The communiqué by the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Archbishop of Canterbury came at the end of a forum held in Istanbul. States should pursue perpetrators, protect victims, and promote hope.
Istanbul (AsiaNews) – The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby issued a joint statement at the end of a Forum on slavery held in Istanbul on 6-7 February.
In it, the two religious leaders condemn "all forms of human enslavement as the most heinous of sins inasmuch as it violates the free will and the integrity of every human being created in the image of God.”
They also call on “state leaders to find appropriate and effective ways of prosecuting those involved in human trafficking, preventing all forms of modern-day slavery, and protecting its victims in our communities and promoting hope wherever people are exploited.”
The aim of this gathering was to bring together distinguished scholars, practitioners, and policymakers from around the world to discuss modern slavery and emphasise the protection of human dignity and freedom as of vital importance for the Church as well as worldwide religious and human-rights communities.
This priority was clearly articulated at the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church in Crete (June 2016), where the Orthodox Primates and Hierarchs declared in their final Encyclical that “The Church lives not for herself. She offers herself for the whole of humanity in order to raise up and renew the world into new heavens and a new earth.”
In his address, the patriarch noted that “The Orthodox Church is often accused of neglecting the world for the sake of liturgical worship and spiritual life, turning primarily toward the Kingdom of God to come, disregarding challenges of the present. In fact, however, whatever the Church says, whatever the Church does, is done in the Name of God and for the sake of human dignity and the eternal destiny of the human being. It is impossible for the Church to close its eyes to evil, to be indifferent to the cry of the needy, oppressed and exploited. True Faith is a source of permanent struggle against the powers of inhumanity.”