On Red Wednesday Nearly 100 Buildings Lit up Red in Czechia

On Wednesday, 25 November 2020, the Czech Republic brought awareness to people persecuted for their faith around the world, as part of the international initiative Red Wednesday. More than 60% of the persecuted live in countries which fail to respect a fundamental human right – freedom of religion. Every day, nearly 300 million faithful experience persecution, according to the papal organization Aid to the Church in Need. In addition to the Czech Republic, buildings were lit up red yesterday in several countries, including Great Britain, Canada and Slovakia.
Published: 26. 11. 2020 11:30

Photo: Lucie Horníková, Člověk a Víra

"In the Czech Republic, Red Wednesday is organized by the Czech Bishops’ Conference, together with the Ecumenical Council of Churches in the CR and the Federation of Jewish Communities in the CR. We are happy that we were able to successfully organize this event for its third year already. While freedom of religion is a basic human right, it cannot be taken for granted by any measure. We are grateful for the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the financial support of the Ministry of Culture," said Fr. Stanislav Přibyl, general secretary of the Czech Bishops’ Conference.  

In Prague about 20 buildings were lit up red as part of Red Wednesday, including the Petřín Lookout Tower, Rudolfinum Concert Hall, the Chamber of Deputies, the Czernin Palace and the Hungarian Embassy. Additionally, the Conference on the Persecution for Faith in the World, Facts and Testimonies took place online. The conference was jointly organized by the Institute for Christian Democratic Politics (IKDP) together with the Czech Bishops’ Conference, the Ecumenical Council of Churches and the Federation of Jewish Communities. Participants included Tomáš Petříček, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, who also remained for the discussion in the first panel.
Other panel participants included:
- Pavel Svoboda, European Law Expert, Charles University, Chairman of the Administrative Council of IKDP
- Ján Figeľ, Former EU Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU and Former Member of European Commission responsible for Education, Training, Culture and Youth
- Avi-Nehama Tawil, Rabbi and Director of the European Jewish Community Centre (Brussels)
- Benedict Rogers, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (London)
- Marcela Szymanski, Aid to the Church in Need
- Yohanna Petros Mouche, Archbishop of Mosul
- several eyewitnesses to acts bordering on genocide, persecution for faith in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, who remained unnamed to protect their safety (representatives of the Yazid, a religious-ethnic group whose existence is threatened; representatives of the Alliance of Minorities in Pakistan…)
The conference was followed by an online Jewish-Christian prayer broadcast from the Great Auditorium of the Carolinum. Afterwards, a procession comprised of conference participants and approximately 40 additional persons took place; they stopped at the following red-illuminated buildings: Carolinum (Charles University), Church of St. Havel, Church of St. Nicholas at Old Town Square and the Old-New Synagogue.

Red Wednesday was also held in towns and cities all around the Czech Republic. Almost 100 organizations took place, with buildings, houses of prayer, churches and synagogues lit up red. In Brno, the Mahen Theatre was lit up red, while in Liberec it was the New Synagogue. Other red-illuminated structures included, e.g., St. Wenceslas Cathedal in Olomouc, the Church of the United Methodist Church in Plseň, the Basilica of St. Procopius in Třebíči and the Water Reservoir Tower in Týniště nad Orlicí.
This year, as part of the Red Wednesday initiative, more countries than in previous years drew attention to victims of persecution for their faith. On this year’s Red Wednesday, monuments and buildings bathed in red light included, e.g. Bratislava Castle, Elisabeth Bridge (Erzsébet híd) in Budapest, and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. 
In some countries, Red Wednesday events continue over several days. During this time, the Austrian Parliament Building in Vienna is lit up red, as are cathedrals in Montreal and Toronto in Canada, and cathedrals and churches in several towns in Australia and Great Britain. Additionally, this year Germany, the Philippines, the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland took part in Red Wednesday.

Photogallery from the Red Wednesday 2020 in Czech Republic here.


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