The Most Reverend Stephen Brislin, Archbishop of Cape Town and President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference has written to the Coptic Church on the tragic occasion of the martyrdom of Christians this past Palm Sunday.
12th April 2017
To His Holiness Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the Holy See of St Mark – in all Africa and the Middle East.
To His Eminence, the Most Reverend Damaskinos (Papandreu), Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg and Pretoria
To His Eminence, the Most Reverend Sergios (Kykkotis), Metropolitan of the Archdiocese of the Cape of Good Hope
Dear Brothers in Christ
The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference has learnt with great sadness of the bombing of two Coptic Churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday, which resulted in the loss of many lives and the injuries of many worshippers.
We offer our condolences to you, to His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, the Coptic Church in Egypt, the families of the victims and we continue to pray for the speedy recovery of all the wounded.
Remember dear brothers and sisters: During this Holy Week, we are reminded that in the Cross of Christ, God feels you, God suffers with you and God enters completely into your reality of modern-day persecution.
We are all convinced that the witness of the martyrs of the Coptic Church in Egypt will continue to nurture the tree of Christianity, whose roots originates from the Infancy of Our Lord, who found refuge in your homeland and in the great Apostolic Ministry of St Mark. God is with you in your experience of pain, fear, abandonment and death.
We are with you and we will continue to support you with our prayers. May the Passion of our Lord this Good Friday, and the intercessions of St Mark and the Blessed Virgin Mary, lead to the conversion of those whose hearts and hardened by hatred and who find pleasure only in the death of the innocent.
We are united with Pope Francis, and we too pray that “the Lord may convert the hearts of all those who sow terror, violence and death, and also the hearts of those who traffic arms.” Remain courageous witnesses of the Lord and his message of Peace and Forgiveness during these trying times. Our hope is that Muslims of goodwill will join you in building right relations that will usher a new season of peace and solidarity.
We remain yours in Christ
+Archbishop Stephen Brislin
Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference