Australian media tycoon Rupert Murdoch called on Christians to pray for their besieged Middle Eastern counterparts on Twitter on Saturday.
"Amid Xmas extravagance and festivities, Christians should pray for millions of fellow believers being killed and persecuted in Middle East," tweeted the owner of News Corp, an American multinational media company which owns Fox News.
Although Murdoch has professed to be a Christian, his three divorces and the "sleaze, tabloid sex, scandal and nudity" promulgated by his publications have left some questioning his faith.
In 2004, however, while still married to his second and Catholic wife, Murdoch explained where he fell religiously.
"They say I'm a born-again Christian and a Catholic convert and so on. I'm certainly a practicing Christian, I go to church quite a bit, but not every Sunday and I tend to go to the Catholic church – because my wife is Catholic, I have not formally converted. And I get increasingly disenchanted with the C of E or Episcopalians as they call themselves here. But no, I'm not intensely religious as I'm sometimes described."
Murdoch's comments come at the end of a chaotic year for Middle Eastern Christians.
In Egypt, where Christians make up 10 percent of the population, Islamists who backed the former president, Mohammed Morsi, blamed Copts for his deposition and violently lashed out. In August, over 70 Christian churches and institutions were burned or destroyed and four people were killed in violence related to the incident. In October, gunmen opened fire on a Coptic wedding party, murdering four people.
Also this summer, southern parts of the country were overtaken by Islamists, causing Christians to flee the area. Despite these egregious abuses, Christians accused Egyptian authorities of standing by during the attacks and not subsequently confronting or prosecuting their attackers.
In Syria, Christians have often been in the line of fire of violence between the rebels and government or targeted specifically by extremist rebel groups.
Last week, Prince Charles spoke out against the violence directed at Christians, arguing that the world could no longer "ignore the fact that they are, increasingly, being deliberately targeted by fundamentalist Islamist militants."
"Christianity was, literally, born in that part of the world and we must not forget our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ," said Prince Charles. "…This has an effect on all of us, although, of course, primarily on those Christians who can no longer continue to live in the Middle East: we all lose something immensely and irreplaceably precious when such a rich tradition – dating back 2,000 years – begins to disappear."