Mark’s Cathedral in the seaside Mediterranean city.
Moments earlier, Adeeb was watching a colleague in a simple home in Alexandria speak with the widow of Naseem Faheem, the guard at St.
Ali connected the mood to the crackdown on activists and the deteriorating economy, but said the Coptic state of depression was more acute. For example, the night of the bombings, Orthodox priest Boules George said he thanks and loves those who did this crime.
Many Christians supported current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after the popular military overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned President Mohamed Morsi in the hope they would be protected, he said. Speaking to a congregation in Cairo’s Cleopatra neighborhood, his words were broadcast on the popular Coptic TV station .
In his Orthodox diocese 170 miles south of Cairo, many have since repented of sin and changed the focus of their life, making faith a priority. “As he forgave, so must we.” The martyrs have set an example, he said, but have also left a great responsibility to the church.
Christians must fight fear, keep their joy, and strive for justice.
“If they know that God is love and experience his love, they could not do these things—never, never, never.” Clearly the Coptic heritage and Jesus’ teaching have an impact on the aggrieved. But the traumatic impact and subsequent forgiveness have also overcome Coptic lethargy, reviving the church.
All three Christian denominations canceled Easter Sunday festivities, and the Orthodox postponed the reception of condolences.
Previously entombed on Good Friday, light then burst forth as the curtain to the altar was opened and an icon of the risen Christ was paraded through the church.
But the Coptic defiance is not only against an enemy outside, according to Bishop Thomas of Qusia. The Libyan martyrs were a turning point, he said, as Copts watched the victims call out to Jesus in their moment of death. “Since we are united to Christ, in this life we are his image.
Copts poured out into the streets in anger, presaging the Arab Spring.
In the months that followed, Muslims rallied around them and defended their churches.