“And they cried with a loud voice, saying,
How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Rev. 7:17
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church of Cleveland, Ohio, USA calls on all Coptic Orthodox Churches, sister churches, ecumenical friends and people of goodwill to designate Sunday, February 14, 2010 as a Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Coptic Martyrs of Nag Hammadi. This is the closest Sunday to the traditional 40 day memorial following the brutal and tragic murders of the six young men who were killed leaving their church on Christmas Eve.
Addressing his flock at his weekly meeting at the Grand Cathedral of St. Mark in Cairo this week, His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark told the people of Nag Hammadi and the world that the news of these shootings made him feel as if each bullet was shooting him, that the pain and mourning of the families was his pain and mourning. His Holiness described the young victims as true martyrs who having participated in the Holy Eucharist were killed for no other reason than being Christians. He said their blood sanctified the ground they fell to, and that Nag Hammadi has entered history as a city of martyrdom. He called the freedoms of life and worship basic and fundamental human rights. His Holiness emotionally referred to the killing of the righteous Abel and quoted Genesis 4:10: “And He said, “What have you done? The Voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.”
A memorial service will follow the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, February 14th and a peaceful call for justice will be made for the world to hear.. Guests of all denominations and faiths are encouraged to attend and express solidarity with the Copts of Egypt. The Copts are the Christians of Egypt, the descendants of the Ancient Egyptians and the sons of the Pharaohs. Egypt was Coptic long before the Arab Conquest and the Copts of Egypt are the indigenous inhabitants of the land.
The freedom of religion and worship are fundamental human rights which must be protected. Religious tolerance in our troubled times must be promoted and defended by all. The Copts are citizens of Egypt, tax-paying, loyal and patriotic citizens who must be afforded the complete and fully protected rights of their Muslim neighbors. Decades of pleasantries and ignorance of growing hate have lead to the current catastrophes which are not isolated and are repeated year after year. Anti-Christian attacks have been on the rise since the early-1970s and have escalated. When we remember the new martyrs Pola, Abanoub, Bishoy, Ayman, Zakaria and Mina of Nag Hammadi, we also remember those who were killed before them and never received justice. We recall the events of El Khanka, El Zawya el Hamra, Assiut, Abu Qurqas, El Kosheh, Dayrut, Alexandria, El Odayisat and the dozens of other attacks and all those who have died simply for being Christians.
Please spread the word to your friends and other churches to join us in prayer on Sunday, February 14, 2010 as the Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Coptic Martyrs of Nag Hammadi. We offer our deepest condolences to the families of the Coptic martyrs and to the family of the Muslim police officer killed with them as well.
We pray for peace in Egypt and the whole world. We pray for the rights of all Egypt’s citizens to be equal and protected. “Blessed be Egypt My people.” Isaiah 19:25
With prayerful best wishes,
Fr. Mikhail E. Mikhail, D.Min.
Pastor and Archpriest Fr. Marcos Ghali Priest