11 Apr Palm Sunday Attacks 9th of April 2017
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:35
On 9 April 2017, whilst Christians around the world celebrated Palm Sunday, the minority Coptic Orthodox Christians in Egypt suffered yet another barbaric attack in the form of two consecutive bombings targeting them as they prayed: the first attack happened in Tanta and the other was in Alexandria, The first suicide bombing occurred inside the St George Cathedral in Tanta killed 31 adults, children and wounded 71 adults and children.
Families, including children, were enjoying the joyous tunes of Palm Sunday as they prayed at the Cathedral of St. George in Tanta, when the cowardly bomb blast hit causing devastation.
Whilst dealing with the shock and devastation of this attack, a second attack hit at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria a short time later in the same day, where His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St Mark, was praying. This further barbaric attack saw more innocent lives of families and children catastrophically lost. This second suicide bombing attack occurred right outside St Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria killed 17 adults, children and wounded 40 adults and children.
The recent suicide bomb attacks on Coptic Churches in Egypt are a tragedy. They strike at the very heart of what we hold most dear – the freedom of worship.
The Coptic community of Sydney, and the wider Coptic communities, is saddened by the magnitude of this loss and devastation, in particular the loss of lives and the undoubtedly permanent damage caused to those injured, and those families who have suffered a loved one.
The Coptic Orthodox community, all the Christians and other religions around the world are united, as Coptic Christians, grieve again the loss of innocent lives, caused by cowardly acts of terrorists.
“The multitude had come to the Feast and took branches of Palm Trees and went to meet Our Lord crying “Hosanna” instead the Lord welcomed them in His Heavenly Bosom….” Quote from Media Release of Council of Bishops of Eastern Churches in Australia & New Zealand.
We pray that our Lord Jesus Christ may keep the life of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, His Grace Bishop Paula, Bishop of Tanta and all the members of the Holy Synod, and comfort the hearts of those families affected, and grant peace, patience for all Christians and all our brothers in humanity.
We pray to God to support the president of Egypt His Excellency Mohamed Abdel Fatah El Sisi for his immediate actions after the events, we pray to God to grant him the power to continue building new Egypt full of love and peace. May the Almighty God keep Egypt – the blessed land-, safe always.
These suicide bombings are an abomination and we condemn these cowardly attacks in the strongest possible terms. The evil perpetrators behind this sadistic hatred stand condemned for these shocking atrocities as no real religion call for killing people.
We ask that the Lord may forgive those responsible for these heinous crimes, and open the eyes of anyone who supports such terrorist barbaric acts, to repent and to see the unintended effect of their actions and the suffering they cause to those families who have lost a loved one.
The persecution and suppression of Coptic Christians is tragically not uncommon. For centuries, we have been targeted but our resolve will overcome the most testing of times. We will not be broken.
We pray that they see that these actions will only build the resolve of Christians to continue strong and united in their faith.
The Diocese of Sydney & Affiliated Regions express thanks to the Prime Minister of Australia, The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, to the Leader of Opposition The Hon Bill Shorten MP, to The Primer of NSW, The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP, to the Leader of the Opposition in NSW, The Hon. Luke FOLEY, MP and to all those who expressed their love and support to Egypt and to the Coptic Orthodox Church.
As we mourn and share in the feelings of loss of our brothers and sisters, the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Sydney & Affiliated Regions, this Easter will only celebrate the ritual celebration of the Resurrection Feast on April 16, 2017. As a mark of respect to the victims, there will be no other celebrations or congratulations for the feast this year.
While we are celebrating the joyful Feast of Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ on Sunday 16 April 2017, we will be mourning the innocent lives that were lost in Egypt by receiving condolences at St Mary & St Mina Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Bexley, 339 Forest Road, BEXLEY, from 11am – 1pm.
We lift our hearts in prayer that the Lord Jesus Christ may bestow His peace upon Egypt and the whole world.
Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox church – Diocese of Sydney & Affiliated Regions