Affliction, pain and solidarity. These are the sentiments of the people and the delegations who arrived here to extend their condolences to the Coptic Church in Jerusalem. They came from various regions of the Holy Land to express their closeness to the Copts after the terrorist attack on December 11 in Cairo, Egypt, where an explosion inside St. Peter’s Church caused 25 deaths and wounded over 50 people.
Fr. ANTONIOS ALORASHALIMI
Secretary General of the Coptic Patriarchate in Jerusalem
“We are deeply shocked to hear about this terrorist attack. The people who planned and executed this attack do not belong to any religion: this was an act that lacks humanity and mercy.”
For three hours, several Christians, Muslims and members of the clergy expressed their closeness to the Coptic Church at this difficult time. The terrorist attack was perpetrated through a 12 pound explosive device, detonated in the area dedicated to women, while the faithful attended the Advent Mass on Sunday.
It feels like an earthquake that affects all of us. With everything that is going on, how can we celebrate ?! Who wants to celebrate Christmas?
“The martyrs of St. Peter’s Church are also our martyrs. First of all, we extend our condolences to the Egyptian people and to the members of the Coptic Church. This is an inhumane act, a terrorist act beyond any doubt; this is the result of a plan that excludes altruism; this is lack of acceptance of others.”
The last major attack on a place of worship dates back to New Year of 2011, when 23 people lost their lives in a Coptic church in Alexandria.
(Mt. 5: 11-12). There are many verses of the Gospel in which Jesus announces the persecution of those who will follow him, which can lead to death, a holy death.
Fr. FRANCESCO MARIA, ofm
Vice Parish Priest of Jerusalem
“You should say ‘Congratulations’, because these men have become saints, they got the palms of martyrdom. Best wishes to these new saints who came to worship God and pray.”
The whole world has condemned the explosion of which ISIS has recently claimed responsibility. In Egypt, the flags were lowered to half-staff and three days of national mourning in memory of the new martyrs were declared.
Source: Christian Media Center–Custodia Terra Sanctae