LWF President Younan and Jerusalem delegation visit Cairo, denounce killings at Coptic Cathedral
(LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) President Bishop Dr Munib Younan and Palestinian Muslim and Christian leaders from Jerusalem delivered condolences to Coptic Pope Tawadros II, following the recent bombing and killing of worshippers at the Coptic cathedral complex in the Egyptian capital Cairo.
“We come to be in solidarity with the Coptic Church that is known as a church of martyria. If those who committed this horrendous crime think that they will frighten Arab Christians in the Middle East, they are mistaken,” said Younan, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL). He was accompanied by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine Imam Muhammad Hussein, and representatives from the Franciscan order and the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem.
A bomb explosion, 11 December, during a Sunday service in a chapel adjoining St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral killed at least 25 people, and injured dozens more.
During the visit, Younan offered condolences on behalf of the LWF communion of churches and assured both the Coptic Pope and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Ahmad Tayyeb of solidarity with the Egyptian people as the horrific act was not only against Christians, but also against Muslims and all of humanity. “This attack is a sin against God and humanity,” he said, adding it touched all people regardless of religion.
Younan prayed for the families of those martyred and injured in the recent bombing, that God would touch them with mercy, and grant quick healing for the injured and traumatized. “We pray for the Coptic Church and for the people of Egypt that God may give you the comfort of the Resurrection of Christ and that you may continue to be witnesses of love in your country and in the world.”
The Palestinian faith leaders pledged to continue working together for peace in the region, saying Arab Christians are an integral part of the Middle East and would “not allow any schisms between Muslims and Christians to take place.”
“We Muslims and Christians in the Middle East have to work together peacefully and educationally to combat any kind of extremism that uses religion for their own political agendas,” Younan added.
The LWF member church ELCJHL engages in interfaith dialogue and seeks to promote a just peace throughout the Middle East. It has six congregations in Jerusalem, Ramallah and the Bethlehem area, and one in Amman, Jordan. It also runs four schools and four education programs that are also involved in interfaith dialogue.
By ELCJHL Communications Coordinator Adrainne Gray