Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

Martyrdom of Reverend Hegumen Father Samaan Shehata, Priest at Saint Julius Akfahs Coptic Orthodox Church in Al-Fashn, Egypt

October 13, 2017

COLLEYVILLE, TX. October 13, 2017 -- A statement from His Grace regarding the martyrdom of Fr. Samaan Shehata, priest at St. Julius Akfahs Coptic Orthodox Church in Al-Fashn, Egypt.

Statement on the Martyrdom of Reverend Hegumen Father Samaan Shehata
Priest at Saint Julius Akfahs Coptic Orthodox Church in Al-Fashn, Egypt

The killer of an innocent man hastened to slaughter a servant of God. On October 12th, 2017, hatred delivered another innocent martyr into God’s hands. God will require the blood of this saint from the hands of his murderer and those who instilled the ideology of hatred and violence into the killer’s mind and heart. Accomplices to this murder are also those that remained idle and refused to help save his life. Not only from all these hands—the killer, his mentors, and the apathetic witnesses, but the entire lives of these murderers will forever be marred with calamities multiplied by the grief brought upon the family and community of Reverend Father Samaan Shehata.

To where can murderers run to hide their shame, guilt, and disgrace? Can a murderer do God’s will? Why do they hide and lurk in secret assemblies, waiting and conniving on how to attack the innocent? God honors the compassionate and merciful because God is compassionate and merciful. When the Apostle Peter thought to defend Christ, the Lord admonished him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). The merciful God has rejected murderers because they have robbed life—a life that God created. God is the one that gives life and only He can take it away in His own time.

Murderers cheat God and provoke Him to strike back at them—the assassins and violent men that hasten to destroy life. There is no place for murderers in heaven. The definition of martyrdom is one who dies for his belief, not the one who kills for it. Killers cannot understand the law of love. Father Samaan was an innocent man. A priest has given up a life of comfort to serve his community and be an example of grace and charity to all. God is fed up with this violent human race. With one breath He can devastate islands and continents, mountains and seas. Therefore, fear God; and fear Him, now. Vengeance belongs to God alone (Cf. Deuteronomy 32.35; Roman 12:19).

Father Samaan was ready; but from whose hands his precious life was taken, it is this man and those who condone this vile act that are just as guilty and provoke God to wrath. Those who kill Christians do so because they fear them. They still do not comprehend the power of love. Christ loves all humanity and chose to suffer and die to save the world. His humble disciples and apostles—none that bore weapons and none that made threats, spread Christianity. Almost all were martyred; yet, Christianity spread and flourished throughout the world. Christianity was and continues to be spread by the martyrs. “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

We implore the Lord Jesus Christ to repose the soul of His faithful servant, Reverend Hegumen Father Samaan Shehata, comfort his family and congregation, awaken the conscience of all Egyptian citizens to put an end to these butcheries and barbarisms, bring this martyr’s murderers to justice and repentance, and empower Christianity to spread and flourish more and more and more.

Bishop Youssef
Bishop, Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States