God’s Chosen People spent years laboring there under the Pharaohs; The Holy Family made their home in its borders while Herod sought the life of the Christ Child; St. Mark founded its famous Church at Alexandria; it was one of the four ancient patriarchal sees; the home of Athanasius, Mary of Egypt, Cyril of Alexandria, and a thriving Christian community that dates to the earliest days of the Faith, and whose members (though many separated by the Orthodox schism) have endured, and even thrived, under the burden of Islamic control.
For almost 2,000 years, this Church has stood as a testament to the roots of Christianity, and the Copts themselves have given countless martyrs to Holy Mother Church.
But now, with an increased Islamic threat, these children of the Apostles may be seeing their last (for now) days in the land of the Nile. In a story that has happened again and again in recent years, ancient Christian communities throughout the Middle East are disappearing in light of a situation in which those same Christians find it close to impossible to practice their Faith. Be it the Holy Land, Iraq, Syria, or now Egypt, the cradle of the Church is quickly emptying.
This past week, it seems that the Islamic government itself targeted the Cathedral of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch, after recent events in which more than one Coptic Christian was killed. These attacks, leveled against both Orthodox and Catholic Copts may represent twilight for these historically Christian lands, something which should give all of us pause.
In the comforts of our own homes, enduring an altogether different and less evident form of persecution (that of the modern Western world), we must not lose sight of our brothers and sisters suffering and dying under anti-Catholic regimes throughout the world. From China to India, from Iraq to Egypt and further, those of the household of the Faith are daily spilling their blood. In the midst of this great crisis in the Church, let us see in this blood the seed of the Church, and the means by which Christ conquers over every age and people. May this blood, so willingly shed for the love of Our Savior be the means by which Christ restores the beauty of His Church.
And let us also remember that even if we are not called to shed our blood, we can daily bear the Cross given us by Our Lord, without murmuring, and with joy.
Queen of Martyrs, Pray for us
O Golden Censor (Ti Shori), Intercede for that land whose people are so devoted to thee
Ti Shori is a hymn of the Coptic Divine Liturgy chanted by the deacon. The title of Golden Censor refers to Our Lady, as is seen in this line from the hymn, “The golden censor is the Virgin; her aroma is our Savior.”
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