.- Middle Eastern Patriarchs reaffirmed the deep history of Christianity in the Middle East and called for its perseverance into the future at this week's In Defense of Christians summit in Washington, D.C.
They called for Western partners to remember that history, and to help keep Christianity in its ancient homeland, as people from around the world work for peace and an end to conflict in the Middle East.
“We as Christians in the Middle East: we are going to remain and stay there,” said the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch John X Yazigi. “We are not strangers in that part of the world: we are people of light and of truth.”
Patriarch John X spoke Oct. 24 at the opening press conference for the In Defense of Christians (IDC) 2017 Summit, bringing together Patriarchs of Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Churches, Middle Eastern Christians of all denominations, and policy leaders from the United States.
The organization and the summit seek to preserve and protect Christian and other religious minorities living in the Middle East.
This year’s theme for the Oct. 24-26 summit was American Leadership and Securing the Future of Christians in the Middle East.
The keynote speaker at the event was US Vice President Mike Pence, who promised direct American aid for persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) was the recipient of IDC's Cedars of God award.