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Young VMY member reports from Egypt

by | Aug 23, 2013 | Church, Vincentian Family | 2 comments

saint moses church. sunday service in ruins

Saint Moses Church, Menya, Sunday service in ruins

A worried world  looks at events in Egypt, worries and prays. Day by day the situation worsens. “Christianity pre-dates Islam by 600 years, and Egypt was a majority Christian country long before Islam existed.

The Copts of Egypt are the indigenous people of the country, with far more rights to the land than many Muslims. But while the world will sympathize with Palestinians, or for that matter Canadian natives and Australian aboriginals, it prefers to ignore persecuted Christians”, writes Michael Coren in TorontoSun.com

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According to Coptic Church, the number of attacked churches increased to 73 this week in addition to 212 destroyed shops owned by Christians. The attacks on the churches are clear statement to the 15% of Egyptians who refuse to abandon Christ. «You do not belong, you never existed». statistics of burnt churches published in 16-8-2013

Famvin.org received a message from a Vincentian Marian Youth member in Egypt describing briefly the situation of Christians and Vincentian Family which is well represented and organized in Egypt. VMY is the largest branch of the family in Egypt with about 300 members. SSVP reports some 200 members. There are about 30-35 Daughters of Charity working in Egypt and 10 Sisters of Charity of St. Jeanne Antide Thouret. AIC represents 20 members and finally Congregation of the Mission has 7 priests belonging to two houses.

A Vincentian Family source writes from Egypt, “we cannot organize gatherings because of the curfew string at 7PM. Instead, we stay at homes and everyday at midnight we gather on-line. We share a passages Scriptures or other texts via Facebook. Next, we choose the themes for each day’s prayers. After some 30 minutes of private time for mediation and reflection everyone writes in the group timeline share a hymn or prayer. This is what we do in my local VMY group. Those virtual gatherings are usually attended by 30-40 people. It’s almost half of the group members.”

He continues describing the background of the situation in Egypt. “In a country where they have suffered many persecutions because of their faith, Christians in Egypt are now facing persecution on a bigger scale than ever before in recorded history. Our guilt is taking part with millions who marched against the ousted former president Mohamed Morsi, even members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Egypt took part in the peaceful protests between June 30 and the July 4.

From the August 14, the radical Islamic supporters of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s ousted president, who have been fighting against the security forces and the military, have turned their anger on Egypt’s Christian minority.”

The situation touches and affects all Egyptians; a member of the Vincentian Marian Youth is rumored to have been killed in a shooting by the Muslim Brotherhood. Over 70 churches were set on fire in addition to more than 5 Catholic schools, an orphanage owned by the Evangelical Church, 3 Christian libraries, several hospitals owned by the Church and many shops, houses and other Christian properties. Several threats have been sent to Christians to leave their homes and some villages have been announced to be ‘Christian free’. Some individuals were attacked and killed in Alexandria, Cairo and Menya for this only reasons they were found out to be Christians. The government hasn’t announced an official number of the burnt churches to avoid sectarian strife that will divide the country and lead it to a civil war, which is exactly what the Islamists want.

Such reports have been ignored by the international media which focused on the political gains out of the situation which was a great disappointment to all Egyptians. The media also ignored the fact that the majority of Egyptians, Muslims and Christians, are against any attack on a government or a Christian facility.

Almost all in-church activities were called off; our meetings in the Vincentian Marian Youth were cancelled nationwide to avoid any harm that might be inflicted upon any of our members. In spite of all of that, Christians are not giving up hope in God’s plan for their country. Meetings in churches were replaced by prayer meetings on Facebook and even some churches challenged terrorism by making the Sunday services in the burnt churches. Egyptians are encouraged to face the terrorism that is burning their country; stories of Muslims protecting churches in their neighborhoods spread and when some Islamists paraded three nuns on the streets like “prisoners of war”, a Muslim woman offered them refuge. [Read more in ChristianPost.com]

The situation is still critical and the country is witnessing a lot of violence and it doesn’t seem that it will be over until terrorists admit their defeat. Our faith is strong and it has survived many centuries, we will continue to belong to Christ regardless the situation, we trust in God’s plan and we will always yield to his will.

We can only ask, pray for our strength and that the Word of God forever live up whatever happens. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword.”

You can watch those videos, too:

Coptic Church statement on destroyed churches

tanslation of the Coptic Church statement

English translation of Coptic Church statement on destroyed churches

Coptic Church statement on destroyed churches

2 Comments

  1. John Freund, CM

    Excerpt from John Allen..
    “Speaking of AsiaNews, it’s a good resource for following the stunning assaults on Christian targets currently underway in Egypt. Last weekend, the agency released a list of churches, convents, monasteries and other Christian institutions that, at that point, had suffered damage at the hands of radicals linked in one way or another to the Muslim Brotherhood. Since the violence is continuing unabated, these numbers are already out of date.

