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Anglicans stand with Copts after bombings

Anglican assistant bishop Paul Barker has stood with Melbourne's Coptic leader Bishop Anba Suriel following the attacks

Assistant Bishop Paul Barker

By Stephen Cauchi

April 11 2017The Anglican Church has stood in solidarity with the Coptic Church following twin bombings in Egypt on Palm Sunday that killed 47 Coptic Christians and injured hundreds of others.

Assistant Bishop of Melbourne Diocese, Paul Barker, said at a press conference on Monday in Melbourne that the Anglican Church “stood with our brothers and sisters from the Coptic Church of Egypt.”

The press conference was attended by Christian religious leaders including Melbourne’s Coptic leader Anba Suriel.

“We sympathise, we grieve with them,” said Bishop Barker. “We see this as a double tragedy - that on the day that Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem on a donkey as the prince of peace, such an act of violence should happen.

“We hope and pray the people will come to know Jesus as a prince who leads in peace.”

Bishop Barker also prayed at the press conference for persecuted Christians in Egypt and elsewhere, that God would “guard them and protect them and uphold them”.

The Egypt attacks were carried out by Islamic State.

Bishop Suriel urged the Australian Government to partner with the Egyptian Government “in a concerted effort to ramp up security which guarantees safety for the Copts of Egypt.”

“I hope and pray that we never see such incidents like this happen again,” he said.

“All humanity is now vulnerable to such attacks. It’s not only something that’s happening in Egypt.”

Bishop Suriel said his 20,000-strong congregation was “emotionally numb” following the attacks.

He added that “no one of faith could possibly believe such incidents are going to take them to heaven or to give them salvation or eternal life.”

“No God can accept this hatred, this evil, these heinous crimes that are being repeated almost on a daily basis now somewhere around the world.

“This will not shake us. I know that my people are resilient, that they are people of prayer and they have a lot hope in our God and saviour Jesus Christ, who said that the gates of Hades shall not prevail against His church.

“We trust His words and know that He has protected this church for 2000 years and will continue to protect it into the future.”

Australia has about 80,000 Coptic Christians.

Watch a video of the press conference, courtesy of Catholic Media