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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew expresses support to Pope Shenouda on recent tragedy in Egypt

It is with heavy heart and wholehearted sympathy that we communicate with Your Beatitude – indeed, not for the first time this year! – for similar tragedies confronting our beloved and pious Coptic Christian brothers and sisters under your spiritual and pastoral protection in Egypt.

Upon hearing this painful news during our recent visit to the Holy Mountain, we hastened to invoke the intercessions of the numerous saints who have led ascetic lives in that monastic republic and to urge the ongoing prayers of the monks who currently reside there.

The remarkable and turbulent changes experienced by your entire historical continent and especially your biblical nation in recent times has proved both encouraging and costly. Nevertheless, the difficult and complicated transition in the life of all citizens of Egypt can never and should never provide any pretext or excuse acts of violence toward any targeted individuals or groups, including and especially religious communities or political factions.

It is, therefore, in the strongest possible expression of solidarity and condolence that we deplore the unacceptable persecution and unjustifiable execution of all humble and law-abiding citizens, particularly belonging to Christian or other faith minorities, whether in Egypt or the entire Middle East.

The struggle for peace and democracy can never come at the expense of religious liberty and human rights.

Finally, Your Beatitude, we would like to assure you and your faithful that we always stand prayerfully beside you as we continue to journey on the difficult paths of our respective Churches. May God give rest to the souls of the departed and strength to the families that survive them.

At the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the 17th day of October 2011

Your Beatitude’s beloved brother in Christ,

Archbishop of Constantinople-
New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch

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