Egyptian Coptic Bishop: “Forgiving those who attack us makes us stronger.”

Egyptians have been the most recent victims of atrocious attacks.

These Egyptians have been the most recent victims of atrocious attacks that have not only shocked Middle East Christians, but also the entire world, including the pope. Attacks on Palm Sunday, or the massacre against this bus of pilgrims heading to a monastery in northern Egypt, have been a blow to Coptic Christians who still do not succumb to the temptation of revenge.

ANBA ANGA
Bishop Orthodox Coptic Church of the United Kingdom
“There is a great campaign of attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt at the moment, ever since December of last year when the cathedral was bombed, Saint Peter’s Church. Then we had other bombings on churches, we had pilgrims shot at as they went to a monastery and there are targeted individuals attacks as well, so we are seeing a targeting, we are seeing an increase. Of course, Christians feel that they are more vulnerable, but it doesn’t stop them from living their life. The churches are still full, they are still practicing courageously but they do know that they are a target.”

Coptic Orthodox Bishop Anba Angaelos travels the world denouncing persecution against Christian minorities. Thus, he participated in this international conference in Rome regarding religious freedom. He says that the latest outbreaks of violence in Egypt against Christians are the tip of an iceberg after a situation that has been brewing for decades.

ANBA ANGA
Bishop Orthodox Coptic Church of the United Kingdom
“The problem is that there are decades of a culture that has alienated, and marginalized Christians, has victimized Christians, and so that’s going to take time to change. However we must start with at least small things, otherwise we’ll see this increasing and we’ll see more people dying.”

In Egypt, Christians represent 15 percent of the population, which is the largest percentage in the Middle East. Therefore, extremists know that attacking Egyptian Christians will have a great mental impact on Christians throughout the region. However, this same circumstance also makes the example of forgiveness even more important.

ANBA ANGA
Bishop Orthodox Coptic Church of the United Kingdom
“The caliphate has called us their favorite prey which puts us both in the state of animals. We’re also a church, a people that don’t retaliate, don’t take up arms, we had a hundred of churches and places of worship attacked simultaneously and there is no retaliation, there was forgiveness and I think that this forgiveness make us more powerful because what an enemy wants is a reaction to get inspired and If there is no reaction it diminishes their own aggressive action.”

Forgiveness and hope are the pillars on which the resilience of these Christian communities are based. Despite the fatigue of always being under threat, they know that it is the only way to guarantee their future in the same land as Jesus Christ.