- Who are the Archons?
The Order of the Archons of Saint Andrew – the “first-called” apostle and brother of Saint Peter, and the founder of the Christian Church of Constantinople – is a group of several hundred accomplished Greek Orthodox laymen, mostly from the United States. They have been drawn together by their devotion to their Church, and have dedicated their lives and all manner of their personal resources to the fundamental mission of promoting the religious freedom, well-being, and advancement of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in an often hostile environment. In the course of their efforts, they have been honored by the Ecumenical Patriarch himself for their service to the Church and the faith they share, with membership in the order of Saint Andrew.
- Is there really a problem of Christians being persecuted?Yes.· While about 30 percent of the world’s population identifies as Christian, 80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination are directed at Christians. (Source: International Society for Human Rights).· Christians face persecution in more than 60 Countries (U.S. State Department)· Millions of Christians face interrogation, arrest, torture, and/or death because of their religious convictions and cultural/ethnic identification (Source: Open Doors USA)· Between 2007 and 2014, Christians have been targeted for harassment in more countries than any other religious group. (Pew Research)· Christian responses to persecution are almost always nonviolent and, with very few exceptions, do not involve acts of terrorism. (Under Caesar’s Sword)
- Where are Christians facing persecution today?According to the persecution watchdog group Open Doors USA, ten worst countries in the world today for Christians, with the worst ranked first, are these:1. North Korea2. Afghanistan3. Somalia4. Sudan5. Pakistan6. Eritrea7. Libya8. Iraq9. Yemen10. IranOther areas where Christians live in constant fear of violence and harassment are India, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Nigeria, and Syria.
- Who is persecuting Christians?
The chief persecutors of Christians today are Islamic groups, along with totalitarian atheistic governments such as that of North Korea, and authoritarian governments such as that of Eritrea.
- Why are Christians facing persecution?
The Lord Jesus Christ said that Christians would always face persecution: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (St. John 15:18). The persecution of Christians is often a manifestation of deep opposition to the teachings and values of the Church. The principles of Christianity will always appear as a rebuke to some in this world.
- How is the Ecumenical Patriarchate being persecuted?The Order of Saint Andrew has identified five principal issues of concern:1) the lack of any legal identity afforded to it by the Turkish state;2) the closing in 1971 of the Patriarchates theological seminary and the resultant inability to train new clergy;3) confiscation of thousands of properties by the host government;4) interference in Patriarchal elections;5) the non-recognition of the Patriarchates historic and venerable “Ecumenical” status.All these conditions go to the very core of this ancient religious community’s very ability to survive.
- What should Orthodox and other Christians do about this persecution?Above all, we should heed the words of the Lord Jesus: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (St. Matthew 5:44)The Archons also hope that the news presented on this site about the persecution of Christians worldwide will help to inspire concerted efforts by governments, human rights organizations, and other relevant entities to alleviate their plight.