Father Boules George gives a sermon during the Eve of Monday Pascha following the two bombings on Palm Sunday that took place at Saint George Coptic Orthodox Church in Tanta and Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria.
Find below the transcription of this powerful sermon.
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What will we say to them?
The first thing we will say is “Thank you very, very much,” and you won’t believe us when we say it.
You know why we thank you? I’ll tell you. You won’t get it, but please believe us.
You gave us to die the same death as Christ–and this is the biggest honor we could have. Christ was crucified–and this is our faith. He died and was slaughtered–and this is our faith. You gave us, and you gave them to die.
We thank you because you shortened for us the journey. When someone is headed home to a particular city, he keeps looking at the time. “When will I get home? Are we there yet?” Can you imagine if in an instant he finds himself on a rocket ship straight to his destination? You shortened the journey! Thank you for shortening the journey.
We thank you because you gave to us to fulfill what Christ said to us: “Behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:3). We were lambs; our only weapons: our faith and the church we pray in. I carry no weapon in my hand. We are so grateful that you helped us fulfill this saying of Christ. Continue reading “Fr. Boules George – A Message to Those Who Kill Us”
UK historian says Christians in Middle East are endangered species
Last month, World Watch Monitor released a report, Beyond Count, highlighting the alarming frequency with which Christians are fleeing the Middle East. Now a British historian has added his voice to those concerns.
By Dr. Jenny Taylor
Respected UK historian Tom Holland told a briefing in London this week that the world is watching the effective extinction of Christianity from its birthplace.
In an apocalyptic appraisal of the worsening political situation in the region, a panel of experts provided a mass of evidence and statistics for the end of the region’s nation states under the onslaught of militant Islam.
We, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, follow with great concern the dreadful situation in Egypt, which suffers from internal divisions, deliberate violence and terroristic acts against innocent people, both Muslims and Christians. Government institutions were attacked, a great number of Egyptian soldiers and policemen have been killed, public property was destroyed, and Christian churches were desecrated. The desecration and burning of churches is an unprecedented scandal and goes against the values of tolerance, lived in Egypt for centuries. We appreciate the fact that many Muslim compatriots have stood by the side of Christians in defending churches and institutions. Continue reading “Statement by the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem about the Crisis in Egypt”
A “big force” is pushing Egypt towards greater conservatism and religious extremism, according to Bishop Thomas of the El-Qussia and Mair Diocese in Upper Egypt.
However, he said he still believes Egypt can enjoy transformation of a different kind – towards true democracy, gender equality and religious tolerance.
Democracy does not mean the rule of the majority, he said, but a responsibility for the leaders of the country to ensure that all members of society are able to express themselves.
Gender equality for Bishop Thomas means “the day, which will come, when a family in Upper Egypt in a very poor area will have the same joy when they give birth to a baby girl, as they would have with a baby boy.”
And religious freedom means a transformation from religious rigidity to spiritual openness, he said: “I’m sorry, I’m a bishop. I cannot say I want to transform the society to a secular society, but I want the society to respect spirituality and be open to spirituality. Openness is the key word for us.”
The Bishop, speaking in London on Tuesday (May 21), said that in the two years since President Hosni Mubarak’s deposition, Egypt has enjoyed improved freedom of speech, and until that freedom is taken away, he said there will always be hope.
The Constituent Assembly of Egypt came out with a draft constitution on Nov. 29, and a referendum will be held for its adoption on Dec. 15. The draft prepared by the Islamist- dominated assembly shows where the Muslim Brotherhood stands on the role of Shari’a in public life and human rights as understood by the international community.
President Mohamed Morsi, who is from the Brotherhood’s political wing, is going ahead with the constitutional referendum despite an ongoing uprising over his Nov. 22 declaration that no one – not even the courts – can challenge his decisions until a new constitution is in place. Morsi wants people to believe that the constituent assembly hurried to prepare the draft, and the referendum is being held in haste, so that the period of his newly acquired supreme authority is short.
I am writing to ask for your prayers today as hopefully hundreds and thousands of Egyptians will be protesting the autocratic dictatorial powers President Morsi has taken upon himself and the unrepresentative constitution he wants to impose on Egyptians.
Egypt has been a Muslim nation for a long time but what is different today is that the Islamist Government is trying to impose a particularly conservative view of Islam on the population in general. While this will not, in the first instance, affect the daily lives of Christians, this narrow interpretation of Islam will seriously affect the many millions of Muslims in Egypt who are more moderate and believe that Islam can co-exist within the 21th century world.
