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World News

Macron declares more French support for Eastern Christians

by Reuters Journalist

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday 1st February funding to support eastern Christians would double from 2 to 4 million euros ($2.25 to 4 million).

Macron said the funding would be a joint venture between the French state and the Oeuvre d'Orient, a charity first set up to support Eastern Christians in 1856.

The funds are generally used to help support Christian schools in the Middle East, the Horn of Africa, Eastern Europe, and India.

The president made the comments during a speech at a reception in Paris that brought together representatives of the churches of the East, the Church of France and other elected officials.

He said: "In order to give impetus to the collective and unique effort that I call for, which the Christians of the East and the Middle East need more than ever, we have decided with Mr Gollnisch and the Oeuvre d'Orient charity - and I thank him for it, oh so much - to set an example. And this is why the Oeuvre d'Orient and the State will double their collective contribution to the fund for schools from 2 to 4 million euros. But we need... I say that this fund was an innovation because it was a partnership, but it is open, and this opening should be fully fruitful and therefore be united."

Within the Middle East, home to some of the faith’s earliest churches, the region’s Christian communities have been in decline for decades, but wars this century in Iraq and Syria, and the emergence of Islamic State have put their future in doubt.

The largest exodus has been in Iraq, where Christians were caught up in the sectarian violence that wracked the nation following the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 and then actively persecuted as the Islamic State grew in power from 2014.

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