Staff of the Bible Society of Egypt gathered together this morning (12 December) to pray and watch the funeral of the 25 people killed in Sunday’s bomb blast at St Mark’s Coptic Cathedral, Cairo. The bombing, which also injured 49 people and whose victims were mostly women and children, took place during morning mass. It was the deadliest attack on Egypt’s Christians since a 2011 explosion killed 21 people at a church in Alexandria.
“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,’” said a Bible Society spokeswoman.
Heart of Christianity in Egypt
The Botrosiya Church is located within St Mark’s Coptic Cathedral complex in central Cairo – the heart of Christianity in Egypt and the seat of the Coptic Pope Tawadros II in Cairo. The bombing is the latest indication of how challenging it is for Christians living in Egypt, who account for about 10% of Egypt’s 92 million people. The Bible Society is requesting prayer, for the Church in Egypt as they mourn, 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.
“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,” continued the Bible Society spokeswoman.
“How are Christians responding? Despite the horror, grief and fear, there is an increased determination to attend church, to love and to forgive. In the immediate wake of the attack, several Christians posted this status update: ‘Dear terrorist, slay whomever you want among us, we’re used to your sword a long time ago. Our faith is not going to be shakeable – it is even stronger. We love you despite you hating us. We’re blessing you and praying for you. Christ said ‘Love your enemies’ and our life is a gift for you.’”
The violence is a bitter blow on top of an economic crisis that is affecting all Egyptians – Christians and non-Christians alike. In the wake of the floating of the Egyptian pound last month, the currency has already lost half its value.
“This is causing a crisis here in Egypt and it is affecting us in so many ways. Please be praying,” said the Bible Society spokeswoman. “The cost of all our products and anything that is imported is doubling. So we are working hard now on the cash flow for next year’s budget, which will be very difficult.”
She added that soaring prices are leaving people in desperate circumstances and afraid for the future, which is affecting their giving.
“The value of their gifts is now half of what it was, which is discouraging for all. Please pray for the situation of our donors, and also for our fundraisers and sales teams who have their targets to meet and their jobs to do while suffering themselves from this crisis at the same time.”
Story by Lois Nagieb, Bible Society of Egypt, and Anne Lim, Eternity News