Moderator sends message of support to Egypt following Cairo bomb attack
Published on 12 December, 2016
The Moderator of the Church of Scotland has written to the Coptic Church in Egypt to express his shock and sadness at the bomb attack on the Coptic Cathedral complex in Cairo. At least 25 people have been killed and dozens more wounded, with initial reports suggesting many of them are women and children.
Rt Rev Dr Russell Barr has assured His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, who is the leader of the strongest Christian presence in the Middle East and North Africa, the Church of Scotland stands in solidarity with Coptic Christians in these troubled times.
Dr Barr writes:
“Such an attack against innocent Christians joining one another to worship God is despicable, the loss of life unimaginable, and I can only begin to imagine the grief and suffering of so many people.”
“I am aware that this attack strikes directly at the heart of the strongest Christian presence in the Middle East and North Africa and appears to be a direct attempt to fuel sectarian issues.”
“We pray the God of compassion and justice will give you the strength to face the challenges in front of you, and wisdom as you and your community respond to this attack by showing the loving, healing and reconciling face of Christ.”
Earlier this year, Dr Barr’s predecessor as Moderator, Very Rev Dr Angus Morrison met His Holiness Pope Tawdros II in Cairo during a two week visit to Church of Scotland partners in Egypt. The letter includes a message of condolence from Dr Morrison on this most recent atrocity faced by Egypt’s Christian community. He writes
“All of us in the visiting Scottish group recall with great pleasure the time spent with Your Holiness, and our Coptic brothers and sisters earlier this year, and the gracious hospitality you showed to us. As members of the one family, be assured of our strong and prayerful solidarity at this painful time”
The Church of Scotland’s Mission Partner in Cairo, Colin Johnston, has been working as part of the Christian community in the city since May. He took to social media to describe the tense and angry atmosphere in the city following the bomb blast. Colin says he was initially unaware of the blast as he had been worshipping in Cairo’s Anglican Cathedral yesterday, but went to the scene when he heard of the attack. He said
“Obviously Christians are feeling very vulnerable, and a number of churches are closed with their gates locked. I passed the cathedral this afternoon and found a tense situation with people protesting, obviously angry about what had happened. This follows the killing of 6 policemen on Friday near the pyramids so let's hope and pray there is no escalation of violence.”