On Palm Sunday 2017 extremists set off suicide bombs at St George’s, Tanta and St Mark’s, Alexandria – both Coptic Orthodox Churches. The attacks left 44 dead and more than 120 injured.
Shortly after, Pope Francis visited Egypt and gave this message to Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II:
How many martyrs in this land, from the first centuries of Christianity, have lived their faith heroically to the end, shedding their blood rather than denying the Lord and yielding to the enticements of evil, or merely to the temptation of repaying evil with evil!
The venerable Martyrology of the Coptic Church bears eloquent witness to this. Even in recent days, tragically, the innocent blood of defenceless Christians was cruelly shed: their innocent blood unites us.
Most dear brother, just as the heavenly Jerusalem is one, so too is our martyrology – your sufferings are also our sufferings.
Strengthened by this witness, let us strive to oppose violence by preaching and sowing goodness, fostering concord and preserving unity, praying that all these sacrifices may open the way to a future of full communion between us and of peace for all.