Two years on the horrific bombing of the church of the Saints in Alexandria, Pope Tawadros II surprised the congregation by a visit last night
Two years on the horrific bombing of the church of the Saints in Alexandria, Pope Tawadros II surprised the congregation by a visit last night.
This was the first New Year Eve for the Pope who was seated last November, and he chose to spend it with the congregation that had been so traumatised two years ago. Back then, the bombing had targeted Coptic worshippers as they left church following midnight service on New Year Eve 2011, and had left 24 dead, their bodies blown to smithereens, as well as some 100 injured. Some two weeks after the bombing, the then Interior Minister Habib al-Adly announced that investigations revealed that the bombing was the work of the Palestinian Gaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) in collaboration with local Islamist elements. By the end of January the revolution erupted; Mubarak stepped down in February, and the case was not pursued by the post-revolution regimes. To this day, no culprit has been brought to justice.
The totally unexpected visit by Pope Tawadros last evening delighted the congregation The Pope participated in the midnight service, and delivered the sermon, the topic of which was repentance. He said the end of a year and beginning of a new one calls for self-searching, repentance, and new beginnings. He advised the worshippers to be faithful to their prayers and fasting.
This was the first sermon that Pope Tawadros II delivered in Alexandria since his enthronement last November.
Also commemorating the bombing of the Saints’ church were the National Salvation Front and the Maspero Youth Union that. A silent march was held last evening to protest the absent justice ended in a candlelight vigil in front of the Saints’ church. The large numbers of Copts and Muslims who joined in the march, led by activists and politicians Gamila Ismail and George Ishaq, sang the national anthem and hung a huge Egyptian flag across the street between the Sanits’ church and the mosque opposite. “We will not celebrate the New Year until justice is served, and the culprits are caught,” Ms Ismail said.
The MYU denounced the fact that, two years on the bombing, justice has not been served. “We will not forget the victims nor will we stop demanding justice,” they said.
1 January 2013
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