This Easter, the Church in Egypt is in mourning, but resilient

Egypt (MNN) — Resurrection Sunday in Egypt will be a more subdued affair in the wake of the ISIS attacks last week.

Church in Tanta, Egypt (Photo courtesy of Middle East Concern)

Miles Windsor, a spokesman for Middle East Concern says, “There are areas of particular concern in Egypt, especially the north Sinai governorate. I think all over Egypt, Christians are deeply concerned about the situation.”

Fox News reports that Egyptian churches in Minya will not be holding Easter celebrations in mourning for 45 Coptic Christians who died in Palm Sunday’s twin bombings at St.George’s Church in Tanta and at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria.  Although the attacks took place in the north; Minya, a southern province, has the highest Coptic Christian population in the country.

Windsor explains, “ISIS essentially announced itself in Egypt, saying that they had a specific war to wage against the worshippers of the Cross.  This is a significant threat.  This is one that needs to be dealt with by the Egyptian government.”

(Photo courtesy of Middle East Concern)

In the wake of a December church attack, security measures were taken and supported by the government.  Approaching Holy Week, security was supposed to be beefed up.  The need was underscored when, a week prior to Palm Sunday, a bomb was found and defused at St. George’s in Tanta.  However, says Windsor, “Sometimes it seems that these measures aren’t being implemented properly, on account of the fact that the (Tanta) bomber was able to pass through security. In the other location, the (Alexandria) bomber was stopped at security and set off his bomb there.”

In the wake of ISIS claiming last week’s events, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency following the attacks and created the “Supreme Council to Combat Terrorism and Fanaticism”.

Why is such a ruthless campaign being conducted now against Egypt’s Christian community?  It appears to be part of a wider strategy to destabilize and undermine the Egyptian state.  Christians are a soft target.  Although some churches will not be doing more than gathering for quiet prayer, Open Doors says their field officers report churches in their area are determined to go forward with their Easter celebrations.  The Christian community in Egypt is brave and resilient, but they are hurting and need your encouragement

Windsor adds, “I think that there is a vibrant community there.  But, in spite of, or perhaps, as a result of the attacks that have been seen in recent years on Christians in Egypt, you’ve seen a flourishing of the Church. You’ve seen a Church which has pulled together; you’ve seen a Church which has sought to walk closely with God.”

(Photo courtesy of Middle East Concern)

Please continue to pray fervently for persecuted believers in Egypt.  “Pray for them, that they would endure, that they would be able to continue to worship freely in Egypt, that they wouldn’t be cowed by these attacks, that they would find confidence in their faith in God, and that they would find peace in their relationship with God.”  Pray that any additional terror plots will be thwarted and pray for the name of Jesus to be joyfully glorified through His Church in the midst of evil and darkness.