August 26, 2013 Leave a comment
Watch this… and pray…
August 23, 2013 Leave a comment
Amid the deadly chaos that has erupted in Egypt, the country’s cultural heritage took a hit last week when looters ransacked the archaeological museum…
August 22, 2013 1 Comment
A Coptic monument to survival, destroyed:
No one knows exactly when the Virgin Mary Church was built, but the fourth and fifth centuries are both possible options. In both cases, it was the time of the Byzantines. Egypt’s Coptic Church—to which this church in modern-day Delga belonged—had refused to bow to imperial power and Rome’s leadership over the nature of Christ. Constantinople was adamant it would force its will on the Copts. Two lines of popes claimed the Seat of Alexandria. One with imperial blessing sat in the open; the other, with his people’s support, often hid, moving from one church to the other. Virgin Mary Church’s altar outlasted the Byzantines. Arabs soon invaded in A.D. 641. Dynasties rose and fell, but the ancient building remained strong, a monument to its people’s survival.
Virgin Mary Church was built underground, a shelter from the prying eye. At its entrance were two ancient Roman columns and an iron door. Inside were three sanctuaries with four altars. Roman columns were engraved in the walls. As in many Coptic churches, historical artifacts overlapped earlier ones. The most ancient drawing to survive into the 21st century: a depiction, on a stone near the entrance, of two deer and holy bread. Layers and layers of history, a testament not only to the place’s ancient roots but also to its persistence. Like other Coptic churches, the ancient baptistery was on the western side, facing the altar in the east. Infants were symbolically transferred through baptism from the left to the right. The old icons were kept inside the church, the ancient manuscripts transferred to the Bishopric in modern times.
Once there were 23 other ancient churches next to it, all connected through secret passages. Only Virgin Mary Church remained. Decline and survival, loss and endurance, the twin faces of the story of the Copts who built it.
Why Virgin Mary Church endured until modern times is a mystery. Some churches in Cairo survived because Coptic popes made them their residence. Being built on a place Jesus and his mother had visited gave others in Egypt a claim to fame and a chance at survival, while in still others the miracles performed by the patron saint were a reason for pilgrims to visit and donate. Virgin Mary Church had none of these. For hundreds of years, its sole claim to miracles: a Roman column that, according to parishioners, produced oil once a year on Good Friday. The church was probably too small and too remote from the center of authority to merit notice. Its flock never abandoned it. Most of the Copts had converted to Islam over the centuries, but in Delga a critical mass remained that kept putting candles in front of the old icons.
Then, in 1829, a boy named Boulos Ghobrial was born in a village nearby. He was baptized in Virgin Mary Church’s ancient baptistery and taught to read and write in its small school. He would become St. Abram, the Bishop of Fayoum, a man of deep spirituality, who performed thousands of miracles and resembled his master in his poverty. He died in 1914, and the Holy Synod would declare him a saint in 1963. Many churches would be built under his name, and his residence in Fayoum would become a huge attraction to pilgrims. His birthplace would reap some of the benefits.
Two newer churches were built next to Virgin Mary Church: St. George, about 100 years ago, and the modern St. Abram. Other buildings were soon added. A church that was a shelter from persecution under the Byzantines became a shelter from increasing discrimination and banishment from the public space in modern times. A large meeting room was built, as were a theater and retreat house. In the open space, a soccer field. Church permits became harder to get in Egypt and the small complex served 30,000 Copts.
Miracles are rare in modern times. More common is hardship, and plenty befell the churches of Delga. St. George was attacked a number of times and its domes destroyed. An enthusiastic bishop built two minarets only to have the Egyptian police destroy them. More threatening than a persecuting state was the mob. The ancient churches were attacked several times in the past. On July 28, Molotov cocktails and stones were thrown. The churches survived that day.
But survival was not destined two weeks later. The army’s violent crackdown on Mohamed Morsi’s supporters in Cairo unleashed a wave of attacks on churches the like of which Copts had not seen in centuries, thus laying waste to examples of a unique byway in the history of architecture, religious structures that are a hybrid of Egyptian, Greco-Roman and Christian Byzantine styles. Dozens of churches were burned and destroyed in the largest attack on Coptic houses of worship since 1321. A complete tally is still to be written. But in its latest report, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Egypt’s best human-rights organization, documents a total of 47 churches attacked, of which 25 were burned, seven looted and destroyed, five partly damaged, and 10 attacked without sustaining heavy damage.
