Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sedrak distributes Communion March 18 during the liturgy for his enthronement, or installation, at the Coptic Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin in Cairo. Patriarch Sedrak said addressing his community's hard ships and trying to dissuade Christians from leaving their homeland will remain among his most difficult challenges.
Catholic News Service
Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sedrak said rising social and economic troubles since the Egyptian revolution are leading to the despair and emigration of the country’s Christians and Muslims alike, and that his church must work across sectarian lines to restore “lost confidence” in the predominantly Muslim North African nation.
Since the January 2011 revolution that led to the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, insecurities and violence in Egypt have scared off the country’s foreign investors and tourism, which previously generated major sources of national income and jobs.
First attempts at democratic elections have seen the rise to power of a conservative Islamic government, which opposition forces are disputing. Demonstrations and strikes in the country are increasingly violent and often fatal.
All of this has resulted in what Patriarch Sedrak said was a general state of chaos and “lack of clarity” in Egypt, leading many of its citizens, including thousands of Christians, to seek security abroad.
No official count is available for the number of Coptic Catholics in Egypt, but they are thought to make up anywhere from 200,000 to 250,000 compared to an estimated 10 million to 15 million Coptic Orthodox. The majority of Egypt’s estimated 80 million people are Sunni Muslims.