Egypt (World Watch Monitor) — A year after a wave of anti-Christian violence left 64 Egyptian churches in ruin or disrepair, 10 have re-opened, says the Coptic bishop overseeing church restoration. MCN reports that Bishop Morcos of Shubra Al Khaimah said “the army in cooperation with some concerned companies” has restored the 10 damaged churches, which are in the Bani Suef, Sohag, and Minya governorates south of Cairo.
Churches across Egypt were attacked by Muslims angered by the army’s use of deadly force to break up large protest demonstrations that had sprung up as a response to the army’s removal of President Mohamed Morsi, the political leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.
On August 14, the Egyptian Army moved against large groups of protesters who had set up camp in Cairo. They had been in the streets since July 3, when the military removed Mohamed Morsi from the presidency and the Muslim Brotherhood from power. Using helicopters, tanks, tear gas, and live ammunition–and encountering live fire in return, the Army’s move touched off violence that has left hundreds of Egyptians dead. Morsi remains incommunicado, and thousands of Brotherhood members have been rounded up.
Anger at the Army quickly was directed at Egypt’s Christian churches. Though Christians are a distinct minority of the population, Morsi’s supporters saw the hand of the Coptic Church in the military coup, and mobs attacked dozens of churches up and down the Nile, especially in the Minya region in southern Egypt, where the Christian population is most concentrated–and where some of Egypt’s staunchest Islamist elements are based.
Pray that the reopened churches will be able to resume outreach and corporate worship services.