A Coptic Orthodox priest is slain in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria while accompanying young parishioners along the scenic waterfront promenadeMurder of Coptic priest in Egypt sparks emotion and concern
By Anne-Bénédicte Hoffner | Egypt
The slaying of a Coptic Orthodox priest in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria has shocked Christians in Egypt and reawakened memories of twin suicide bombings that killed 45 churchgoers on Palm Sunday five years ago.
Father Arsanios Wadid, a priest of the Coptic Orthodox Church, was stabbed to death on April 7 while accompanying young people from his parish on an evening stroll along the scenic waterfront promenade known as the Corniche.
Egypt’s interior ministry said the attack took place at around 8 pm, just as the Muslims were breaking their Ramadan fast for the day.
The assailant, who reportedly fled after witnesses saw him commit the stabbing, was quickly apprehended by local residents and handed over to police, the interior ministry confirmed.”
To reveal the identity and motives of the assailant
“Rescuers reportedly tried to revive Father Wadid, but he died at the military hospital where he was transported.
According to Egyptian media, an investigation is underway “to reveal the identity and motives of the assailant”, and the Egyptian attorney general has opened a judicial investigation.
During the priest’s funeral, celebrated at the Cathedral of Saint Mark in Alexandria the day after his death, tearful parishioners crowded around his coffin.”
One comment kept coming back: ‘You’ll see: they’ll make the murderer look like a lunatic,” the Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire reported.
“In fact, the government declared in the afternoon that the person arrested ‘suffers from mental problems and that the terrorist motive can therefore be excluded’,” the paper said.School and social commitment
The attack – which was perpetrated during the month of Ramadan and in the run-up to Easter, which the Copts celebrate on April 24 this year – has awakened recent bad memories for Christians in Egypt.
During Palm Sunday celebrations in April 2017, the Islamic State carried out twin suicide bombings at a church in Tanta in northern Egypt and another in Alexandria. They killed 45 people in those attacks.
Father Wadid was born in 1966 and ordained a priest by Pope Shenouda in 1995. He was serving at the Church of St. Mary and St. Paul the Apostle in the Karmouz district of Alexandria at the time of his death.He was known for his “academic and social” commitment and had just been elevated to the rank of hegumen (superior of a monastery) last October by Pope Tawadros II, the current head of the Coptic Orthodox Church.”
The Church praises this blessed priest who dedicated his life to God and gave his life today in martyrdom,” said a note on the Church’s Facebook page.
Patriarch Ibrahim Sedrak, head of the Coptic Catholic Church, and Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, offered their condolences to Father Wadid’s family, Pope Tawadros II and the entire Coptic Orthodox community.
Al-Tayeb recalled that “murder is a major sin” and that in the Quran “God has said that killing a person not guilty of murder or corruption on earth is the same as killing all people”.In a message on his own Facebook page, the imam also warned that such senseless acts could trigger “religious wars among children of the same country”.
“Everyone is called to be attentive to such schemes,” he said.