Our good Lord allowed our churches in Egypt to suffer terrorist attacks, such as those that impacted the churches of El Botrosiyya in Cairo, St. Mark Cathedral in Alexandria, and Mar Gergis (St. George) in Fanta, which led to the martyrdom of many and numerous others who were wounded.
Despite all the pain we felt in those incidents, we saw the soothing hand of the Lord in protecting His Church and people. In the attack on the church of El Botrosiyya, the Lord used the new martyr, Nabil Habib, the church guard. When he became suspicious of the appearance of the terrorist and followed him, preventing him from reaching his target, the terrorist blew himself up at the back of the church, which resulted in a decrease in the number of martyrs and wounded compared to if, God forbid, he succeeded in blowing up the entire church. The new martyr Nabil Habib gave us an example of vigilance and bravery in addition to offering his life as an accepted sacrifice to the Lord.
In the attack on St. Mark Cathedral in Alexandria, the Lord used the new martyr, Neseem Bekhit, the church guard, to prevent the terrorist from even entering the cathedral in which His Holiness was praying, so he blew himself up outside the gates. Although many were martyred and wounded, the vigilance and bravery of the new martyr, Neseem Bekhit, saved the lives of many, not to mention the Cathedral and the residence of His Holiness the Pope in Alexandria.
We thank God Who blessed our Church with the crowning of the new martyrs. We also thank Him for the heroic actions of the new martyrs, Nabil Habib and Neseem Bekhit. We believe God is protecting His Church and people, but we also have a responsibility to provide any help to protect the Church and Her people. The heroic actions of the two martyrs Nabil Habib and Neseem Bekhit inspired “The Project of the Two Martyrs Nabil and Neseem.” The targets of this project are:
(A) To train and appoint faithful, vigilant, and brave deacons like the two martyrs, Nabil and Neseem, throughout the churches, especially those with limited financial means; and
(B) Provide churches with financial hardship suitable equipment that may help in their protection, such as metal detectors.
The Diocese of Los Angeles has adopted this project through the Santa Verena Charity. We are asking the beloved children of the Church to contribute as an expression of support towards the children of the Church in Egypt.
The donations will be sent to the organization of Santa Verena Charity as
“The Project of the Two Martyrs Nabil and Neseem”
Santa Verena Charity
P.O. Box 51206
Irvine, CA 92619
This project is part of a larger project that Coptic Orthodox parishes outside Egypt and financially strong churches in Egypt have adopted to help the churches in Egypt of limited financial means. The goal is to help them to provide the needed protection to their people through the training and the needed equipment.
May God bless your donations to support that vital project and protect his church and his people and give them peace.
Bishop of Los Angeles and Metropolitan of Southern California and Hawaii