Yesterday, 2 December 2017, saw the reopening and consecration of the newly-restored and renovated Cathedral of Mar-Girgis (St George) and the Martyrs in the mid-Delta town of Tanta, capital of Gharbiya governorate.
The cathedral had been severely damaged in a bombing by Daesh, also known as IS (Islamic State), on 9 April as worshippers celebrated Palm Sunday Mass. A suicide bomber had broken into the church and rushed up to the deacon choir in front of the sanctuary where he blew himself up. The explosion claimed 28 Coptic lives and injured 74; many of the victims were deacons and altar boys.
Gharbiya Governor, Ahmed Deif Saqr, joined Tanta Bishop, Anba Pola, in reopening the cathedral which has been newly named “Cathedral of St George and the Martyrs”; it was before “St George Cathedral”.
Governor Saqr expressed his happiness to be part of the reopening ceremony and stressed that the Egyptian people were all ‘one’ and, as such, were invincible.
Despite the renovation, the martyrs’ spattered blood was left on the columns of the church as witness for the terrorist attack.
“Everyone is amazed to see the church rise from the ashes, and the ruins metamorphose into a lofty, exceptionally beautiful building,” Anba Pola said. “Screams of horror at the martyrs’ spilt blood have now turned into joyful ululations.” He was speaking on a talk show on DMC satellite channel, hosted by Iman al-Hossari.
Anba Pola praised the efforts by the Armed Forces to restore the church, as they had pledged to do directly after it the bombing.
Recalling the Bible verse from the Gospel of St John 16:20 “Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy,” he said the 70-year-old church was now better than it ever was.
3 December 2017