A bomb blast in St Peter’s church in Cairo on Sunday killed 25 people and wounded 49, mostly women and children.
The bombing during morning mass was the deadliest attack on Egypt’s Christians since a 2011 bombing killed 21 people at a church in Alexandria.
The Sunday bombing is the latest indication of how challenging it is for Christians living in Egypt, who account for about 10 per cent of Egypt’s 92 million people.
The Bible Society of Egypt has requested prayers for the Church in Egypt as it mourns, and for the whole country in the face of terrorism. This attack comes two days after six policemen were killed in an explosion in Giza, the deadliest attack on security forces in Cairo in more than six months.
These attacks are a bitter blow on top of an economic crisis in Egypt that is affecting Christians and non-Christians alike. In the wake of the floating of the Egyptian pound last month, the currency has already lost half of its value. “This is causing a crisis here in Egypt, for most, including us, and it affects us in so many ways. Please be praying,” says a spokeswoman for Bible Society of Egypt. “The cost of all our products and anything that is imported to Egypt is doubling. So we are working now hard on the cash flow for next year’s budget which will be very difficult.”
She says the soaring prices are leaving people in desperate circumstances and afraid for the future, which is affecting their giving. “Even the value of the gift is now half of what it once was, which is discouraging for all.”
Like many in Egypt and around the world, the Bible Society of Egypt’s staff gathered the day after the attack (last night, in Australia) to watch the funeral for victims of the bombing.
“We tearfully join the Church in renewing our commitment to live according to Romans 12:21 – ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,’” says the BSoE spokeswoman.
“What is Cairo like for Christians the morning after? As with other such tragedies, there is an outpouring of mutual grief and solidarity, as all Egyptians are shocked and outraged at the evil intent of extremists.”
Despite the horror, grief and fear, Christians in Egypt have already responded with increased determination to attend church, as well as to love and to forgive. Several Christians immediately posted this status update online:
“Dear terrorist, slay whomever you want among us, we’re used to your sword long time ago. Our faith is not going to be shakeable, it is even stronger. We love you despite you hating us, blessing and praying for you. Christ said, ‘Love your enemies’ and our life is a gift for you.”
Header image: St Mark’s Coptic Cathedral, Cairo, that stands next to the church bombed on Sunday. St Peter’s church is located within the St Mark’s Coptic Cathedral complex in central Cairo, the heart of Christianity in Egypt and the seat of the Coptic Pope Tawadros II.
Image Credit: Roland Unger/Wikimedia [License]