St. Vladimir's Community Mourns Coptic Martyrs

12 December 2016 • On-Campus

Our St. Vladimir’s Seminary community extends its deepest sympathy to our Coptic Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters in Cairo, Egypt, after hearing of the deadly explosion inside St. Peter Church early Sunday, December 11, 2016. At least twenty-three people were killed instantly in the bombing, and another 49 were injured, including three critically wounded. The current death toll stands at 25.

The church, which is attached to the Coptic Cathedral of St. Mark, was built in 1911 on the tomb of Boutros Ghali, who was Egypt's prime minister from 1908 to 1910. The blast occurred in the church's “ladies section,” according to local media. The Cathedral of St. Mark was left undamaged. A security source stated that the explosion was caused by a 12 kilogram TNT bomb.

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing so far. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said that the country will observe three days of mourning following the explosion.

His Grace Anba Suriel, an alumnus of St. Vladimir’s Seminary and currently the Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Melbourne, Canberra, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and New Zealand, traveled to Cairo for the funerals of the victims and posted a reflection about the tragedy on his Facebook page.

Archpriest John Behr, dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, is also traveling to Cairo, to deliver a previously scheduled presentation at the Anafora Conference, titled, "Saint Irenaeus and Enlightened Humanity," with His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria, and His Eminence Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Cardinal of Lyon in attendance. Father John will be in Cairo from December 14–15.

The Seminary community offers prayers for Fr. John’s safe travels, and prays for the eternal rest of the new martyrs in Cairo.

(Photo used with permission by Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE)