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Dear Friends,

Thanks to all who expressed concern and prayers following the tragic bombings in the churches of Tanta and Alexandria.

Palm Sunday is one of the busiest days on our church calendar. Egyptian Christians carry intricately woven palm branches. They chant “Hosanna to the King of Kings.” It is a day of joyful celebration.

Then the first bomb exploded.

Instantly, many robed chanters participating in the liturgy exchanged their now-bloodied, earthly robes for martyrs’ robes washed white in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14). A few hours later, the second bomb exploded in Alexandria as a suicide bomber detonated his explosive device outside Saint Mark’s Church. Altogether, 46 people went from celebrating by faith to celebrating by sight, meeting their savior face to face. Many more were wounded.

The funerals were a mixture of wailing and rejoicing, as a bishop explained: 

“True, we love martyrdom. But we also love life. We don't hate life on earth. God created us on earth to live, not die. The fact that we accept death doesn't mean our blood is cheap, and it doesn't mean that it doesn't matter to us. We do not commit suicide. But we witness for Christ, whether by our lives or by our transition to heaven. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord.”  

Social Media is abuzz. In many instances, Muslims who are outraged at the blind and evil hatred of this atrocity, have expressed frustration with Christians in all their talk of love and forgiveness.  As with previous attacks, the sense of revenge is minimal as families embrace martyrdom as a gift from and to God. Click here or on the image at right to see the Muslim interviewer’s astonishment with the widow of the gatekeeper who prevented the suicide bomber from entering the Alexandria church yard, thereby saving countless lives. What is happening in Egypt is not a 2000-year-old legend, but a modern, living testimony to the power of the Christian faith. 

Please pray for the Church of the Martyrs, as they seek to faithfully apply the teachings and example of Jesus to forgive and carry on.  Pray for patience in the midst of sorrow and grief.  Pray for victory over bitterness and anger. Pray for our church and government leaders. 

And as you celebrate this weekend, may you be inspired by the witness of many Egyptian Christians whose faith epitomizes the true meaning of Easter.

Sincerely in Christ,

Ramez Atallah
General Director
The Bible Society of Egypt

Above: A bloodied page with text from Matthew 16:24-28, which includes these words:“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”
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