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Egypt: Pope Tawadros on Holy Week and attack risks, “We are in the hands of the Lord. God is judge and the owner of life and death”


“Our sentiment (throughout the year, not just at Easter) is that we are in the hands of the Lord: in the hands of the God who has loved all human beings, doing anything for our good. God is judge. He is the owner of life and death. What we can do is praying and working for peace. Our prayer is for peace to be given us as a gift spreading all over the Earth”. Those words were spoken by Pope Tawadros II, leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Patriarch of Alexandria, in an interview given to SIR, and in regard to concern about attacks against the Orthodox Coptic community in Egypt, with a view to the celebrations for the Holy Week, by Christian traditions following the Julian calendar, and starting on 1 April with the Palm Sunday, and ending on 8 April with the celebration of Easter. 2017 was a very hard year for the Coptic Christian community in Egypt: according to the calculation by the Associated Press, since December 2016, at least 100 people were killed and hundreds wounded. The most ferocious attack by ISIS took place last year on Palm Sunday. First the explosion during the Mass in the church of Saint George, in the city of Tanta, North of Cairo; then the attack in the Cathedral of Saint Mark, Alexandria.  The reaction of the Orthodox Coptic community to the fury of violence was based on “forgiveness”. “When we recite the Pater Noster, at a certain point we say: ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors’”, says Pope Tawadros. “When a love like that is in our heart, when our prayer is sincere, and when we believe in the pardon of the Lord, we have a special strength allowing us to forgive those who have hurt us, even the people causing painful attacks”. “We do what Jesus Christ did. It is written in the Holy Bible. God loved the whole mankind until the end. And if we love every person with that measure, we shall also pray for each person. The Lord is watching our works”.


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