In this maelstrom, the ancient Virgin Mary Church was not spared. In a day of brutality, the people of Delga distinguished themselves. All three of Delga’s Coptic churches were destroyed. So were a Catholic and a Protestant church in the city. In place of Virgin Mary Church, the mob placed a sign: The Martyrs Mosque…
Rest in the Wall Street Journal here.
August 21, 2013 1 Comment
The police lieutenant put his boots up on the desk and casually reloaded his machine gun. “The problem is,” he said, nodding at a television that was live-broadcasting the siege of a nearby mosque, “these people are terrorists.”
It was mid-afternoon last Saturday, and for nearly 24 hours, the lieutenant’s colleagues in the police and army had surrounded the al-Fath mosque in central Cairo, inside which were hiding a few hundred supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. On screen, it seemed like it was the soldiers doing the terrorising. But for the lieutenant, the terrorists were the ones on the inside. They had bombs, the policeman said: they deserved what they got. And a mob of locals agreed. “The police and the people,” chanted a crowd that had gathered to lynch the fugitives as they exited the mosque, “are one hand.”
It was a wretched scene – but one that has become familiar in Egypt…
Read on here.
August 15, 2013 3 Comments
Dr. Ramez Atallah, director of the Bible Society of Egypt, writes today (August 14, 2013):
I have just received the sad news of the complete burning and destruction(by Muslim fundamentalists)of our Bible Society’s bookshops in Assiut & Minia (the largest cities in Southern Egypt). These were both very beautiful, fully equipped bookshops. Fortunately we were closed today, fearing such an attack, so none of our staff were injured. The attackers demolished the metal doors protecting the bookshops, broke the store windows behind them and set the bookshops on fire. They did the same to many stores on those streets as well as demolishing many parked cars.
Similar incidents are taking place across the nation and to date 15 churches and 3 Christian schools have been attacked and some set on fire.
Dispersal of Sit-ins
Most of you know by now that the Egyptian police, supported by the army, have dispersed the demonstrators from one of the big sit-ins of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) protesters and are working now to evacuate the other, larger one.
To understand why most residents of Cairo feel that these sit-ins should not continue, you should imagine how long residents of New York – or your own city – would tolerate the following scenario:-
Imagine more than 10,000 protestors camped for six weeks in Times Square in New York. No traffic can go through the square and, as a result, all other traffic in the area becomes congested, especially at rush hour. People and businesses in the surrounding buildings have their lives completely disrupted – they can hardly get access to their shops or homes and cannot stand the stench of 10,000 people in the middle of summer using the street and sidewalks as housing. In addition these strangers have set up their own shops and facilities in the middle of the streets. So it is a very scary scene. Add to this the non-stop onslaught of speeches blaring from loudspeakers all day long, and those living in Times Square will neither rest nor sleep as long as the sit-in continues!
In retaliation for the government dispersing the sit-ins, this morning Muslim Brotherhood leaders called for nation-wide protests. In response to these calls, Muslim fundamentalists all over Egypt have gone on a rampage of violence; some of it aimed at Christian targets, but also targeting government institutions, police stations and private property especially parked cars.
One of the reasons why the government has been so reticent in dispersing the sit-ins was precisely because of the MB’s many threats of retaliation. So most Egyptians expected the violence. Nevertheless, it is heartbreaking to watch on TV this bloodshed between fellow-Egyptians unfolding before our eyes.
Trusting God for the future
It is important to underline that — while some Christian properties have been the victim of this violence — they are by no means the only ones targeted. This is an attack against the State by a violent minority in an attempt to destabilize the Nation. Please pray….
- That the government may manage to disperse the remaining sit-in with as few injuries and loss of life as possible.
- That these sad incidents would not increase the alienation of the MBs but that they would somehow be re-integrated into Egyptian society.
- For protection for all Christian properties across the Nation.
- For Christians to have a spirit of forgiveness and love towards those who are perceived as being our enemies.
