Minya, Egypt, - After two bomb attacks on
worshippers at Coptic Orthodox churches on
Sunday, the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of
Minya has announced it will celebrate Easter
without the typical festive accoutrements.
The observance of Easter in the Minya
Coptic Orthodox archdiocese will be limited
to liturgical services “without any festive
manifestations” in mourning for the nearly
45 Coptic Orthodox faithful who were killed
in attacks on Sunday, the AP reports.
Two Coptic Orthodox churches were the
targets of Islamic State bombings on April
9, Palm Sunday. The attack on St. George's
in Tanta, nearly 60 miles north of Cairo,
killed 28. Shortly after, another bomb went
off outside St. Mark's cathedral in
Alexandria, killing 17.
The attacks came only weeks before Pope
Francis plans to visit Egypt to promote
peace and dialogue between Christians and
Muslims in the country. Pope Francis, after
celebrating Palm Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s
Square, decried the violence and asked God
to “convert the hearts of those who sow
fear, violence and death, and those who make
and traffic arms.” He also expressed
solidarity with Tawardos II, the Coptic
Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
declared a three-month state of emergency
following the attacks.
Sunday’s atrocities follow a months-long
spike in anti-Christian violence in Egypt,
particular-ly in the country’s Sinai region.
In December 2016, 29 died in a bombing of
a chapel next to St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox
cathedral in Cairo, for which the Islamic
State claimed responsibility.
Egyptian society was also profoundly
shocked by the beheading in Libya of 20
Coptic Orthodox faithful and a companion by
Islamic State militants in February 2015.