On Aug. 14, the Egyptian Army moved against large groups of protesters who had set up camp in Cairo. They had been in the streets since July 3, when the military removed Mohamed Morsi from the presidency and the Muslim Brotherhood from power. Using helicopters, tanks, tear gas and live ammunition — and encountering live fire in return — the Army’s move touched off violence that has left hundreds of Egyptians dead. Morsi remains incommunicado, and thousands of  Brotherhood members have been rounded up.

Anger at the Army quickly was directed at Egypt’s Christian churches. Though Christians are a distinct minority of the population, Morsi’s supporters saw the hand of the Coptic Church in the military coup, and mobs attacked dozens of churches up and down the Nile, especially in the Minya region in southern Egypt, where the Christian population is most concentrated — and where some of Egypt’s staunchest Islamist elements are based.

Cairo-based photographer David Degner spent several days in late August in the Minya region, documenting the deep wounds to some of  Egypt’s churches. As with a fire that burns through a forest, Degner found widespread destruction. And, as with the green shoots of new growth that push up through the ashes on the forest floor, he found signs of new life among the destruction.

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