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Prince Charles offers support to persecuted Christians in Easter message

(YouTube/The Royal Family Channel)Prince Charles appears in a screen capture of a video of his Easter message.

The Prince of Wales has offered to support Christians who are persecuted around the world and stressed that "they are not forgotten."

In his four-minute Easter message, Prince Charles expressed concern for people of all beliefs who are facing persecution on religious grounds, particularly the Christians "who are suffering for their faith in many places around the world."

"I want to assure them that they are not forgotten and that they are in our prayers," Charles said, as reported by Catholic Herald.

Charles went on to note that he has met many people who had fled from homelands to avoid persecution and said that he was "deeply moved and humbled by their truly remarkable courage and their selfless capacity for forgiveness despite all they have suffered."

The prince has been calling attention to the persecution of Christians in the past few years, and he has recently met with Church leaders from the Middle East, where many believers suffered under the rule of the Islamic State.

With the help of Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, the prince was able to meet with Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil and Melkite Archbishop John Darwish of Zahlé and Furzol, Lebanon.

Warda is looking after more than 100,000 Christians who have been displaced from their homes in Iraq's Nineveh Plains, while Darwish provides aid to Syrian Christian refugees who are not able to receive support from other sources.

In his video message, Charles offered some encouraging news about Iraqi Christians who are now slowly returning to their homes.

"I have also heard that in the darkness there are small shafts of light, signs of resurrection and of hope that slowly but surely Christians who have had to flee from their homelands are beginning to return and to rebuild their shattered homes," he said.

Figures released on Palm Sunday has shown that at least 3,249 out of 12,217 Christian houses on the Nineveh Plains have been rebuilt.

A total of 37,086 Christians have returned to their homes, but the Nineveh Reconstruction Committee noted that many still remain in Kurdish areas in northern Iraq.

The prince stressed that people of different faiths — particularly Christianity, Islam and Judaism — have been known to coexist peacefully in biblical lands.

He pointed to Christians and Muslims and Lebanon, where they gather together at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon to honor Mary.

He contended that all three Abrahamic faiths suffer the "bitterness of persecution" when religion falls under the control of people who "distort and misrepresent faith."

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