Archbishop: Christianity Facing ‘Elimination’ In Middle East, Islamic State Are ‘Herod of Today’

archbishop of canterbury justin welby
Reuters/Chris Ison

Christianity is facing “elimination” in the Middle East thanks to Islamic State, the leader of the Church of England has warned.

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, branded the terror group the “Herod of today” in his Christmas sermon, saying they are “igniting a trail of fear, violence, hatred and determined oppression”.

“Confident that these are the last days, using force and indescribable cruelty, they [IS] seem to welcome all opposition, certain that the warfare unleashed confirms that these are indeed the end times,” he added.

“They hate difference, whether it is Muslims who think differently, Yazidis or Christians, and because of them the Christians face elimination in the very region in which Christian faith began.

“This apocalypse is defined by themselves and heralded only by the angel of death.”

The BBC reports that the archbishop, who is the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, also added that for those who are “dehumanised by the tyranny and cruelty” of the terror group, “God’s judgment comes as good news, because it promises justice”.

Also speaking today, Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the most senior Catholic cleric in England and Wales, said there is “absolutely no room at all for gratuitous violence”.

“No to all violence against the innocent. Yes to mercy. If we learn those lessons, then our world and our families will be more graceful places,” he added. “Then, you and I can be protagonists of unarmed goodness.”

Speaking on the oppression of Christians in the Middle East, Cardinal Nichols also said: “I think many a Christian who’s been driven from their home, who’s seen family members killed, who knows of relatives who are in great distress, will draw great comfort from this feast and from the knowledge that their plight is being talked about throughout the world.”

Meanwhile, Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis also released a Christmas statement in which he condemned “aggressive secularism that threatens to relegate spirituality and sanctity within our society”.

Yesterday, Breitbart London reported how the Bishop of Leeds condemned the suppression of Christmas in Muslim countries.

“When my Christian brothers and sisters suffer in Sudan (and they do),” he said, “They rely on the rest of us to tell their story and to use what powers we have to bring political pressure for an end to such suffering. The Anglican Communion and the links forged between dioceses across the world are essential in fulfilling this demand and vocation.

“Who will defend Christians in Brunei?”

Follow Nick Hallett on Twitter: or e-mail to:


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.