The hope of the protestors today is to come out in significant numbers so that the Government and the world will take notice of them. Last Tuesday hundreds of thousands and maybe up to a million people protested in Tahrir Square where the January 25th Revolution started two years ago. Immediately after that on Saturday a counter demonstration took place at Cairo University with hundreds of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters who support the President and the new constitution. As a result of these demonstrations, Egypt is divided between Islamists and the rest of the population. Continue reading “Prayer Request from Egypt”
Dupa moartea fostului cap al bisericii Copte din Egipt, credinciosii au petrecut mai multe luni plingindu-l pe acesta. Apoi, saptamina trecuta, 2500 de delegati electori, atit clerici cit si laici, au votat candidatii lor preferati pentru deminiatea de viitor papa copt. Primii trei au fost:
– Episcopul Rafael – 54 e ani, episcop auxiliar pentru centrul orasului Cairo;
– Parintele Rafael Ava Mina, 70 de ani, monah la manastirea Sf. Mina;
Tens of thousands of Egyptians are once again converging on Cairo’s Tahrir Square following the decision of the military generals to postpone the results of the runoff presidential election that were expected on June 21. The protests are also against the military council’s move to strip the president’s office of its most important powers.
Meanwhile, the two presidential candidates, former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq and leader of Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party Mohammed Morsi, are both claiming victory. Morsi, who Christians fear will marginalize the minority, seems more likely to win initially according to media reports, but some claim Shafiq is using back room deals to ensure his victory.
However, just as the votes were being counted on June 17, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which has been ruling the country since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, announced amendments to the interim constitution, granting key powers to itself. Continue reading “What Lies Ahead in Egypt?”
Pope Shenuda, foemer head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt
SAT-7 International Council Extends Condolences to Coptic Orthodox Church
Limassol, Cyprus – March 28, 2012
On March 17, 2012, Coptic Pope Shenouda III died at the age of 88 as a result of health complications related to old age. SAT-7 interrupted its normal schedules to broadcast the state funeral live from St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo. The SAT-7 International Council, at a scheduled meeting after the funeral, extended its condolences to the Coptic Orthodox Church, the largest Christian community in the whole of the Middle East. Continue reading “Egyptian Christians Mourn Loss of Church Leader”
Egyptian Christians have requested our prayers following three incidents in recent weeks.
On 4th March a court sentenced Rev. Makarios Boulos to six months’ imprisonment for a minor violation of buildings regulations. Rev. Makarios is the priest of St. George’s Church in El Marinab, Aswan province, for which we requested prayer last September and October. Recall that false rumours that the church had failed to secure planning permission for renovation work led to an arson attack by a Muslim mob on 30th September in which the building was badly damaged. Recall too that this destruction and the authorities’ failure to provide adequate protection prompted demonstrations in Cairo by Christians and other sympathisers which were violently interrupted on 9th October with the loss of 27 lives. Continue reading “Egypt: Legal Cases and Threats Against Christians”
Religious Dispatches has just published an excellent article on the Arab Spring and its political and religious implications, written by Haroon Moghul, a fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a senior editor at the Islamic Monthly and a doctoral candidate at Columbia University. Here are some significant quotes (emphases mine).
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In Morocco, recent elections have put forward an Islamist party with the same name as Turkey’s governing party—they are not connected, however—and the King has nominated an Islamist as Prime Minister as well. The Moroccan King saw the Arab spring arrived around him, and pushed reforms to preempt any uprising in his country.
In Tunisia, the Islamists won a plurality of the vote; now, the latest news from Egypt suggests that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, as well as the primary Salafi party, al-Nour, are doing quite well. (Jadaliyya has a great and exhaustive round-up, with all the detail you ever wanted). There will be three rounds of voting for the lower house of the Egyptian Parliament, and these results so far only reflect the first round. There will be separate procedures for the upper house and for president. Continue reading “The Islamists vs. The Markets”
A WCC interview with David Victor R. Youssef, from the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services.
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Churches in Egypt are praying and helping migrants, who flee home due to political turmoil, violence and uncertain future. There is a great need to develop stable democratic societies if the “Arab spring” is to bear fruits. Or else it might turn into an “Arab winter” with religious minorities at the risk of persecution.
Egyptian Christians request our prayers as Egypt prepares to commence Parliamentary elections on 28th November (the elections are in stages and are scheduled to conclude on 10th March 2012). Within the current context of protest, violence and lack of security, Christians have several specific concerns.
Dr. Wafik Wahba, Associate Professor of Global Christianity
An estimated 70,000 Egyptian Christians gathered on November 11, 2011 for praise, worship, and prayer at St. Simon Church in Cairo while millions around the globe followed the event live on TV and the Internet. This was a significant event: It was the largest Christian gathering in the modern history of Egypt; it brought together, for the first time, all Christian denominations: Coptic Orthodox, Catholics, and all branches of Protestant and Evangelical Christians. The prayer meeting that started at 6:00 PM continued uninterrupted till 6:00 AM the following day!
