New Year’s Eve at the Church of Saints Mark and Peter in Alexandria

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A statement from the Coptic Orthodox Church UK

Official Statement of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom regarding the New Year's Eve at the Church of Saints Mark and Peter in Alexandria

We are deeply saddened and disturbed that once again, days of joy and celebration have been turned into a time of mourning and weeping. Our immediate thoughts and prayers are with all those who were affected by the bombing at the Church of Saints Mark and Peter in Alexandria: those who have lost their lives, their families, those who were injured, members of that parish, Christian communities in general, and Christians throughout the land of Egypt.

This was a time when Christians went as families to pray in the safety of the house of God. Men, women, children and the elderly gathered together in prayer for a happy and peaceful new year. Instead, they became the innocent victims of a most horrific, callus and cowardly act of terror and violence.

As a Church that has lost millions to martyrdom throughout the centuries we understand that dying for one's Faith is a blessing and a privilege; we also recognise the necessity of carrying our cross. At the same time however, we believe life and liberty to be gifts from God which we must honour and value. Advocating for these values, whether for our own brethren or for strangers, is a matter of Christian responsibility.
We are concerned that incidents of violence and terror against Christians in Egypt are increasingly spiralling out of control. They continue to go unchecked and unresolved, and their perpetrators are not brought to justice. This passiveness has sent out the message that Christians in Egypt are an easy and legitimate target. Today’s event demonstrates this and puts matters on a wholly new level.

We therefore agree with the address given by His Excellency President Mubarak in which he states that 'a red line has been crossed.' This is indeed a turning point in Egypt’s history. These are no longer sectarian scuffles or attacks on Christian Churches and communities, but are premeditated acts of terrorism and violence that are unprecedented in Egypt. A very different solution is now needed to deal with a very different kind of problem.

We pray for the peace of all, Christians and Muslims alike, and that every Egyptian may enjoy freedom and security to live and practise Faith without fear of violence or terror; protected by the various arms of the nation state they call home.

Bishop Angaelos
General Bishop, Coptic Orthodox Church, United Kingdom and Scholar-Consultant to the Christian Muslim Forum

The Archbishop of Canterbury made this statement: The new year’s eve attack on Christians in Alexandria is yet another dreadful reminder of the pressure of Christian minorities are under in the Middle East, echoing the atrocities we have seen in recent weeks. The Coptic community and other Christian groups in Egypt can be sure of our deep sorrow at this terrible event and our continuing prayers and support for them. We know the long and honourable history of co-existence of Christians and Muslims in Egypt and are confident that the overwhelming majority of Egyptian people will join in condemning this and similar acts.

We ask all Christians and Muslims to pray for peace in Egypt, and elsewhere, to build good inter faith relations in your churches, masjids (mosques) and neighbourhoods and support those who build bridges and work for peace.

Julian Bond
Director
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