Christianity in Europe is dying out, says Russian Orthodox leader

The Christian faith in Europe is dying out amidst the rise of secularization and the discrimination against religious ideals in the region, according to the Moscow Patriarchate's "Foreign Minister" Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev).

(REUTERS / Maxim Shemetov)Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Russian Orthodox Church's foreign relations department, attends an interview with Reuters in Moscow May 16, 2014.

Speaking to delegates of a conference organized by the Russian Embassy in London on Sept. 22, Hilarion highlighted the future of Christianity in Europe in light of the intense persecution that Christians were experiencing. He noted that the main problem appeared to be the "secularization of European society" and said various sources showed that more than half of the people in the region claim they do not have a religion, Asia News relayed.

In addition, the Russian bishop said "the monopoly of the secular idea has affirmed itself in contemporary Europe." Expounding on his statement, he said the defense of life and natural sexual orientation is starting to die out and pointed to the growth of liberal ideology as the root cause of all these problems.

At the end of his speech, Metropolitan Hilarion appealed with Christian churches to unite in fighting the imminent death of Christianity in Europe. He also said the Christians in the region must keep on defending their values and heed the cries of the persecuted and suffering believers in other parts of the world.

Earlier this month, the Atlantic Sentinel said America was following the path of Europe in terms of the decreasing number of Christians. The publication cited a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute which found that white Christians now only make up 43 percent of the population, a big plunge from 81 percent in 1976.

While Americans were more reluctant than Europeans to identify themselves as atheist, the Sentinel said the trend clearly showed that young people were not going to church anymore and Christians were fast becoming a minority. The publication also noted that this trend had political implications, saying white Christians were most likely to vote Republican and those who were neither white nor Christian were probably Democrats.