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Vincentian Marian Youth member reports from Egypt

prayer1 565headerWorld is looking at events in Egypt, worries about and prays. Famvin.org and CMNewEngland.org had an opportunity to contact Vincentian Marian Youth members in Egypt earlier this week  and ask them about the situation of Christians and Vincentian Family there. 

Day by day situation in Egypt worsens. Every hour we hear in the news about increasing number of killed civilians, policemen, soldiers (almost 800 people according to recent reports). More often we hear about Christian churches set ablaze and other attack on Christians.  On Thursday (August 22) the horrific news came from the small Egyptian town of Kerdasa, near Cairo [read in Wall Street Journal] where “Muslim Brothers and Jihadists have sieged the town and killed some security forces in it. Many Christians are trapped inside it and taken as hostages. Little details are available because they don’t allow anyone to take photos of what’s happening”, our friend in Alexandria said in conversation.

Map of burnt Christian churches as for 16 August 2013

Map of burnt Christian churches as for 16 August 2013

According to Coptic Church, the number of attacked churches increased to 73 this week in addition to 212 destroyed shops owned by Christians [read the list of torched churches]. “Christianity pre-dates Islam by 600 years, and Egypt was a majority Christian country long before Islam existed. 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».

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

Famvin.org received a message from Vincentian Marian Youth members in Egypt describing, in brief, situation of Christians and Vincentian Family there, which is well represented and organized in Egypt. VMY is the largest branch with about 300 members. SSVP runs up with 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.

Our source in Alexandria writes, “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 passage from the Scriptures or other texts in the Facebook. group. 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.”

 

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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 guilty 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 be killed in the gun 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 and read additional stories:

Translation of Coptic Church statement

Translation of Coptic Church statement

Coptic Church statement

Coptic Church statement

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