Cairo (Agenzia Fides). The North Cairo Criminal Court approved the death sentence for Ahmed Said al-Sonbati, the young man who on October 13, killed and stabbed Coptic priest Samaan Shahata in a peripheral street in Cairo. (see Fides 16/10/2017).

On Wednesday, November 15 – report Egyptian media sources – the documentation of the court proceedings was filed at the office of the Grand Mufti of Egypt, which will have to confirm the legitimacy of the ruling from the Islamic legal doctrine point of view. The court set the date to declare a final verdict to January 15 2018.

During the trial, the assassin confessed that he had premedidated the murder and had studied the priest's movements before attacking and killing him. Father Samaan was attacked by his assassin while he was in the car with another priest. The murderer forced him to get out of the car and beat him to death.

After the killing, some versions relaunched by Egyptian media had presented the assassin as a mentally disturbed person.

Representatives of the Orthodox Coptic Church, such as Anba Stephanos, Orthodox Coptic Bishop of Beba, al Fashn and Samasta, had strongly rejected those versions, which presented the killing as a violent act committed by a mentally unstable person. Before the trial, a medical examination certified that the assassin did not suffer from any mental illness, and was fully conscious when he committed the murder.

Coptic priest Samaan Shetata, married and father of three children, belonging to a diocese of Upper Egypt, was in Cairo to raise funds in favor of the poor of his region. After the murder, Coptic Orthodox Bishop Raphael, Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church, issued a statement in which, among other things, deplored the fact that many criminals and terrorists, authors of violence against Christians, were not affected by any form of punishment, while some were released after the arrest. This anomaly - emphasized Anba Raphael - contributes to spreading the impression that crimes against Christian citizens often remain unpunished. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 16/11/2017)


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)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (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.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

"My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights." (Proverbs 3:11,12 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Do all in your power not to fall, for the strong athlete should not fall. But if you do fall, get up again at once and continue the contest. Even if you fall a thousand times because of the withdrawal of God's grace, rise up again each time, and keep on doing this until the day of your death. For it is written, 'If a righteous man falls down seven times' - that is, repeatedly throughout his life - 'seven times shall he rise again' [Prov. 24:16].

John of Karpathos