Saturday, January 16, 2010

NCC leaders condemn attacks on Christians in Egypt

National Council of Churches leaders condemn attacks on Christians in Egypt

New York, January 15, 2010 --

The National Council of Churches USA has sent messages of solidarity and support to leaders of the Coptic Orthodox Church following attacks on Christians in Egypt.

In Egypt, where the Coptic Orthodox Church celebrated Christmas on January 7 (following the old Julian and Coptic calendars), seven people were murdered following a midnight Divine Liturgy in Nag Hamadi, Qena in Upper Egypt. According to press reports, riots then erupted during the funeral processions for six of the seven victims of the massacre. Six of the seven victims were Coptic Christians; the seventh victim was a Muslim.

In a message sent to H.G. Bishop Serapion of Los Angeles, Coptic Orthodox Church, and to Subdeacon Bishoy M. Mikhail, Ecumenical Officer of the Church, the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon wrote: "On behalf of your brothers and sisters in the National Council of Churches, I want to assure you of our prayers following the death of Coptic Orthodox Christians this week in Egypt. May God receive them into glory, and may God grant peace to our violent and fragmented world." Kinnamon also lamented the death of the Muslim victim.

Other church leaders, including Pope Benedict XVI, also condemned the violence against Christians in Egypt.

Kinnamon condemned the attacks as a flagrant denial of the love of God as testified to in the New Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures and the Qur'an. "Violence in God's name is not only an obvious corruption of Scripture, it demonstrates an appalling disregard for the loving and just God who commands us to live together in peace," Kinnamon said. "What is especially painful is that this recent violence took place during a celebration of the birth of the one who Christians call the Prince of Peace and who Muslims call a holy prophet."

NCC News contact: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell) ,

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