The Mass was celebrated as if from centuries past: A bearded priest veiled in incense chanted for grace in a church along the Nile, near the spot where Christians believe Jesus and his mother sought refuge in an earlier age of bloodshed and uncertainty.
Marianne Samir knelt and prayed for the Coptic Christians killed in a spasm of sectarian violence that has further shaken a nation engulfed in economic and political anxieties.
“I feel unsafe,” said Samir, a high school philosophy teacher with a cross tattooed on her wrist. “The Islamists want war. They want strife. But this is our land too. It is a country blessed by God, and there’s no way we’ll leave it to them.”