Coptic Orthodox Church of St Mary and St Abraam. Their priests are gentle, prayerful and ascetic, their children, there are many in our school, are well catechised and devout.
I am pleased that their first wedding in Brighton was here at St Mary Magdalen in the 1980s, with permission of course. A huge number of them left Egypt following a violent outbreak of persecution, which really was horrendous. Most Copts can tell of lynchings, burnings, rapes within their extended families. Today there is still a trickle of Coptic asylum seekers coming from the Sudan. Most of Brighton's taxi drivers and a fair number of our newsagents are Coptic Christians.
There is a great deal of concern that the Egyptian government are deliberately putting pressure on the Church again, by trying to force Christians to accept Islamic marriage law and forcing Coptic priests to marry those who are divorced under Sharia Law. Christian marriage had previously been protected by Egyptian law, it seems now that Christians will have to adopt Sharia practice, including the possibility of marriages being ended by the husband saying three times, "I divorce you."
The Egyptian press is vilifying the Pope (Shenouda III) for his reactionary, fundamentalist, outdated stance on the family!
Coptic Christians here are frightened that this is the beginning of another outbreak of persecution.