Press Release No: 16/47
12 December 2016
Two cities at the historic heart of Christianity are reeling from deadly acts of violence that took place over the weekend. As a result of multiple bombings in Cairo and Istanbul, dozens have died and hundreds other injured.
During Sunday liturgy a bomb exploded on the grounds of St Mark’s Coptic Christian Cathedral complex in Egypt’s capital and largest city. The act left 25 people dead and wounded many others. This is one of the most deadly attacks in a spate of recent violence directed at Egypt’s Christian minority population.
Hours before in Istanbul another bombing apparently targeting police officers took place outside a football stadium just as the crowds dispersed following the match. Separate bombs killed upwards of 38 people, including a reported 30 police officers.
The Conference of European Churches is shocked and grieved by these events. They are a sorrowful reminder of the instability of the security situation in Turkey and Egypt, and the threat many face in their daily lives. We lament the continuing pattern of violence and persecution against Christians and other minorities throughout the Middle East.
“These acts of violence profoundly touch the Conference of European Churches,” remarked Fr Heikki Huttunen, CEC General Secretary. “One in the city at the centre of world Orthodox Christianity and home to a CEC Member Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The other touches a community that traces its roots to the time of the apostles, the Coptic Patriarchate in Cairo.”
The Conference of European Churches joins in prayers for peace and a reconciled coexistence of ethnic and religious groups in both Egypt and Turkey. We encourage all to work for the preservation of human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, and to bring religious and ethnic minority voices into all peace processes.
For more information or an interview, please contact:
Conference of European Churches
Rue Joseph II, 174 B-1000 Brussels
Tel. +32 2 234 68 42
Fax +32 2 231 14 13
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of some 115 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, plus 40 national council of churches and organisations in partnership. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Brussels and Strasbourg.