The Way of Sorrow

Elias Khoury, a Christian Arab, gazes at the church in Iqrit in December 1998. Khoury was born in Iqrit, where residents were forced out a half-century ago. On Christmas, they still attend services at the old stone church. (Photo by Heidi Levine)

Many here fear that the living community of local Christianity is about to disappear in the land where the faith began. The sorrow of Christians in the Middle East is no different than the sorrow all people, Muslims and Jews alike, feel at the violence that surrounds them. But Christians, as a minority faith, are often targeted.

The two church bombings by the Islamic State (ISIS) against Egypt’s Coptic Christian community killed 45 people on Palm Sunday. In Syria and Iraq, Christian minority communities have been brutalized and slaughtered by ISIS. In other countries like Lebanon and Jordan, decades of war in the region created a steady flow of migrants to Europe and America and left the communities shrinking year after year.

The GroundTruth Project, with support from the Henry Luce Foundation has been walking “The Way of Sorrow,” not just in Jerusalem but also from Bethlehem to Alexandria, Egypt, to hear the stories of indigenous Christians and why many are leaving.