Tulsa-Area Coptic Christians Pray For Fellow Christians

Wednesday, October 12th 2011, 1:21 pm
By: News On 6

Emory, Bryan, News On 6

BIXBY, Oklahoma -- Coptic Christians in the Tulsa area are praying for Christians in Egypt where reports of dozens of Christians killed by Egyptian military forces over the past weekend.

Egypt's Coptic Christians, who represent about 10 percent of the country's 85-million people, have long complained that they are second-class citizens in their own country.

The group held a prayer service and fasting event at Saints Peter and Paul Coptic Orthodox Church at 17015 South Memorial Drive in Bixby.

The tiny church hopes to impact events in Egypt the only way they know how - with prayer. The congregation is of Egyptian decent and many have relatives and friends in the country.

A special prayer service was held to ask for holy intervention into the situation.

"There's nothing we can do except pray and to fast and give supplication to God because we know his justice will come eventually," said church member Mary Elias.

The Coptic Church has 9 million members in Egypt, but they are a persecuted minority of Christians. Their marches are in response to attacks on their churches.

The Muslim majority, with government backing, responded in turn with more bullets. Blood was spilled - and that has impacted Coptics worldwide who look to Egypt the way Catholics look to Rome.

"And who knows, maybe one of our friends or relatives is one of these people wounded or affected by this, we don't know yet," said church member Alfret Gendy.

The priest asked God to grant peace to their fellow Coptics in Egypt - and to spare their lives. He prayed the U.S. government would do more to defuse the violence.

"But human rights are not known in Egypt as they are in the West. Many citizens of Egypt unfortunately think there has to be a 2nd class citizen and a 3rd class citizen," said Father Andrew Khalil.

As all minorities are being attacked, Oklahoma Coptics are praying for relief for everyone suffering under an oppressive government.

The Coptic church in Bixby is one of 300 nationwide and they have about 50 families in the church. They hope other Christians in Tulsa will support them.