Prince Charles spoke about religious persecution in a new video message published ahead of Easter

By Simon Perry
March 30, 2018 10:20 AM

Prince Charles is making a passionate appeal on behalf of those who are victimized because of their faith.

In a pre-recorded TV message aired at start of Easter weekend, Charles spoke of his compassion and empathy towards those who are subjected to religious persecution.

“My heart goes out to all who this day, whatever their beliefs, are being persecuted on religious grounds,” he says in the four-minute-long message. “And at this time of Easter, when our minds are recalled to the suffering of Our Lord two thousand years ago, we think especially of those 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, 69, has made it a central part of his public life to support people of all faiths, and his office says the message is part of his ongoing dialogue with church leaders in the U.K. This message was inspired in part by his recent meetings with Christian Church leaders from the Middle East including the Coptic Pope, the Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil, and the Melkite Archbishop of Zahle and Forzol.

“Over the years, I have met many who have had to flee for their faith and for their life – or have somehow endured the terrifying consequences of remaining in their country – and I have been so deeply moved, and humbled, by their truly remarkable courage and by their selfless capacity for forgiveness, despite all that they have suffered,” Charles continued in the video message. “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.”

The Queen, Duke Of Edinburgh, Prince Of Wales & Duchess Of Cornwall Visit Poundbury
Prince Charles
| Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

He notes that the Biblical lands of Syria and modern Iraq “were not always places of strife between people of different faiths” and people lived alongside each other as neighbors.

“I know, too, of senior Muftis who believe in the essential importance of the Christian faith to maintaining the balance of the Middle East,” he says.

Charles concluded by saying that he has a great deal of admiration for those who are dealing with religious persecution and still find a way to forgive others. He says: “This Easter I want to salute the fortitude of all those who, whatever their faith, are persecuted for remaining faithful to the true essence of their beliefs. I admire, and greatly respect, all those of you who find it in your hearts to pray for those who persecute you and, following the example of Christ, seek forgiveness for your enemies.”

The Easter holiday publicly began for the Royal Family on Thursday, when Queen Elizabeth handed out the traditional Maundy money in a service at St. George’s Chapel. Prince Philip was forced to miss the service because who is suffering from a hip, a source told PEOPLE. The Queen, 91, is expected back at the Chapel on Sunday for Easter Day’s celebration.