Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

Statement on the Martyrs’ Pilgrimage to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor

May 27, 2017

COLLEYVILLE, TX. May 27, 2017 -- A statement from His Grace regarding the bus shooting of our brethren going to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor.

Another day of blood and tears drenched Egyptian soil. The new norm of dehumanization is all too familiar in Egypt and on the global stage. Who can defend this atrocity in the sequence of atrocities aimed at Christians to further terrorize the entire nation and the world and to eradicate Egypt of its ancient Christian roots? For what purpose were these innocent victims brutally murdered or wounded?

Killings are provoked by fear. Evil compels killers to murder. Who can rejoice in shedding the blood of children? Who can relish in the tears of a mother robbed of her kin? What did these innocent citizens possess that was a threat to anyone? Was it their love for one another as they traveled on a pilgrimage that provoked others to fear? Was it their love for God that posed a threat? Did the children’s innocence frighten anyone? What threat to any did these victims provoke to warrant such an awful and heinous crime? Armed masked men attacked harmless innocent souls. Who can explain? Who can justify?

Do the killers know that when Christians pray, they pray for everyone, even murderers and those who hate them? Do the killers know that God is just and causes the sun to shine upon the righteous and the wicked? Christians will not retaliate. Vengeance is the Lord’s. Patiently, He watches while every record is precisely written. God is merciful. Those who worship Him in truth must be merciful like Him. Faith is known by deeds, not by words. There is no need to fear the Christian.

The screams of the innocent will forever haunt their perpetrators. The blood of the martyrs will forever mar the hands of their assassins. The sorrow etched in the heart of the nation will forever condemn the killers. The void in the hearts of grieving mothers and fathers, widows, and orphans, have pained God immensely. Heaven will forever shut its gate to murderers.

We ask the Lord to comfort the families of the martyrs, heal the wounds of the confessors, sustain all Christians to endure these perilous times, and bring the human race to repentance. We ask the Lord to intervene on His terms and to strengthen our faith in Him, in whom we love, trust, and worship, forever, Amen.

"Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10).

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