The Bible Society of Egypt has been in operation for 129 years and this is the first time we have been the victims of such attacks. We thank God for His protection, praise Him that none of our staff were injured, and are determined – as soon as things settle down – to rapidly restore these two bookshops to continue providing God’s Word in those two strategic cities. Sincerely in Christ,
Ramez Atallah General Director The Bible Society of Egypt
August 15, 2013 1 Comment
Islamic zealots attacked 23 Christian churches in Cairo and surrounding regions on August 14, as violence spread after the Egyptian police cleared out camps of protesters supporting the ousted Morsi government.
Father Rafic Greiche, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Egypt, said that 7 Catholic churches had been attacked, as well as 15 Coptic Orthodox churches and one Protestant church. Last week Father Greiche said that Egyptian Christians are living in fear because of Islamic violence; he has criticized the Western media for its failure to report the attacks on Christians.
The violence directed against Christian targets reflects the belief—widely held by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood—that Christians in Egypt conspired to bring down the Morsi government…
August 10, 2013 3 Comments
A Coptic Christian girl walking home from a Bible class at her church was shot and killed this week in Cairo by an unidentified gunman, human rights activists said today.
Amid a near-constant din of threats and scattered attacks against the Christian population in Egypt by militant political Islamists, the rights representatives said 10-year-old Jessica Boulous of the Ain Shams section of Cairo was killed early Tuesday evening (Aug. 6) while walking from the Ahmed Esmat Street Evangelical Church through a market to her home with her Sunday school teacher.
The teacher turned to buy an item at a market stall only to turn back and find Jessica lying in the dirt in a puddle of blood, rights activists said. A Muslim shopkeeper who knew Jessica saw her fall to the ground and ran to her side. He took off his shirt, wrapped it around her motionless body and rushed her to a hospital, but she was already dead.
A single bullet had passed through her chest and heart, killing her instantly, witnesses said.
Nasr Allah Zakaria, Jessica’s uncle, said the killing has devastated the girl’s family.
“I just can’t believe she is gone,” Zakaria said. “She was such a sweet little girl. She was like a daughter to me. I can’t believe she is gone”…
August 8, 2013 1 Comment
At the Gatestone Institute:
This anti-Christian fury has taken on genocidal proportions. “Allah willing, the day is coming when no Copt will ever again tread the ground of Egypt — and no churches. We will no longer allow churches to exist.”
Days ago, al-Qaeda’s Egyptian leader, Ayman Zawahiri, portrayed the overthrow of Muhammad Morsi and the Brotherhood as a “Crusader” campaign led by Coptic Pope Tawadros II who, according to Zawahiri and other terrorists, is trying to create a Coptic state in Egypt.
Since then, not only are Egypt’s Christians and churches now being attacked in ways unprecedented in the modern era, but new reports indicate that al-Qaeda’s black flag has been raised on some of them, specifically St. George Church in Sohag.
Considering that it was al-Qaeda linked terrorists who initiated one of the bloodiest church attacks in recent history, the 2010 Baghdad church attack in which nearly 60 Christians were slaughtered (click here for graphic images), al-Qaeda’s singling out Egypt’s Christians looks alarming.
The Islamic terrorist organization’s incitement against the Copts is just the latest emanating from Islamists — from the top of the Brotherhood leadership to the bottom of the “Muslim street” — and is creating something of an “open season” on Egypt’s Christians…
July 2, 2013 1 Comment
In the Jerusalem Post:
… The temple itself was small, in fact only half of it remained, but it had a fine tile floor in two layers, indicating that the first had been destroyed and then replaced. It stood in a courtyard of fine plasterwork, while the houses only had crude mud floors. So this was the temple, and the papyri were true…
June 19, 2013 Leave a comment
On November 17th, 1997, the Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya terrorist group massacred 62 men, women, and children–4 of them Egyptians and rest foreign tourists–at the famous Deir el-Bahari ruins in the culturally rich city of Luxor, one of the most important archaeological sites in the world.
This week, Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi named Al-Gama’a member Adel Asaad al-Khayyat as the new governor of Luxor.
The group allegedly renounced terror in 1997. Before the attack on Luxor.
They renounced it again in 2003, and are now part of the grand rainbow coalition of insane radical Muslims…
Oh, and one more thing: Al-Gama’a still hates tourists…
Read the rest of this fair warning over at God and the Machine.