Monday, April 10, 2017

Coptic Christians Attacked in Egypt

On Palm Sunday, a day which begins the Passion of the Christ as He entered Jerusalem on a donkey while the people praised Him with palms, a horrific attack took place in Egypt against Coptic Christians.  Worshipers were gathered at St. Mark's Cathedral with Pope Tawadros II leading the Palm Sunday service when a bomb went off killing many participants.  Not too long before, a bomb had gone off at a parish north of Cairo.  Pope Tawadros II was said to have planned to visit that site before the building he was present himself was attacked.  He is fine, but obviously upset over the attack.  ISIS has claimed responsibility. The method of the attack was via suicide bombers.

The Coptic Church is believed to have been established by St. Mark around 45-50 AD. It separated from the Catholic Church headed by Pope Saint Leo I at the time during of the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD after its bishops took a different stance on the nature of Christ (hypostatic union: Jesus' divine and human natures). The Church is a branch of the Oriental Orthodox and is one of the oldest Christian Churches.  Its patriarch, Tawardros II is called "pope" due to the fact that bishops and patriarchs were referred to "pope" or "father" at the time.  Only the pope of Rome is the successor of St. Peter and Vicar of Christ.

Pope Francis has condemned the attacks during Palm Sunday Mass in Rome. He said, “I express my heartfelt sorrow, and pray that the Lord will convert the hearts of those who sow fear, violence and death, and those who make and traffic arms.” Christians around the world have also offered up their prayers and have condemned the attack.  Security has been increased at local cathedrals and other centers of Christian worship.

Over 30 Coptic Christians were killed in the blasts.  The total may increase if those wounded succumb to their injuries.  Those present describe the carnage as immense.  Worshipers had blood-covered palms in their hands; the blood of modern martyrs!  Let us pray for our Coptic brothers and sisters.

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