As we in Egypt step into 2015 and stand on the threshold of Coptic Christmas—which Copts celebrate on 7 January—hopes for attaining political, economic and security stability run high. Despite the confidence and optimism that spring from being on the right track, we must not lose sight of the substantial challenges that lie ahead. Major among them is the election of a strong, balanced parliament that would bring about the desired legislative reform and foster economic revival. For this, we need to mobilise the public solidarity required to ensure that Egypt reaches safe shores.
I was preparing, like every year, to present my heartfelt wishes for a happy Christmas to his Holiness Pope Tawadros II and all Coptic Orthodox bishops, priests and congregation, and to extend sincere greetings to the heads, pastors and congregations of Catholic and Evangelical Churches in Egypt. But news of the recent brutal assassination of a Coptic family in Libya at the hands of terrorists left me shocked and broken-hearted. The terrorists killed the father and mother in front of their three agonised daughters then kidnapped the eldest girl. They killed the 14-year-old and cast her body in the desert where it was later found. I could not shake off the feeling of repression, horror, bitterness and wrath at the horrendous crime; the thought of the innocent victims unfailingly haunted me. I ask the Heavenly Father to extend His comforting hand to the family and friends of the victims. There was nothing further I could say, even as Christmas approached. “I was silent; I would not open my mouth” (Ps 39:9).
4 January 2015