Fr Martin Boland, the Dean of Brentwood Cathedral, explained why it is important to focus on the persecution of Christians, especially in the Middle East: “At present, Christians suffer greater hostility across the world than any other religious group. A recent report suggests that 200 million Christians, or 10 per cent of Christians worldwide, are socially disadvantaged, harassed or actively oppressed for their beliefs. This is deeply disturbing and the floodlighting of the Cathedral in red is to remind people of this.
“If the right to express religious beliefs freely is taken from people, then their humanity and dignity will be as well."
Fr Boland also warned that Christianity risked being wiped out altogether in the region and urged governments to take action. He said: “It is time for governments and international bodies to highlight the human rights abuses faced by Christians in the Middle East and to respond to them. If they don’t, then Christianity will be wiped out in this region in a systematic and violent way.
“In November, nobody passing Brentwood Cathedral at night will be able to turn a blind eye to it and nobody, believer or non-believer, Christian or non-Christian, should turn a blind eye to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East."
The initiative has been organised by the charity Aid to the Church in Need.