Metropolitan Leonid of Klin, Patriarchal Exarch of Africa, issued an address on the occasion of the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.
Dear friends, brothers and sisters,
The medieval slave trade was an abominable offspring of colonialism. Mass extermination of indigenous peoples in America during the Age of Discovery compelled colonizers to seek new sources of cost-free labour force, and Africans were among those who suffered most from the greed and malice of the western European predators. Millions of people on the African continent were enslaved and forcibly transported to the New World. They were forced to live in inhuman conditions and many died from hard labour and illnesses.
Despite the fact that slavery was abolished and condemned at the international level, it still exists in new forms, affecting millions of people throughout the globe. Some of the former colonial powers have not lost their appetite, striving as before to exploit natural and human resources of Asian, African and Latin American countries.
Bowing my head before those who fell victim to the slave trade and those who fought for its abolition, I pray that God’s ineffable mercy may always be with the souls of the innocent victims and that our planet may be free of the slave trade and all its inhuman manifestations.
+Leonid, Metropolitan of Klin, Patriarchal Exarch of Africa