A church burns in Beni Suef, Egypt, on August 15. (Daily News Egypt)
Coptic Catholic Bishop Kyrillos William of Assiut told
Vatican Radio Aug. 15 that the government action and the reaction of the Muslim
Brotherhood were not unexpected "because Egypt won't accept an Islamic
state." The majority, he said, "wants to separate religion from the
supporters were "shouting slogans against the government, against the
police and against the Christians because they are persuaded that all three are
the cause of the fall of Morsi's regime."
demonstrators "burned various churches, including one of ours, the one
belonging to the Franciscan convent in Assiut," he said. They climbed the
wall and entered the compound, burning the cars that were in the courtyard,
setting on fire a souvenir stand, and then setting afire the church "after
having profaned it by throwing the tabernacle on the ground."
also burned an Orthodox church and a Seventh-day Adventist church in the city,
the bishop said.
el-Qusiya, Bishop William said, the demonstrators started going toward a convent
of nuns, "but then some wise people, including Muslims -- said to them,
'What have they done wrong? They've been doing good here for 70 years.' And
they chased them off."
“Catholic spokesman defends Egyptian army
crackdown against protesters,” Jonathan Luxmoore, Catholic News Service
For 67 years, the Virgin Mary Church has been a peaceful refuge
for Shenouda El Sayeh, much like the Giza province village of Kafr Hakim where
it rests and where he has lived all those years.
But, as he swept its floors on Thursday, it was painfully obvious
things had changed.
The night before, a mob -- chanting against Coptic Christians such
as El Sayeh and calling for Egypt to become an "Islamic state" -- had
torched and looted the Virgin Mary Church.
"I didn't expect this to happen," El Sayeh said.
He's not alone. Christians all around Egypt are cleaning up in the
aftermath of a spate of attacks, which came on the country's deadliest day
since the 2011 revolution that overthrew longtime President Hosni Mubarak.
Bishop Angaelos, the Cairo-born head of the Coptic Orthodox Church
in the United Kingdom, said he was told by colleagues in Egypt that 52 churches
were attacked in a 24-hour span that started Wednesday, as well as numerous
Christians' homes and businesses.
Ishak Ibrahim, a researcher with the Egyptian Initiative for
Personal Rights, told CNN he had confirmed attacks on at least 30 churches so
far, in addition to the targeting of church-related facilities, including
schools and cultural centers.
Christian churches across Egypt stormed, torched,” Sarah Sirgany and Laura
“Unfortunately, painful news has come from Egypt. I wish to
ensure my prayers for all the victims and their families, the injured and all
those who are suffering. Let us pray together for peace, dialogue and
reconciliation in that dear nation and throughout the world. Mary, Queen of
Peace, pray for us. Let's all say it, Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.”
Francis’ Angelus address for Wednesday, August 15, 2013, Solemnity of the
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary