Libyan Christians prepare for Holy Week amid persecution

2013-03-25 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) As the Easter Triduum approaches, Catholic leaders in Libya say the faithful are undeterred by recent bouts of persecution against Christians in region.

On March 14, St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Benghazi suffered an arson attack. Last month, several Christians were arrested for proselytising, among them a Christian bookstore owner charged for having a large number of Bibles.

Speaking with Vatican Radio’s Ann Schneible, Aid to the Church in Need press officer John Newton explained that the “main challenges that Christians are facing across the region seems to be a clamp-down on the display of religious symbols, arrests of people trying to promote Christian literature,” in addition to attacks against Coptic Orthodox Churches.

With the Holy Week celebrations approaching, Newton said he spoke with Bishop Sylvester Magro of Benghazi about the security concerns in light of these recent acts of persecution. “He was very stoic, very humble about the whole thing. There was this sense of him just trusting in God.”

He said Christians in the region “were able to witness in a very silent way to faith, to confidence in God, to growth in the word of God.”

“It was very humbling to hear that, in the midst of all these troubles, there was this sense of calm and trust in God that seems to be just carrying them through.”

Listen to Ann Schneible’s full interview with Aid to the Church in Need’s John Newton: