Persecution on the hearts of Archbishops


The persecution of Christians in Egypt and the Middle East in particular is on the hearts of the Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop of Westminster this Christmas.

In his Christmas mass, Catholic leader, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols appealed to Christians to give a "special thought and prayer" to fellow believers suffering for their faith.

"Christians are the most widely persecuted religious group in the world today and this evening we think especially of the Middle East, especially of Egypt, Iraq and Syria," he said.

In his first Christmas sermon since becoming Archbishop of Canterbury in March, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, said: "Christians are attacked and massacred and we see terrible news in South Sudan, where political ambitions have led towards ethnic conflict. On Saturday I was speaking to a bishop under siege, in a compound full of the dying."

Reflecting on issues affecting Britain, Archbishop Welby spoke of the need to "challenge the causes of poverty" and "injustices at home".

"Christians, the servants of a vulnerable and poor saviour, need to act to serve and love the poor, they need also to challenge the causes of poverty," he said.