The following statements have been issued after the explosion that killed 25 worshipers at St Peter’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo on 11 December 2016:
Presidents of Churches Together in England (CTE)
‘We heard with deep sorrow and concern of the attack yesterday on St Peter’s Coptic Orthodox Church within the complex of St Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo as people gathered to worship. We pray for those who have lost loved ones that they may know God’s comforting presence. We pray too for the nation of Egypt as it mourns. As we prepare once more to celebrate the coming of Christ, the Prince of Peace, our prayer is that all people of faith in Egypt, Muslims and Christians alike, may be strengthened in their quest for peace and their rejection of the crude and cruel tactics of the terrorists.’
Cardinal Nichols, Catholic Church in England and Wales
Cardinal Vincent Nichols has written to Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK offering the prayers and condolences of the Catholic Community in England and Wales:
‘It was with great sorrow that I learned of the attack, on Saturday, at St Peter’s Coptic Orthodox Church within the complex of St Mark’s Cathedral, in Cairo and also of the murderous attack in the city, on Friday, where six policemen lost their lives.
‘I pray for the repose of the souls of all those who died, for those who have been injured, and every family and community affected. These senseless attacks continue to shock the world and all who hold that respect for human life is an essential foundation for every society.’
For more details see the Catholic Church in England and Wales website.
HG Bishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Church UK
‘Today is a day of many emotions: sadness, nervousness, uncertainty, and understandably even anger at times. That is because yesterday was a day in which we witnessed the worst of humanity, when innocent women and children who decided to worship their God in their spiritual home had their lives needlessly and senselessly ended without warning. They were used as pawns; a means to an end’
Bishop Angaelos was also interviewed by BBC News
Church of Scotland
The Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr, has written to the Coptic Church in Egypt to express his shock and sadness:
‘Such an attack against innocent Christians joining one another to worship God is despicable, the loss of life unimaginable, and I can only begin to imagine the grief and suffering of so many people.
‘I am aware that this attack strikes directly at the heart of the strongest Christian presence in the Middle East and North Africa and appears to be a direct attempt to fuel sectarian issues.’
See the Church of Scotland website for full details.
Conference of European Churches (CEC)
CEC has also commented on the bombing in Istanbul outside a football stadium which killed upwards of 38 people. It has joined-in calls for peace and solidarity:
‘The Conference of European Churches is shocked and grieved by these events. They are a sorrowful reminder of the instability of the security situation in Turkey and Egypt, and the threat many face in their daily lives. We lament the continuing pattern of violence and persecution against Christians and other minorities throughout the Middle East.’
For full details see the CEC press release.
World Council of Churches (WCC)
World Council of Churches general secretary, Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, called for an end to violence and corruption that stands in the way of a global just peace, following the explosion in Egypt and also two bombings in Istanbul, Turkey, and the collapse of a church roof in Nigeria killing 160 people, the day before.
‘It has been a weekend in which tragedy and darkness seem to be on a crescendo, said Tveit. “People gathered to worship should be able to connect with God in a place of dignity, protection and respect,” he said. “People attending a sporting event should be able to have a sense of fellowship that is unmarred by violence.’
‘The weekend’s sad events remind us that, more than ever, the pursuit of just peace is vital on every front: individuals, governments, structures, systems’, said Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.
See the WCC website for the full statement.