The Houses of Parliament, churches, cathedrals, synagogues and universities were lit up in red yesterday to highlight the plight of persecuted religious minorities abroad.
The event – Red Wednesday – was organised by Aid to the Church in Need. Westminster Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, London Routemaster buses and Bolton town hall were also lit up in red to commemorate the persecuted.
On his Twitter account yesterday, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said: “In Communion this morning, we prayed for all victims of religious violence around the world – and for governments too. Peace between faiths means a shared commitment to love, truth and human dignity. May Christ give us grace to set an example. On #RedWednesday we must call on politicians to never use faith to motivate violence.”
He later posted a picture of Lambeth Palace floodlit in red, with the caption: “Lambeth Palace lit up for #RedWednesday tonight in solidarity with all those persecuted for their faith.”
At 6pm yesterday evening, Westminster Cathedral hosted a prayer service with Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of the Syriac Orthodox Church, based in Damascus, Syria, Shaykh Dr Umar Al-Qadri Ameer of the Al-Mustafa Islamic Educational and Cultural Centre, Dublin, and Dr Sarah Bernstein, director-general of the Jerusalem Centre for Jewish-Christian Relations, Israel.
Bishop Angaelos, Britain’s Coptic Orthodox leader, released a video message of solidarity with persecuted Christians. Speaking outside the Coptic Cathedral of Saint George he said: “Today this Red Wednesday we stand in solidarity with all those who suffer. Christians of the Middle East, people of other religions all around the world, people of no religion who are compelled in whatever way. Today we stand in solidarity and say to you we stand by your side, we understand the burdens you carry, we will do more than just speak. We pray for you, we speak for you, we continue to raise awareness of your plight.”