Forgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Image: Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters
Coptic Christians gather outside Tanta's Mar Girgis Church after bomb disrupts Palm Sunday service.
Martrydom and forgiveness is fuelling curiosity among Muslims and repentance and revival of faith among Copts in Egypt.
...But even in death, the Copts forgive.SNIP
"For example, the night of the bombings, Orthodox priest Boules George said he thanks and loves those who did this crime. Speaking to a congregation in Cairo’s Cleopatra neighborhood, his words were broadcast on the popular Coptic TV station Aghaby.
“I long to talk to you about our Christ, and tell you how wonderful he is,” said George, addressing the terrorists. But then turning to the church, he said, “How about we make a commitment today to pray for them?
“If they know that God is love and experience his love, they could not do these things—never, never, never.”
"But the traumatic impact and subsequent forgiveness have also overcome Coptic lethargy, reviving the church.
“The Coptic community is definitely in defiance,” he said. “The services of Holy Week have doubled in attendance, and the churches are flowing out into the streets.”
Under heavy security presence, the traditional Easter Eve service passed peacefully. As per Orthodox tradition, priests in a darkened sanctuary quietly reenacted the Resurrection with an icon of the buried Christ. Previously entombed on Good Friday, light then burst forth as the curtain to the altar was opened and an icon of the risen Christ was paraded through the church.
But the Coptic defiance is not only against an enemy outside, according to Bishop Thomas of Qusia. It is also against the Enemy within.
The Libyan martyrs were a turning point, he said, as Copts watched the victims call out to Jesus in their moment of death. In his Orthodox diocese 170 miles south of Cairo, many have since repented of sin and changed the focus of their life, making faith a priority.
“Martyrdom is linked to the Christian life. To carry your cross and follow him,” said Thomas. “Since we are united to Christ, in this life we are his image.
“As he forgave, so must we.”