Christians, and Catholics in particular, in China, Hong-kong and Lebanon are struggling a lot. In China, authorities have been destroying churches and crosses, arresting priests and pressing the Church to adjust to the current Chinese values. Hong-kong has lost its political autonomy and political and religious freedom this year. Even though Christians in Libanon have been living peacefully over the last decades, they are insecure now, since most of the population is islamic, thanks to demography and two-million refugees from Syria. And then, the Beirut explosion came. What can we learn from these stories of China, Hong-kong and Lebanon Christians? How can those of us, who still remember religious oppression during Communism, help the persecuted Christians to spread the message of freedom and truth?
The event is organised in cooperation with the ACN Papal Foundation – Aid to the Church in Need.
Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun is a Bishop emeritus of Hong Kong. He was ordained a priest in 1961 for the Society of Don Bosco, the Salesian Order. Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun served as a Salesian Provincial Superior for China for six years, and from 1989-96 he taught philosophy and sacramental theology in various Chinese seminaries. He was made a cardinal in 2006. He served as a bishop from 2002 until his resignation in 2009. He focuses on issues regarding human rights, political freedom, and religious liberty.
Issam John Darwich is an archbishop of Melkite Greek Orthodox Church in Libanon. As a priest, he has been dedicated to pastoral education of youth on a long-term basis and has been elected a Libanon representative to numerous international education organisations (IBC and ICAE – International Committee for Adult Education in France.) He was awarded a golden medal for his service to schooling and education by the Lebanese president in 1989. In 1996 he was ordained a bishop for Melkite diocese in Sydney, Australia and later in 2010 has been assigned to the Zahle and Forzol archeparchy in Libanon.
He graduated in philosophy at Trnava University. He serves as the President of the Ladislav Hanus Fellowship and co-organizes the Bratislava / Košice Hanus days festival. He is the editor-in-chief of Verbum, a magazine for contemporary Christian culture. He also works as a script editor for the RTVS discussion program Do kríža, appears in the Reflektor program on Devín radio and is also involved in civic activities, especially in the field of pro-life.
Anton Frič is a photographer and traveller living in Poprad (Eastern Slovakia) and has four kids. Apart from taking pictures he is also teaching English. He spent almost a month among Christian and Yazidis refugees in Iraq at the turn of the years 2014 and 2015. He wanted to document the conditions refugees were living in and to help them. He has been giving lectures about Christians in Iraq all over Slovakia recently and is preparing a journey to Iraq, Syria and other places in Middle East.