Archbishop Smith has expressed condolences, support, and prayers for our Coptic Christian brothers and sisters following recent attacks in Alexandria and Tanta, Egypt. Two terrorist bombings killed at least 47 people and injured more than 100. The bombings were the latest in a string of attacks on Middle Eastern Christians in recent years.

In his letter to Father Rewis Rofaiel of St. Mary & St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Edmonton, Archbishop Smith writes:

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

It is with profound sadness that I write to you on this holy feast day, to express my personal condolences and those of our whole Archdiocese, following the terrible bombing attacks perpetrated against our sisters and brothers and your sanctuaries this day in Egypt.

The lives of innocent men, women and children have been taken as payment in a conflict so evil and misguided, and so often directed at Christians in your homeland and throughout the Middle East. I offer you solidarity, support and the assurance of prayers for the deceased, the wounded, all the families and the whole community affected by these acts of violence.

Together with Pope Francis, I pray too that “the Lord convert the hearts of all those persons who sow terror, violence and death, and also the hearts of those who produce and traffic arms.”

As we journey together the mysteries of this Holy Week, please be assured of our loving concern for you and your parish community here in Edmonton as you contend with the repercussions of these senseless acts.

In Christ, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Mark the Evangelist.”

Pope Francis will visit Cairo later this month, showing support for Middle Eastern Christians, and dialogue with Catholic, Muslim and government leaders there.