Religious Freedom

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Jonathan Fakhry  |  5 May 2020

Jonathan Fakhry obtained his B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Florida. After graduating in December, he traveled to Aswan to serve at an orphanage for Coptic children.


Fr. Philopater lead us to what looked like an abandoned building. After being In Egypt for so long, I grew accustomed to sights such as these, however, there was something peculiar about this location. As we got closer, I noticed two guards standing at the distance, they politely nodded at us as we walked passed them. We then crawled through a pile of rubble, to behold a beautiful site; a church! I felt like I was walking through the closet into Narnia, only there was no celestial lion awaiting our arrival.


This church was in the process of being built when the government halted its progression. It’s been in this half-built state for over ten years. Unfortunately, this happens all too often in Egypt.


As a measure of resilience, the church has hosted weekly liturgies amidst the rubble and ash. With no solidified structure, the church is crumbling before them in the midst of their prayers. “There's an old Egyptian saying” spoke Fr. Philopater, “The greater the sacrifice the sweeter the reward.” Unfortunately, I learned that religious freedom is a luxury.