Once again, the Holiest week of the Christian calendar has begun with an attack on the Body of Christ in the form of two bomb blasts at Palm Sunday events in Egypt. One of the more striking images shows the blood of the martyrs splattered across the floor of a Coptic Church.
Currently, the death toll stands at 49, according to Egyptian state media reports. 18 people were killed in a blast in Alexandria, while at least 27 were killed and 78 injured in an explosion in a church in the northern city of Tanta.
With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Antony, Archbishop Daniel – the Ruling Hierarch of the Western Eparchy joined dozens of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago in the most solemn expression of condolence:
A Letter of Condolence from the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago to the Palm Sunday bombings in Egypt: April 9, 2017
We, the members of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, add our own voices of lament and outrage to the cry rising up from every corner of the world for peace, justice and healing in the aftermath of the terror attacks perpetrated on April 9, 2017, against Coptic Christian Palm Sunday worshippers in Tanta and Alexandria.
We remember with love and bitter sorrow the victims of these wanton acts of violence. We pray for comfort and hope for the families and friends of those killed and wounded, and for all our Coptic Christian sisters and brothers now overwhelmed by grief and fear.
In a time when religious difference is often used as an excuse for hateful, cruel or violent behavior, our council continues to live as a witness to the power of honest, respectful, relational engagement between broadly diverse faith traditions. We stand in clear and vehement opposition to all who exploit fear, grief, and confusion by threatening or attacking both individuals and entire communities. And we call upon all citizens of our region to respond to this atrocity with a renewed commitment to affirm life and to build bridges of understanding and reconciliation, so that the power of love might shine upon the waste of our wraths and bring peace in our lives, peace in our homes, peace in our neighborhoods, peace in our nation, and peace in the world.