Martyred for their faith throughout the ages, Coptic Christians continue to die for Christ today

CopticMediaCoptic Pope Tawadros II attends a Vespers Service during his visit to the UK

Most people in Egypt oppose the persecution of Christians, the leader of the Coptic Orthodox church said during his visit to the UK.

Pope Tawadros II was speaking at the Coptic Cathedral of St George in Hertfordshire after a shocking rise in attacks on Christians in Egypt in which dozens have died, including church bombings on Good Friday where he himself is was a target.

But Pope Tawadros said it is not just Christians, but Muslims and others who are also being attacked – anyone in fact who presents a life of cohesion and community to the world. 

'We are being persecuted by some who do not want us to remain in the Middle East, but it is by no means the majority of Egypt. We have seen police officers, soldiers and simple men and women, not only Christians but Muslims, also dying. This targeting is of a cohesive way of life,' he said.

In his address, delivered at a service of Vespers, Pope Tawadros linked Egypt's rich history to the way in which many Coptic Christians remain steadfast in their Faith today.

'In the same way Coptic Christians have given their lives in martyrdom throughout the ages, they continue to be killed for their faith today. Both teachings and martyrdom have contributed to the preservation of the Christian faith.'

He also voiced concern about how terrorists use technology.

'This dynamic has contributed to the increased violence and terrorism we experience in our world today. Together we must work to present the love of Christ for everyone, in any place, at any time. Therefore, we in Egypt depend on the words which Saint Paul, who instructs us that "Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:8). Our relations, whether inside or outside Egypt, must depend on the notion that "love never fails" and we must present love in action.'

Tawadros, who is 118th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, earlier addressed more than 600 Coptic youth from across the UK, when he was accompanied by Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Church in the UK.

Bishop Angaelos highlighted the role that the Coptic Orthodox Church plays in British society in its pastoral, ecumenical and official capacity. 

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In a message to the special service of vespers, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby sent a message that was read by Bishop of Southwark Christopher Chessun.

Welby, currently on a visit to Israel and Jordan, said: 'We live in testing times. The suffering of Christians in Egypt has been acute in recent weeks. I am grateful for the witness of steadfast bravery and hope that you have shown. Your fellow Christians are strengthened by your faithfulness to the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ and by your unswerving commitment to the worship of the triune God.'

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