ISIS claimed responsibility for bombings that killed 36 at two Coptic churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday — brazen strikes against a vulnerable minority on one of the most important days on the Christian calendar.
Source: Palm Sunday bombings kill dozens at Christian churches in Egypt – CNN.com
Horrific! Both because these are multiple attacks on Christian churches during Palm Sunday – one of the holiest days of the Christian year – and because the Copts are not only a beleaguered Christian minority in Egypt, they are a beleaguered minority, period.
Copts were the original Egyptians: when you think of the Pharoahs, etc. – the “ancient Egyptians” – you are thinking of the Copts. Most of those called “Egyptians” now are actually the descendants of Arabic Muslim invaders, who attacked and subjugated the Christian civilization of Egypt (and nearly everywhere else in the Middle East) in the late 7th and early 8th centuries, after three or four hundred years of Christianity.
One of the churches bombed was St. George’s Church in Tanta; St. George, of course, is patron saint of England (among many other places and things). The other was St. Mark’s Orthodox Cathedral, in Alexandria. Alexandria is one of the historic Five Patriarchates of the early Christian Church (the others being Jerusalem, Antioch, Constantinople, and Rome), and a major center of Christian learning and devotion prior to the Islamic invasion. The head of Egypt’s Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, was inside St. Mark’s when the attack occurred; by God’s grace, he was not injured. A second suicide bomber was stopped by police in Alexandria and prevented from following through on his attack.
I should not have to post something like this, on a day like this. But those Coptic Christians should not have had to die while attending the sacred liturgy of Palm Sunday, either. These attacks are deeply saddening, and honestly, angering. I cannot help but agree with a friend of mine, who commented: “Christians in two churches slaughtered by ISIS and yet we’re talking about toppling a secular leader who is fighting ISIS. Insane.” Indeed.
Here are some photos of the carnage. Warning: this may be disturbing. It should be.