- Jan 24, 2020
In his final Angelus address of 2017, Pope Francis expressed “closeness” to Coptic Orthodox Christians in Egypt recently struck by attacks, asking God to “convert the hearts” of those who carry out such violence.
At least 10 people, including eight Coptic Christians, were killed after unidentified gunmen opened fire outside a church in a south Cairo suburb.
The Minya Coptic Orthodox Diocese said authorities sealed off two churches in the southern province, citing harassment and attacks by extremists. A third was closed due to fear of attacks. The diocese urged authorities to end discrimination against Christians and “not to succumb to the fundamentalists.”
Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, the head of the Coptic Catholic Church, says after several attacks in the last 12 months by Islamic militants, Christians in Egypt have shown their “unshakable faith.” He was speaking at an event sponsored by the Italian branch of Aid to the Church in Need.
Egypt has battled militants in Sinai for years, but the insurgency became far more deadly after the 2013 military ouster of Mohammed Morsi, an elected Islamist president. Egypt maintains that militants attacking its security forces and minority Christians sneak into the country across the border with Libya carrying weapons.
Pope Francis has sent Pope Tawadros II a letter commemorating the “Day of friendship between the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church,” which marks the 44th anniversary of the first meeting between Blessed Paul VI and Pope Shenouda III.