Tanta (Agenzia Fides) – The funerals of the 29 Copt Christians murdered yesterday, Palm Sunday, in a kamikaze attack in Tanta, north of Cairo, inside a Coptic church dedicated to Saint George, were held late last night. Within hours, the congregation had built the tombs necessary for the burial of the dead close to the church where the massacre took place. The funerals were held that same evening because for the Copt liturgy funerals may not be held during Holy Week. The liturgy was presided by Copt Orthodox Bishop Anba Paula of Tanta, with other bishops of the Copt Synod. The message addressed by the Copt Orthodox Patriarch to the Bishop and the faithful of Tanta, and read out loud during the funeral, speaks of the spirit of faith with which so many Egyptian Christians are living these tragic events at the very the beginning of Holy Week. “With our celebrations to recall Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem” we read in the message from the Patriarch, sent also to Fides “we said goodbye to our beloved martyrs of the church of Mar Girgis in Tanta. They were called to heaven on the feast day to carry branches of palms and olive trees in front of Christ himself. (...). They had prepared with fasting to celebrate the Sacred Mysteries and, praying and praising with all their heart, at the moment of martyrdom they passed through sorrow to the glorious joy of the Resurrection”. In his message the Patriarch says there is no need to hide the pain of separation from these brothers and sisters slaughtered by terrorists, “because we loved them” but instead to draw consolation in trusting hope that the martyrs of Palm Sunday were welcomed into the “embrace of Christ”, and now live with Him.
The temporary total of the two terrorist attacks against Egypt’s Copt Christians on Palm Sunday is 47 dead. In the church of St George in Tanta, 29 were killed and more than 70 injured, whereas the attack on the church of Saint Mark in Alexandria left 18 dead. In the second church where Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros, was among those present, the police caught the suicide terrorist who, outside the church, blew himself up.
According to the Egyptian media both kamikaze responsible for these massacres had been in Syria in recent years. Abu Ishaq al Masri, said by the Egyptian media to be the kamikaze of Alexandria, entered Syria as early as December 2013, through Turkey. On returning to Egypt he settled in the Sinai Peninsula. The suicide bomber of Tanta, identified as Abu al Baraa al Masri, was said to have been in Syria since August 2013. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 10/4/2017).