The Persecuted Church of Egypt

Resource Notes
Corporate Prayer Resources

The “Arab Spring” has turned into another season of persecution for the long suffering Christian Church in Egypt.

Historically, the Egyptian Church is one of the most persecuted Churches in the world. During the last Roman persecution under Emperor Diocletian in 303 AD an estimated 800,000 Egyptian Christians were killed. In 451 AD the Byzantine Church forced the bishop of Alexandria out, leading to the formation of the Coptic (meaning Egyptian) Church and the first Christian martyrs killed by other Christians. Then, in 640 AD, the Moslems conquered Egypt and began a regime of discrimination against Christians, punctuated by periods of persecution.

In Modern times the persecution came in the form of isolated pogroms of burning and looting used by the Egyptian dictators to let off Islamist pressure. These pogroms, while tolerated by the authorities, were also limited by the authorities, like an Egyptian version of Fiddler on the Roof. Now, however, under the Muslim Brotherhood, the pogroms are increasing in violence and there is no effort to bring restraint from the government. Many Coptic Christians are fleeing the country as Islamist extremism escalates.

Yet, despite the centuries of persecution, Egypt is home to 10 million Christians comprising about 12 percent of the population. As Isaiah prophesied “In that day there will be an alter to the Lord in the heart of Egypt” (Is 19:19). The very existence of the Egyptian Church is a testimony to God’s faithfulness and power.

We pray that peace will return to our Christian brothers in Egypt, and that America’s national leaders will intercede with Egyptian authorities to seek peace and protection for the Coptic Christians. And we salute the Egyptian Christians who have remained faithful under trial and won an everlasting crown of glory.

May we be so faithful.

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