Landmarks were bathed in red light last night to highlight the persecution of Christians around the world for Red Wednesday.
The event, organised by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), saw Westminster Cathedral, Lambeth Palace, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office light up to show solidarity with those oppressed for their faith in Jesus Christ.
Across the UK, 120 buildings participated, including 13 cathedrals, with 15 other countries also involved.
The annual event followed the publication of ACN’s 2019 Persecuted and Forgotten? Report, which concluded that Christianity is on the verge of extinction in parts of Iraq and Syria due to severe persecution.
Earlier this year, the Foreign Office published a global report which revealed that persecution of Christians is so extreme in some parts of the world it amounts to genocide.
Compiled by the Bishop of Truro, the report called on the Government to consider sanctioning countries which persecute Christians and to introduce mandatory religious literacy training for Foreign Office staff.
The Government’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief took part in a procession to mark the event, a decision ACN’s Parliamentary and Press Officer Fionn Shiner said was “encouraging”.
“While there is an attitude in Western countries that religion is a settled issue, unimportant to how people live their lives, in most of the world religion is still incredibly important.”
Shiner added: “Government officials are going to struggle to understand vast parts of the world if they have no understanding of religions, how they interact and the difference and overlap between their worldview.
“Different religions lead to differences in behaviour, cultural norms and attitudes. Religious literacy, when trying to understand the world, is a must”.