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COMMUNIQUE – Two successive attacks struck two Cairo churches in full solemn celebration of Palm Sunday Mass on April 9, 2017, taking the lives of at least 43 worshipers and wounding more than a hundred people.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, devastated by this terrible news of unprecedented violence, wishes to express, in communion with all the Churches of the Holy Land, its profound solidarity with the Coptic Church, harmed again, even today, in the heart.

The two bombings occurred during the solemn Mass on Palm Sunday, one in the church of Mar Girgis (St. George) in Tanta, 100 km from Cairo, the other in front of the Church of Saint Mark in Alexandria, where the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II celebrated. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility. The ceremony marked the opening of the Holy Week, and for which, numerous faithful had come, particularly on this day.

The Latin Patriarchate shares the terrible pain of the Coptic Church and informs her of her closeness and intense prayer in this new trial. On January 1, 2011, a bomb attack in front of a Coptic church in Alexandria where the faithful gathered to celebrate the New Year had killed 21 people. On Sunday, December 11, 2016, shortly before Christmas, another bomb attack had cost the lives of at least 25 faithful Copts, gathered for Mass in the Orthodox Church of St. Peter and St. Paul.

May these martyrs, the innocent dead, because of their faith, intercede with the crucified and risen Lord, that finally, the violence will cease and that peace will come in the country and the region.

Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Picture: Archbishop Pizzaballa paid a visit to the Coptic community in Jerusalem on December 13, 2016, after the deadly attack perpetrated against a church on December 11 of the same year. © Archives LPJ

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