In a recent interview, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II offered the following words of comfort to all Copts around the world who are feeling sadness over the recent systematic attack on over 50 churches, monasteries, and Christian institutions throughout Egypt.
Greetings to all.
These days in the history of Egypt are indeed difficult. The events taking place are by all measures are very sad, combining terrorism, crime, bloodshed and aggression.
Certain people are speaking in the name of religion saying things that are not acceptable mentally, logically or practically. I feel inside that this has injured the national unity that we have always declared. After this crisis ends, society should truly search for the reasons as to how these circumstances came about in the first place and how people with such an extremist mentality came into existence.
I know that Egypt is known for its moderatism in all things. Our lives as Egyptians, whether Muslim or Coptic, at the level of the individual or family, are known for their moderatism in all things. How did such extremism come into existence?
As for attacks on our churches, what did the church do to get involved in a struggle such as this? What did the church do that it was attacked with such aggression? What? If an attack on a home or public institution is a crime, what about an attack on a house of God? How should that be judged? How can we accept this? How can our brothers, the other citizens in this nation accept this? How?
In truth, there is a saying that came to my mind today from an Indian poet that says love is like incense. Its beautiful smell will not emerge unless it is thrown into the fire. In-spite of all that we are seeing and experiencing in these unacceptable events, that even if the hand of evil is torching, killing and destroying, I have full faith that the hand of God is stronger and mightier, and it is the hand that rebuilds.
I want to tell you that we are commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ in our Christianity to love our enemies, to bless those who curse us and to do good to those who hate us. This is what we have. So despite this crisis, these mindless acts, this excessive destruction, in all faith, I would like to direct my words to all Egyptians, those Copts that have suffered a lot from what is happening and our moderate brothers in this nation that do not accept such acts, that firstly I offer my condolences to all those who lost their lives in the past two days. My heart is with all those who are injured.
I truly feel inside that all the events that are taking place in the land of our country, Egypt, are not Egyptian in character. Yet our country is guarded by the hand of God. I am not just saying this as a matter of debate or discourse, but that is what history is witnessing. Yet our country is guarded by the hand of God. Truly our country, Egypt, is guarded by the hand of God.
I know very well that God is Almighty. What is happening in Egypt, God is allowing to happen. It is not a product of human thought or action. God allows it. However, all evil has an end and these crimes have an end.
Our history in Egypt is full of examples of such bitter tragedies. Yet, Christians have accepted them and moved on and prayed for those that perpetrated them that God may give them wisdom and better judgement.
I am following all that is happening in the land of Egypt, whether the destruction of churches, stores, schools or nunneries. These are not humane actions. There is nothing humane about these actions. These people have lost their humanity.
I want to take the chance to tell the police department, the armed forces, the media and our moderate brothers in the nation that you have withstood a lot in recent days, and now it is very important that you maintain your role of strength during this crisis in our nation.
I want to tell everyone that the eye of God is on the land of Egypt and all that happens in it. And those that have committed such acts that are not acceptable mentally, logically or morally, these shall be punished by God. God’s punishment is severe. I tell all people that you will live at maximum a hundred or so years and may God prolong your life. But you will stand before God’s judgement one day. In front of God you shall be judged according to the deeds your hands have committed. God’s judgement is swift, not just towards you as an individual, but to all those who followed in your deeds, be it a family or a generation of followers, God the Almighty will have his vengeance. Vengeance will not come via the hands of a human being. It is a Divine vengeance. Who can stand before the Lord?