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

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV)

Theophany

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 1)

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

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

"Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her." (Proverbs 8:10,11 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The work of prayer belongs to the angels, and is, therefore, the special concern of the Church. Every other work, i.e., charity, nursing the brethren, visiting the sick, caring for prisoners, releasing captives, and other similar things, is done by the brethren in love and offered by them to God. Similarly, poverty, fasting, sleeping on the ground, prostrations, vigils, etc., are good and like a sacrifice to God, because they aim to subdue and humble the body so that we may be purified and approach God and become friends of God -- yet these things do not present us directly to God, whereas prayer does so and unites us with Him. A person praying acts towards God like a friend -- conversing, confiding, requesting -- and through this becomes one with our Maker Himself.

St. Symeon of Thessalonica