Deisis (Novogorod)

Dozens killed in bombings at Coptic churches; Islamic State claims responsibility

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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This Week's Scripture

May 21, 2017
Sixth Sunday of Pascha (Blind Man)
- Matins: John 20:11-18 (Gospel 8)
- Liturgy: Acts 16:16-34, John 9:1-38

Sixth Week of Pascha
- Monday: Acts 17:1-15, John11:47-57
- Tuesday: Acts 17:19-28, John 12:19-36
- Wednesday: Acts 18:22-28, John 12:36-47

May 26, 2017
Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord
- Vespers: Isaiah 2:1-3, Isaiah 62:10-63:9, Zechariah 14:1,4,8-11
- Matins: Mark 16:9-20
- Liturgy: Acts 1:1-12, Luke 24:36-53

- Friday: Acts 19:1-8, John 14:1-11
- Saturday: Acts 20:7-12, John 14:10-21

May 28, 2017
Seventh Sunday of Pascha (Sunday of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council)
- Vespers: Genesis 14:14-20, Deuteronomy 1:8-11, Deuteronomy 10:14-21
- Matins: John 21:1-14 (Gospel 10)
- Liturgy: Acts 20:16-18, 28-36, John 17:1-13

Seventh Week of Pascha
- Monday: Acts 21:8-14, John14:27-15:7
- Tuesday: Acts 21:26-32, John 16:2-13
- Wednesday: Acts 23:1-11, John 16:15-23
- Thursday: Acts 25:13-19, John 16:23-33
- Friday: Acts 27:1-44, John 17:18-26
- Saturday (All Souls Saturday): Acts 28:1-31, John 21:15-25

June 4, 2017
Pentecost - Feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit
- Vespers: Numbers 11:16,17,24-29, Joel 2:23-32, Ezekiel 36:24-28
- Matins: John 20:19-23
- Liturgy: Acts 2:1-11, John 7:37-52; 8:12

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Wisdom from the Church Fathers

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St. Symeon the New Theologian