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Coptic Christians in the Holy Land are asking for prayer after a video emerged showing "excessive force" by Israeli security against monks of the Coptic Patriarchate engaging in a peaceful protest.
According to Middle East Concern, the security forces used "unprecedented force" against the monks who were opposing alleged violations of church property by the Israeli government.
It's reported one monk was arrested and detained, but later freed after intervention from the Egyptian Embassy.
The dispute is linked to the Chapel of Archangel Michael in Deir Sultan which sits next to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It has been contested for many years after an Ethiopian congregation was permitted by the Israeli government to take control of the property, despite a court ruling upholding the property rights of the Coptic Church.
Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, Archbishop Angaelos labelled the video "alarming".
In a statement he said: "With this alarmingly and escalating situation, we pray safety and peace for His Eminence Archbishop Antonios and his clergy and community in Jerusalem.
"We also pray wisdom, discernment, and true visionary and reconciliatory leadership for Israeli authorities, as they find a legitimate path through this now complex situation in the very birthplace of Christianity, especially as it affects a community that represents the largest Christian presence in the Middle East, continues to face persecution, is recognised and respected around the world for its spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation, and has been a peaceful and contributing presence in Jerusalem and the Holy Lands for millennia."
In a prayer request submitted through Middle East Concern, Christians in the Holy Land said: "Pray that God will comfort the monks and others who were attacked and shown such disrespect and that they will forgive their abusers.
"Pray too that the tense situation in Deir Sultan will quickly become peaceful and that God will give wisdom to church leaders in handling the affair, in order that peaceable relations would be maintained between the churches and the authorities."
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