I met these Coptic young men at Meir Gergis, near Luxor, in December 2004. Copts are some of the world’s oldest Christians, and they number about one in ever five Egyptians, and yet have faced persecution and discrimination for decades, and at times violent attacks at their places of worship.
Outside of Luxor, Egypt, I visited the St. George Monastery, or Meir Gergis, and stumbled on a baptism. The visit was one of my highlights from my travels in the country.
During my two-and-a-half-week journey to Egypt ten years ago, I visited six Coptic monasteries. These are amazing places, beautifully preserved and vitally important to the Coptic minority in Egypt. During my visit, most were under armed guard by the state army, which I have read has melted away since the fall of Mubarak, and Egyptian forces have even participated in attacks on at least one of the most historic monasteries in Egypt near Cairo. You can read a little more about my visit to Egypt and the situation facing the Copts in an article I wrote in April 2013.