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Ecumenical outcry follows Coptic Christian killings

1/25/2010 Egypt (The Christian Century) – The drive-by gunfire killing of six Coptic Christians in Egypt at their church on January 6, the eve of their Christmas celebration, has drawn widespread shock from the Vatican and church leaders in Europe, the Middle East and Australia.

Jerusalem Lutheran Bishop Munib Younan has denounced the killing of the Christians and a Muslim security officer. Some nine others were injured in the attack in the upper Nile city of Nag Hammadi. Younan said January 11 that he offered support to the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.

“The attack is horrifying and puts fear in the hearts of Christians in Egypt,” Younan said from Beirut, where he was attending the general assembly of the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches.

Setri Nyomi, general secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, who was attending the Protestant meeting in Lebanon, also called for Egypt to provide security for all Egyptians. The Evangelical Church of Egypt, Synod of the Nile, reported having experienced discrimination over many years before the recent wave of violence.

[Nag Hammadi is across the Nile from the site of one of earliest Christian monasteries in third- and fourth-century Egypt. The city’s name is associated with the 1945 discovery of a buried jar containing early Christian and gnostic papyrus texts, including the only complete copy of the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas—documents that had later surfaced on the Cairo antiquities market.]

Through modern-day emigration, Coptic Christians have spread around the globe into communities that are freer to speak of persecution back in Egypt.

The president of the Victorian Coun cil of Churches, Jason Kioa, who is also a leader of the Uniting Church in Australia, said: “We offer our prayers for peace, justice and goodwill for all. But for that to occur, people of peace, justice and goodwill must act together, to bring these things into reality.” -Ecumenical News Service.

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