Gaza’s tiny Christian community huddles in churches to hide from war
For hundreds of years, empires and armies have come and gone in Gaza, but holy service at the Church of Saint Porphyrius has continued. The rituals have carried on in recent weeks as Israeli forces moved on Gaza City, bombs fell and fighting raged on the streets outside. Despite the battle around them, Greek Orthodox priests dressed in gold-trimmed cassocks have carried on holding mass for the hundreds taking shelter in the church. Built on a site first consecrated in the fifth century, this house of God has become a wartime home for many of the enclave’s Christian community.
Gaza’s entire population of Christians numbers just 800 to 1,000 people — and almost all of them are now hiding in Saint Porphyrius and the nearby Holy Family Church, part of the Gaza City’s last remaining Catholic parish.