The Cairo bombing at St. Mark’s Cathedral, on December 11th, was the deadliest attack on Egyptian Christians in recent history. The suicide bomber activated a device in the women’s seating area of the church, and ISIL’s Egypt branch would later claim responsibility for the deadly attack.
International Christian Concern’s Egyptian representative was recently able to meet up with church attendees, many of whom lost loved ones in the attack:
Raymond and his family never miss Sunday mass. On December 11, he attended with his wife, three children, and parents. Raymond and his father sat to the left in the men’s pews, while his wife and mother and children sat on the right side of the cathedral hall.
“This has not weakened us,” Raymond Wadih explained to ICC. “On the contrary, this gives us more love for our country than before and we will not leave Egypt. We were born here, we grew up here and we will die here.”
“I was focusing on the prayer of mass when the huge explosion shook the building,” he explained. “While I looked for the rest of my family, I found my mum laying on the ground,” Raymond recounted to ICC. “Her eyes were open and looking to heaven, her mouth was open and she wasn’t moving.”
Raymond considers himself lucky to have only lost one family member to the terrorist attack.
When the Islamic State terrorist detonated his suicide vest, the ceiling of the cathedral hall collapsed on the women and children seated below. According to Tony Takla, a church member and deacon, the suicide bomber visited St. Mark’s the evening before the fateful attack.
“We recognized this person when President al-Sisi announced about him and when we saw his photo [on the news],” Tony explained.
Grandparents, mothers, wives and children were all among the rubble of the ruined St. Mark’s hall. Yet the Christian community of Egypt is one of strength, resilience, and forgiveness.
While many have taken to the streets to protest the incident and demand equal protection for minorities living in Egypt, many have also taken on the likeness of Christ during this trying time.
“I want to send a message to those that killed my wife,” Wagdy Anis told ICC. “I forgive him, and I pray for him and the people who are like him. That God may lighten their minds and open their vision.”
- Pray for those who lost loved ones in the bombing at St Mark’s Cathedral. Pray for the comfort and peace of the Holy Spirit to surround them and give them strength over this time of grieving.
- Give thanks for the testimony and heart of forgiveness from many of Egypt’s Christians. Pray that this will witness to the love and grace of Jesus to those around them, including those associated with ISIL.
- Pray for Egypt’s Christian communities, for strength of faith and endurance as they face increasing pressure against them.
- Pray for the government of Egypt to act with justice and integrity towards all people.
- Pray for peace over this Christmas time, that the Prince of Peace will be seen to reign in the hearts and lives of His people, and draw many others to know Him.
Isaiah 43 vs 1: “But now thus says the Lord, he who created you … Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.“