AFRICA/EGYPT - Coptic Bishop Antonios Aziz Mina on Ethiopian Christians massacred: the martyrs are those in whom the great and consoling victory of Christ shines

Monday, 20 April 2015

Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - The Patriarchs and Catholic Bishops of Egypt, have gathered in Cairo for their regular assembly that sees them together twice a year, and will dedicate part of their common pastoral reflection to new massacres of Ethiopian Christians committed by jihadists of the Islamic State and documented in video clips carried out with macabre professionalism to be distributed online as tools of their irrational propaganda.
In the new video there are two different groups of prisoners presented as Ethiopian Christians who are beheaded and gunshot to the neck in a desert and on a Libyan beach. The video, accompanied by the usual slogans against the "nation of the cross" includes images of the destruction of churches, icons and Christian tombs, addressed to Christians, and repeat that there will be no salvation for them if they do not convert to Islam or do not agree to pay the "protection fee".
In the video - particularly eloquent - the victims are presented as belonging to the "hostile Ethiopian Church".
According to government sources and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, most probably the victims are poor Ethiopian immigrants belonging to the multitudes of men and women trying to reach Europe through Libya and then embark on the boats managed by the criminal network of smugglers.
"The Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Mathias I - refers to Agenzia Fides Antonios Aziz Mina, Coptic Catholic Bishop of Guizeh "had planned to come to Egypt and leave with Coptic Patriarch Tawadros II to participate in the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in Yerevan.
Now, last minute he had to cancel the visit, he apologized and said he will remain in Ethiopia. The stories of the martyrdom of the past intersect the stories of the martyrs of today".
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church was jurisdictionally bound to the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria until 1959, when it was recognized as autocephalous Church from the Coptic Patriarch Cyril VI. Last April Abuna Mathias had carried out a historic visit to Egypt, which had also marked an important step in overcoming past disagreements between the two Churches. The Patriarch of Ethiopia was received with all the honors even by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi.
"What is striking" notes Anba Antonios "is that the Ethiopian Church is called 'hostile Church' ... obviously these strange jihadists also follow the political implications of the meetings between the Churches. But in the great pain", adds the Coptic Catholic Bishop "we continue to look at these events with the eyes of faith. The chain of martyrs has not finished, and will accompany the whole history until the end. Christians do not seek martyrdom, they want to live in peace and joy. But if martyrdom comes, it is comforting to see that it can be accepted with the same peace which was accepted by the Copts who pronounced the name of Christ and they relied on Him as they were being slaughtered. The Church has never complained of martyrdom, but has always celebrated martyrs as those in whom, while they are being killed, the great and consoling victory of Christ shines". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 20/04/2015)