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 Research Project, with the support of the Templeton Religion Trust.


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Symposium: What Is To Be Done? Responding to the Global Persecution of Christians

April 20, 2017
National Press Club, Washington, DC

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How do Christians respond to persecution? How can the rest of the world exercise solidarity with them? This day-long public symposium will propose concrete recommendations for action in response to these questions. It will feature globally prominent speakers on religious freedom and leading scholars of global Christianity. A highlight will be the launch of the report, In Response to Persecution, which conveys the results of the Under Caesar’s Sword project, featuring findings from over 25 of the world’s most repressive countries.

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Documentary Film: Bring Their Stories to a Screen Near You

27 Minutes

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Titled Under Caesar’s Sword, this 27-minute documentary film chronicles the experiences of Christian communities in Turkey, India, and other countries where their religious freedom is violated. The film features interviews with Christian families, refugees and leaders from these regions as well as the insight of scholars who have studied Christians’ response to their suffering. It highlights the dramatic, creative strategies Christians employ as they struggle to survive, build alliances, and resist their persecutors.

What can your church, school, or other group learn from them?  How can we work together to protect the religious freedom of all people, especially religious minorities?

Film and Discussion Guide

  • 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.

Under Caesar's Sword on Twitter | @CaesarsSword

  • 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