Pope Tawadros II has sent a message of faith and hope and a prayer for peace and unity in the country in a short video that he recorded immediately after the terrorist attack in Minya, which claimed the lives of 11 people including 3 children and 7 women, for which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility. “On this day, – the Egyptian Pope said – we are suffering to see a number of our sons and daughters killed and wounded on their way to the Saint Samuel the Confessor monastery”. “Our hope is in the resurrection, and we know that God the Almighty sees everything and controls all events in our lives”. The Coptic Pope went on to thank the Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the ministers and the medical staff, who have provided healthcare and psychological assistance to those affected by the attack in a number of hospitals.
“We know that such events do not only affect us as Christians, but the entire Egyptian society, and we know that the most precious thing we have is our unity and our cohesion. As happened in the past, these events increase our strength and strengthen our resilience. We raise our hearts to heaven and pray for these martyrs, for the healing of those injured, for those who are suffering because of this incident, for the security of our country and the preservation of peace and – the Coptic Pope concluded – we also pray for those who have carried out this attack, causing pain and anguish”. The attack took place along the road between Sohag and Minya leading to the monastery of Bishop Samuel. It is the second time that groups of pilgrims are targeted on the same road: the first time was in May 2017, in an attack that caused the death of nearly 30 people. Also that year, a month and a half earlier, a massacre was perpetrated on 9 April, Palm Sunday, when terrorists struck St Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria and St George’s (Mar Ghirghis) in Tanta. About 50 people lost their lives. The attack took place about twenty days before the Pope’s visit.
Pope Francis remembered the victims of the attack during yesterday’s Angelus prayer. “I wish to express my sorrow for the terrorist attack that struck the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt two days ago. I pray for the victims, pilgrims who were killed just for being Christians, and I ask Mary Most Holy to console families and the entire community”.