Minya (Agenzia Fides) - After yet another massacre of Christian pilgrims by jihadist terrorism, the Copts will not close churches and will not follow the calls of those who invite to suspend ordinary liturgical and pastoral activities in November as a sign of mourning and denunciation of the violence suffered. And this precisely because the Church is called to celebrate her martyrs as winners if she really intends not to deny the apostolic mission to which she has been called. This is what Egyptian media reported, citing the official sources of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate.
After the massacre of seven coptic pilgrims killed by a commando of jihadist terrorists returning from a visit to the monastery of Anba Samuel, in the governorate of Minya, some militant acronyms of the Coptic Christian world had launched a campaign on social media to ask to suspend November liturgical celebrations. Sources of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, in the responses re-launched in the Egyptian media such as CoptsToday, have pointed out that according to the Christian faith, martyrs killed in odium fidei are to be celebrated with affection and gratitude. For this reason the Church will continue to pray and to celebrate during the liturgy the mysteries of faith, also remembering the new martyrs, to remain faithful to their mission. The traditional sequence of liturgical celebrations and moments of prayer in the individual Coptic churches in Egypt will therefore not be suspended or modified for any reason.
The Coptic killed by the terrorist ambush on Friday 2 November were pilgrims of Sohag returning from a pilgrimage to Anba Samuel the Confessor monastery, about 220 kilometers south-east of Cairo. The massacre was claimed by a jihadist group affiliated to the Islamic State (Daesh). The terrorists assaulted the three buses of pilgrims coming from Anba Samuel masked with military uniforms. The government has allocated a first solidarity contribution of 100 thousand Egyptian pounds (about 5 thousand euros) for each of the victims’ families. At the funeral of the 7 victims, celebrated on 3 November in the church of al-Amir Tadros, in Minya, 10 Coptic bishops took part, Anba Macarius, Coptic Orthodox bishop of Minya, announced plans to build a church where the remains of the Copts killed in the ambush, already celebrated as martyrs will be kept.
On Sunday 4 November, the Egyptian Interior Ministry announced that 19 alleged members of jihadist groups were killed by police forces in an operation carried out in the mountainous areas of the desert area where the monastery of Anba Samuel is also located, adding that among the murdered militiamen there could be also the authors of the massacre of the Coptic pilgrims on 2 November. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 5/11/2018)