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Many of Perth’s Egyptian community endured a sleepless night as the dramatic events of their homeland unfolded and the seat of government changed. Such was the background for the 40th day commemoration of those who died in the Alexandria bomb blast on New Year’s Day following midnight prayers. It was my privilege to attend the newly renovated St Mary’s cathedral in Perth and represent my communion at the Ecumenical Prayer Service for the Christian Martyrs of the Middle East organised by the Coptic Orthodox Churches of WA and the Syrian Orthodox Church of WA.

There is nervousness amongst Coptic people about the future for Egypt, and indeed, the whole Middle East. As a minority people with very deep and ancient roots in the region, they have suffered a great deal. There is no guarantee that persecution will not continue  as opposition to their presence and the drive for sharia law persists, even in spite of strong shows of unity in the recent street demonstrations.

This morning’s prayers were indeed for those who have recently died as a result of their Christian faith, but also for the land of Egypt, that opportunities for a peaceful transition to a just and peaceful life for all  might be availed.