Just before becoming ordained, I spent some time courtesy of a lovely scholarship in Egypt. With nothing else much left to do in Scotland before becoming a clergy-person I flew off to Egypt for six weeks exploration. I spent quite a lot of that time with Coptic Christians, particularly in desert monasteries in the Wadi Natrun. Some of the time I spent in Cairo though with both Copts and Anglicans. I’ve heard little real comment about the Copts in recent days.

It was one of those lifetime trips which gets under your skin.

So far I’ve not said anything much about Egypt. However, for the last few weeks I have been looking at a country that once captivated me as it has changed and as people have stretched their muscles and stood firm in the face of a regime which once seemed unchangeable.

Those pictures of Christians guarding Muslims and Muslims guarding Christians are inspirational sure enough. However, there is a great silence from the Coptic church that must be laced with great worry and fear for the future.

One glimpse has kept coming back to my mind these last few weeks. It was of a church service that I was at and two rather well dressed men sitting behind me. They took no part in the service but merely sat there politely.

“Who were they?” I asked one of my hosts.

“Ah, they were this week’s secret police visitors. Come to check that we prayed nicely for Mr Mubarak” was the answer.

There must have been thousands of such men. I wonder where they have gone and who they work for today.

Such repression and darkness will not be removed overnight and it is in that darkness that I have found my prayers for Egypt.

A blessing on Egypt.

A blessing on the Nile.

A blessing on the Muslim people

A blessing on the secularists and the nationalists and the crowds on the streets.

A blessing on Pope Shenoudah and the Copts.


  1. I, too, find what you say disturbing. Keep up your comments

  2. Hermano David | Brother Dah•veed says

    Pope Shenoudah appeared on Egyptian TV early this week asking the protesters to stop. He wanted them to accept the word of Mubarak that he would not run for reelection and all go home.

    One has to think that he is afraid of what could become of the Copts, and the Anglicans and others for that matter, if Mubarak’s henchmen are not in place to hold off the advance of radical Islam.

    Forced to choose the lesser of two evils.

  3. pax58 says

    I have a Coptic friend at work, she reminded me that 10% of the Epyptian population is Coptic and has lived in a delicate balance with the Muslim majority for centuries. When one looks at what happened to the churches in Iraq after the strong hand of a dictator was lifted it does make sense for the Coptic folks to worry about the future. However, Egypt may not be Iraq and we could see a governent which may be a mix of secular/Islamic which does provide protection for religious minorities. Only time will tell.

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