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The situation of Christians in the Middle East

2015-01-24

There are almost 8 million Catholic Egyptians, which makes them one the most numerous groups of Christians in the Middle East. The vast majority are Copts, who belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church, but there are also a few hundred thousand Catholics.

Christianity in Egypt goes back to the first centuries of Christianity because the Gospel was preached there by Saint Mark. Egypt is also the place where the monasticism was born through Saints Anthony and Pachomius . Monastic life is still thriving in Egypt today.

Christians in Egypt suffer mostly because of discrimination rather than persecution, even though in recent years Muslim groups of fundamentalists have increased attacks against Christians. Discrimination is visible, for example, in the ban on Christians holding certain positions or fulfilling some important roles in the country. However, despite all of this, most Muslims in Egypt perceive Christians as their brothers. They share the same problems which are: unemployment, lack of safety, and economic underdevelopment.

Christians and Muslims have expressed solidarity in recent years in the struggle for democracy and freedom, goals which require more time to be achieved.

The last matter is the huge contribution Christians make to society, in education to be exact. Christian schools are popular with both Christians and Muslims, and they help to spread the feeling of mutual respect and friendship.

Christ didn't promise his followers an easy task, but he supports them every day in their mission. This is what Christians in Egypt experience.

Pere Jean Jacque Perennes (French clergyman, missionary in Egypt)

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