The focal point of the gathering was repentance and forgiveness. The leaders of all churches came together in unprecedented unity to lead thousands of people in worship and prayer for Egypt: “We are here to rend our hearts before the Lord and repent for all our sins,” said one priest as he reflected on Joel chapter 2. Before leading the people in prayers of repentance he reminded all church leaders, Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” – Joel 2:17. Another priest prayed for the healing of the land and for God’s intervention to save the country from a disastrous famine as the Nile is drying up at alarming rate. The powerful time of praise and worship focused on God’s glory being declared, once again, over the land of Egypt with several songs on the theme of “Blessing Egypt”. One of the highlights of the event was a prayer of dedication, wherein the country and its people were covenanted to the Lord to live a consecrated life. Continue reading “Egypt’s Remarkable Prayer Gathering – UPDATE”
Thank you for your emails and concern for the situation in Egypt at present, we greatly appreciate and need your continued, persistent prayer for our country!
We are all fine, the church building is fine, but many of our church members have been very close to the conflict in the last two days in downtown Cairo. Last night, as the conflict between the demonstrators and the Egyptian army escalated and became extremely violent, we opened the church building to be used as a clinic to treat the wounded. Tens of people came and received
treatment from various doctors, and many of our church members were there to help as needed. Continue reading “Today’s News from Cairo and a request for prayer”
Millions of Christians worldwide will participate in the global Day of Prayer for Egypt. This ceremony will be held in St. Simon Monastery in Moqattam City on Friday November 11.
This ceremony will be held to support Egypt and the Egyptians. Many countries in Europe and the U.S. will hold the ceremony at the same time and all Christian sects will participate in the ceremonies as well.
Prison Fellowship (which is also present in Romania) has published recently an amazing documentary about the common work among Christian and Muslim prisoners in Egypt of a Coptic Catholic priest and a Muslim Sheik.
You may watch HERE the story of this unusual friendship and ministry.
Fr. Boulos is motvated in his service by the following conviction:
Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler, Rector of St. Paul’s Church (Anglican), Cairo
Against the background buzz of the now-familiar sound of army helicopters flying overhead, it is an interesting time to pull aside from all that has recently made this region seem like the “Wild East” to reflect on Egypt’s present situation. On Friday, March 25, we celebrated the two-month anniversary of the beginning of the Egyptian uprising, popularly known as the “25 January Revolution.” We have indeed witnessed history. And it has been a time of profound emotion, full of exhilarating highs and exhausting lows. Continue reading “Celebrations and challenges: Muslims and Christians look toward the future in Egypt”
Note: Since there is quite a difference between the stories in the media and the perceptions of the people on the ground on the situation in Egypt, I will continue to provide you, from time to time, with such opportunities. For obvious reasons, I cannot mention the names of the authors. Let us continue to pray for Egypt.
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We have lived through one of the most amazing events in modern Middle Eastern history, and of course the story continues to be written. And we believe we are in an exciting new phase of the Egypt’s destiny.
“Shokran awi” “Shokran awi” (thanks so much!—in Arabic) for all your prayers, encouraging emails, supportive telephone calls…and genuine interest in our well-being. It has meant the world to us and we are immeasurably grateful.Continue reading “A New Letter from Egypt”
This text will appear soon on the Sightings website.
“C’est une révolte,” said King Louis XVI to his messenger about events on July 14, 1789. “Non, Sire, C’est une révolution,” the Duc de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt corrected him. With this exchange Hannah Arendt pointed to a difference between a revolt—we have seen many of such—and a revolution, which we saw on television and kindred instruments last week in Egypt. The Wall Street Journal was listening, as weren’t we all, to the shouts of protesters in Cairo and elsewhere. “[I]t’s worth noting that the words heard most often . . . have been ‘dignity,’ ‘modernity,’ ‘freedom,’ ‘jobs.’” Words like these “appear to have displaced Allah as the galvanizing ideas for the young in Egypt and Tunisia.” Continue reading “Martin Marty – Revolution”
Last night I went outside my neighborhood for the first time in 18 days, to attend a service at my Egyptian church. The church is next to Tahrir Square, and because it is so close to the square it was closed throughout the demonstrations. Yesterday was the first Sunday service in three weeks, and I had the pleasure of translating from Arabic to English for English speaking visitors.
To get to my church from my house, I walk ten minutes to the nearest light rail metro station. The metro trip to Tahrir Square takes about 20 minutes, and I come up out of the exit that puts me in front of the Mugamma building, at the opposite end of the square from the Egyptian Museum. Continue reading “A Message from Cairo”