Christians around the world are being brutally persecuted, facing imprisonment, torture, and even death. We shed light on their responses so that the world may know their stories and that others facing persecution may forge similar paths of witness and resistance.

"Under Caesar’s Sword" is a collaborative global research project that investigates how Christian communities respond when their religious freedom is severely violated. It is a partnership of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, the Religious Freedom Institute, and Georgetown University's Religious Freedom Project, with the support of the Templeton Religion Trust.


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Under Caesar's Sword: An International Conference on Christian Response to Persecution

Now Available: Watch Conference Trailer and Footage
December 10-12, 2015
Pontifical Urban University, Rome, Italy

We were thrilled to welcome hundreds of participants for a global conversation with prominent church leaders, policy makers, religious freedom advocates, scholars, and human rights activists. The conference introduced the results of the world's first systematic global investigation into the responses of Christian communities to the violation of their religious freedom.  Learn More

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Meet our scholars

Our team of scholars consists of 14 of the world’s leading experts on global Christianity who will study some 100 beleaguered Christian communities in over 30 countries, including China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, and India.

The findings of their research informs all of our project's activities, including an edited volume of scholarly essays, a public presentation in Washington, DC, a documentary, educational materials, and this website.

Our scholars played a central role at the international Rome conference as they presented and discussed the results of their research with an international audience of stakeholders.

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  • In 2008, violence against Christians in Orissa, India, has resulted in nearly 40 Christians killed and over 10,000 displaced.

  • In 2013, Christians were harassed in 102 countries.

  • In 2012 76% of the world's population lived in a religiously repressive country.

  • An average of 10 people are killed daily by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram in Nigeria.

  • Christians are the victims of 80% of all acts of religious discrimination in the world.

  • Before 2003, there were around 1.2 million Christians in Iraq. Within ten years, they shrunk to around 500 thousand.

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  • The Bishop of Rome will not rest while there are still men and women of any religion, whose dignity is wounded and who are deprived of their basic needs for survival, robbed of their future, or forced to live as fugitives and refugees. Today, we join the Pastors of the Oriental Churches, in appealing that the right of everyone to a dignified life and to freely profess one’s own faith be respected
    – Pope Francis
  • Are we seeing the end of Christianity [in Iraq]? We are committed come what may, we will keep going to the end, but it looks as though the end could be very near.
    – Louis Raphael I Sako, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon
  • We don’t forgive the act because the act is heinous. But we do forgive the killers from the depths of our hearts. Otherwise, we would become consumed by anger and hatred. It becomes a spiral of violence that has no place in this world.
    – Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom
  • We are witnessing levels of persecution of ancient Christian communities of the Middle East at levels that are something that we have not seen, one could almost say, in millennia. It’s very disturbing and disheartening...
    – Katrina Lantos-Swett, Chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom
  • [Shahbaz Bhatti] was a brave man, a man of courage, he took a stand for the minorities. When he took the oath for the new cabinet, he said he would fight till the last drop of his blood. He proved himself, stood firm and paid the price by his blood. This should be an eye opener for minorities and the government. How much more blood will it take to realize that enough is enough.
    – Rufin Anthony, Bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, Pakistan
  • [Religious] minorities are threatened with death and executed, they are kidnapped and raped, they are robbed and pillaged. They are denied water and electric service. Women are kidnapped and sold and forced to marry ISIS members. Women are forced to wear veils.
    – Pascale Warda, Former Minister of Migration and Displacement in the Iraqi Interim Government