    One week ago, however, the totals verified by observers on the ground, according to the AsiaNews report, stood at:

    14 Catholic churches and convents
    35 Orthodox and evangelical churches
    9 other Christian institutions
    58 Christian homes
    85 Christian-owned shops
    16 Christian-owned pharmacies
    3 Christian-owned hotels in Upper Egypt
    75 buses and cars with Christian occupants
    That works out to 247 incidents, which as of Aug. 17 had left seven people dead, 17 kidnapped, and hundreds injured.

    Here’s an example of the atrocities. On Aug. 14, hundreds of Muslim extremists stormed a school run by Franciscan nuns in Bani Suef (Upper Egypt), where they reportedly raped two teachers. Three nuns were paraded before the crowd as prisoners of war. In an interview afterward, the nun who runs the school said she and two other sisters were saved by another teacher, a Muslim laywoman, who persuaded the assailants to let them go. The nun also said the local police never showed up despite numerous calls for help.

    Given the scale of things, it’s not hard to understand why some Egyptian Christians are comparing their experience to Kristallnacht. Sam Tadros, a Coptic Christian and a historian at the Hudson Institute, says there’s been nothing like the present wave of anti-Christian violence in Egypt since 1321, when a spate of church-burnings prompted an exodus that saw the country’s Christian population drop from roughly half to its present 10 percent.

    My new book, The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution, doesn’t even hit bookstores until Oct. 1, and already I feel like the section on Egypt needs an update.

    In the abstract, it’s hard to know what Christians in other parts of the world can do that might make a difference. If nothing else, however, we can at least factor the experience of those suffering persecution into our thinking and insist that our politicians do the same.

    On Monday, the leader of the Coptic Catholic community in Egypt, Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak of Alexandria, released a statement on the violence. The full text follows:

    With pain, but also with hope, the Catholic Church in Egypt is following what our country is experiencing: terrorist attacks, killings and the burning of churches, schools and state institutions. Therefore, out of love for our country and in solidarity with all lovers of Egypt, Christians and Muslims, we are trying to do our best to communicate with friendly organizations around the world to clarify for them the reality of events taking place in our country.
    We would like to express the following:

    Our free, strong and conscious support for all state institutions, particularly the armed forces and the police for all their efforts in protecting our homeland.

    Our appreciation of sincere nations to understand the nature of events while flatly rejecting any attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt or to influence its sovereign decisions, whatever the direction might be.

    Our thanks to all Egyptian and international media that report the news and events objectively and impartially while condemning those media that promote lies and falsify the truth in order to mislead world public opinion.

    Our thanks to our honorable Muslim compatriots who have stood by our side, as far as they could, in defending our churches and our institutions.

    Lastly, we address the international conscious and all national leaders that they understand and believe that what is happening in Egypt now is not a political struggle between different factions, but a war against terrorism.

    In conclusion, we express our condolences to all families and relatives of the victims. We ask the Lord to heal all the injured.”

    +Ibrahim Isaac

    Patriarch of Alexandria for Coptic Catholics

    President of the Council of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Egypt

    Two points merit underlining.

    First, the statement contains a caution not to paint with too broad a brush. For every Muslim who torches a church or beats a Christian, there’s also a Muslim who rushes in to help. Reports suggest, for instance, that many of the fires set at churches would have done far more damage had it not been for scores of Muslims who stepped in to help combat the flames.

    That point would seem to offer a dose of hope about the possibilities for Muslim/Christian partnership on the other side of the crisis.

    Second, the statement also contains a fairly blunt rebuke to Western policymakers inclined to take a “pox on both your houses” stance vis-à-vis both the Muslim Brotherhood protestors and the military crackdown. According to the country’s chief Catholic authority, at any rate, what’s going on is not principally a political contest between two sides with legitimate grievances, but a war against terrorism.

    Translation: Before condemning the army for its brutality, consider the alternative.

    For the record, the leader of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox community, Pope Tawadros II, issued a similar statement at the same time supporting the police and military in their struggle against “dark terrorists, both internal and external.”

    At a bare minimum, that’s something to ponder as the international community considers its policy choices. The voice from the trenches may not always be right, but it should always be heard.”

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/all-things-catholic/telling-africas-story-coptic-kristallnacht-latest-dalloglio-rumors

  2. yonas

    Christianity is the true life of Jesus Christ.
    we are with you in our daily prayer, and God let gives you courage

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