’s Theological Commission and the Patriarch, who represents some 300 million Orthodox Christians in the world.

In recent years, the WEA and its International Institute for Religious Freedom have also been very active in defending the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarch and Orthodox Churches in places where they faced persecution.

Dr. Tunnicliffe was accompanied by members of the Theological Commission, Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher and Dr. John Baxter-Brown. Together with leading theologians of the Patriarchate, they started conversations on formalizing the dialogue into an in-depth long-term working group that will establish what evangelicals and Orthodox Christians have in common, and where they disagree.

“The meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch resulted in a similar achievement as the meeting with Pope Francis only a few weeks earlier,” Dr. Tunnicliffe commented, adding that: “Persecution of Christians matters to all of us and we can accomplish more, if we work together with those of other Christian confessions.”

See also:
> International Institute for Religious Freedom (IIRF)



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Over two billion Christians in the world today are represented by three world church bodies. The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is one of those, serving and representing more than 600 million evangelicals. Launched in 1846 to unite evangelicals worldwide, the WEA continues to be a dynamic movement with 7 regional and 129 national Evangelical Alliances, and over 150 member organizations. WEA's mission is to speak as a trusted voice, to equip members and leaders for global impact and to connect its members and others for common action in the furtherance of God’s reign. For more info e-mail at [email protected] or go to Worldea.org.