CWN - At least 44 Coptic Christians were killed on Palm Sunday, April 9, in two separate bombings.

More than 30 people were killed, and 75 others injured, when a suicide bomber approached the altar of a historic Coptic church in Tanta, north of Cairo, and set up off device at the front of the church. Soon thereafter, another suicide bomber struck at St. Mark’s cathedral in Alexandria, where the Coptic Pope Tawadros was presiding at Palm Sunday services. At least a dozen people were killed, and another 65 injured, in the latter attack.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombings. Egyptian authorities say that the Muslim Brotherhood was also involved.

The two Coptic churches appear to have been chosen for their symbolic value. The Mar Girgis Church in Tanta is one of the oldes Christian churches in Egypt, dating back to the year 316. The cathedral in Alexandria was likely targeted because of the presence of Pope Tawadros.

 

Security at the cathedral was tight, and the suicide bomber was stopped at a screening point when he detonated his explosive belt. Pope Tawadros was not hurt, and was escorted from the damaged building under heavy security.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi telephoned his condolences to Pope Tawadros after the bombings, and declared three days of national mourning. He also declared a national state of emergency, and ordered troops to protect Christian churches.

A Vatican spokesman said that the bombings would not affect plans for a visit to Egypt by Pope Francis later this month. “There is no doubt that the Holy Father will maintain his resolution to go,” Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the deputy secretary of state, tol Corriere della Sera. “What happened caused dismay and great suffering, but it cannot stop the Pope’s mission of peace.”

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Teachings of Christ

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33 ESV)

Resurrection

Christ is risen from the dead * trampling down Death by death, * and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (Troparion)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Although You descended into the tomb, O Immortal One, * You destroyed the power of Hades; * You arose as the victor, O Christ God, * proclaiming to the myrrh-bearing women: “Rejoice!” * And granting peace to Your Apostles, * O, You, Who gives resurrection to the fallen. (Kontakion)

Random Proverb

"The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin." (Proverbs 10:10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Let us go forward with the heart completely attentive and the soul fully conscious. For if attentiveness and prayer are daily joined together, they become like Elias' fire-bearing chariot, raising us to heaven. What do I mean? A spiritual heaven, with sun, moon and stars, is formed in the blessed heart of one who has reach a state of watchfulness, or who strives to attain it.

St. Philotheus of Sinai