Next month will mark the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. The official date is November 10, 2013. However, their website states: "…you are free to choose another date if you wish." Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors has chosen November 3 as their prayer date.
When I was a child, I somehow picked up the notion that persecution against the Christian church basically ended with the collapse of the Roman Empire.
But it turns out that the last century was the worst century ever for the persecution of Christians and martyrdom. Dr. David Barrett, a leading church statistician, says there were more Christians martyred in the 20th century than had been murdered in all previous centuries combined. more >>
A family of six Christians has been expelled from the southern Egyptian city of Zakaria after they were unable to afford to pay a fine imposed on them after accusations made by Muslims in the region, according to the Assyrian International News Agency.
The incident was sparked when a Muslim family accused Kirollos Sabet, a Coptic Christian, of having an illicit relationship with a Muslim woman. Those accusations caused Muslim villagers to attack and vandalize his family's furniture and household appliance store, breaking items and looting it of many of its goods, the Bishop of Minya, Anba Makarios, described in a statement.
In that incident, while security forces did eventually arrive to halt the attack, they did not prevent some Muslims from verbally threatening Christians and throwing rocks at their homes. more >>
Citing the recent Pakistan church bombings and violence against Syrian Christians as an example, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby asserted this week that "Christians have been attacked simply because of their faith."
"I think it is true in Peshawar that we have seen more than 80 martyrs in the last few days and they have been attacked because they were testifying to their faith in Jesus Christ by going to church, and that is outside any acceptable expression in any circumstances for any reason of religious difference," he said on BBC Radio's The World at One, as he gave an update on the various challenges confronting Christians around the world.
The archbishop called the Peshawar church bombing that killed over 80 Pakistanis on Sunday "an absolutely appalling attack." more >>
WASHINGTON – Around 100 people including pastors, congressmen and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), joined in prayer and protest in front of the White House for Iranian-born pastor Saeed Abedini, to mark the one-year anniversary of his imprisonment.
"We are here today on a somber moment," Cruz told the crowd. "Pastor Abedini's only crime was professing his Christian faith, following the Great Commission of the Gospel."
Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor, was arrested on Sept. 26, 2012, while building orphanages in Iran. In January, he was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of "planting house churches that are intended to undermine national security." more >>
Pope Francis challenged the Church to pray for its most vulnerable yesterday, in his weekly general audience remarks at the Vatican, in the wake of a church bombing in Pakistan and continued violence against Egyptian and Syrian Christians.
"How many of you pray for Christians who are persecuted" said the Pope, calling upon his audience to be "genuinely concerned about their plight, just as one would be for a family member in distress."
When one of them is under duress, "am I indifferent or is it like someone in the family is suffering?" the Pope added. more >>
The deadliest attack on Christians ever on Pakistani soil that left 83 people dead on Sunday has been condemned by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which warned that words will not be enough to stop the violence against religious minorities in the Islamic nation.
"Mere words will not do. The government of Newaz Sharif must take robust measures to end violence against Christians and other religious minorities and the cycle of impunity that plagues Pakistan. Arrests and prosecutions will send a powerful message that the government takes seriously its responsibility to protect citizens of all faiths," USCIRF chairman Robert George said in a statement.
Two suicide blasts on Sunday left 83 people dead and over 150 wounded at the All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan. The attack occurred when over 400 worshipers were leaving church services, with a faction of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claiming responsibility. more >>