Being a Christian is not easy if you were to follow Jesus Christ’s teachings in your everyday life, as opposed to simply warming the pews every Sunday, shaking some hands and smiling at the other church goers, and attending an Easter and Christmas party each year. For those who really want to live up their faith in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord, you will find that opposition will come. Egypt’s minority Coptic Orthodox Christians have been on the receiving end of many attacks which show no signs of slowing down, either, without any kind of official response from the government.
Ever since May this year, Christians in Egypt have been subjected to a minimum of 12 attacks, where both activists and politicians claimed that the Egyptian government has more or less looked the other way instead of putting their foot down to stop such atrocities.
The kind of chaos that has erupted saw selected villages in Egypt carry out their prayers and worship services in really spartan conditions -- such as praying outside on a bare ground, while harboring fear at the same time as they look over their shoulders in order to flee from any potential attack.
The authorities have not helped the situation either, but rather, worsened it, since churches have been closed down, resulting in worshippers performing their services in makeshift tents. One of the church members affected by the recent attacks shared, “The President has always maintained that we are one and that both Muslims and Christians are identical and have the same rights and duties. But all the officials who work under him do not respect that. This happens in the whole country, not only in this region.”
Not only that, members of this particular church have also found it extremely challenging to obtain a local warrant to construct a church of any kind. To date, Egypt’s top brass and local Napoleons have denied the issuance of warrants to build new churches, citing the reason that such churches will affect the other faith.
As it stands, the official statistics in Egypt point to approximately 2,900 Coptic Orthodox churches -- and that figure makes up close to 9 million people, or 10% out of the 90 million population.
The Coptic Church in Egypt has a very rich history, where it started based on the teachings of Saint Mark who preached Christianity right in the first century itself as Nero reigned as Emperor of Rome. This means the Coptic Church is over nineteen centuries old, and has also proven over the course of time to be part of fulfilled prophecy. It would be a very sad day in the history of Christianity around the world if the entire Coptic Church of Egypt were to be wiped out due to selective persecution from the authorities.
We should always remember the faith of our fathers, and their contribution to current day Christianity. The Coptic Church has proven to be a faithful of Christ, having played a central role in Christian theology before, shielding it from heresies of the Gnostics.