A Stevenage-based religious leader says he’s ‘saddened’ by the loss of ‘precious lives’ after attacks on Coptic Christians, south of Cairo.
Bishop Angaelos, who’s the General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, has issued a statement after six civilians and a policeman died.
Egypt’s interior ministry says it happened when a gunman tried to storm a church, following an attack on a Coptic-owned shop in the same area, killing two brothers.
Bishop Angaleos, who is based at Shephalbury Park said: “This should be a time at which individuals and families are preparing to receive a New Year, and in the case of Coptic Orthodox Christians, to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity (Christmas) on the 7 January according to the ancient Julian Calendar. I am saddened however that we find ourselves once again mourning the loss of the precious lives of innocent children, women and men who did no more than attend their local parish to pray as millions do around the world”.
He continued: “Yesterday’s (Friday) attack on the Church of St Mina in Helwan, on the outskirts of Cairo, indeed directly targeted the indigenous Christian community of Egypt, but alongside the Christians who lost their lives, there was at least one Muslim member of the security services who paid the ultimate price to protect his fellow Egyptian citizens exercising their right to worship.
Even at this painful time, the Christians of Egypt, who have mourned over 120 members in the past year as a result of targeted attacks on Churches and individuals, continue to do what they have done for centuries; they are resilient, forgiving, hopeful, and praying for Egypt, and its leadership, during this trying time of its contemporary history.
I hope that the extraordinary reaction of this faithful community that I am honoured to call my own might transform the hearts of those who continue to seek its destruction”.