On August 30, 2013, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, issued a statement calling for prayers for all who are suffering in the crisis currently gripping Egypt, and especially that nation’s minority Christian community.
The complete text follows.
STATEMENT OF THE HOLY SYNOD OF BISHOPS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA
Concerning the Conflict in Egypt and its Christian community
It is with deep concern that we have witnessed the mounting difficulties and sorrows suffered by Christians and non-Christians alike across the Middle East, and especially in Egypt and Syria. Of special concern is the plight of the Coptic community in Egypt. The situation in that land is indeed a complex one—one for which we offer prayers on behalf of all people of good will, Christian and non-Christian alike, that the ongoing conflict will soon end in a peaceful resolution. Nevertheless, in mid-August we witnessed disturbing images and reports of the burning and destruction of dozens of Coptic churches across Egypt, together with attacks on the faithful and their homes, families and businesses. While this is not the first time Egypt’s Christians have had to endure such pain, the magnitude of the recent attacks is unprecedented.
The Church, from apostolic times, has endured suffering and persecution. “Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake,” our Lord reveals in Matthew 5:11. Since the time of Cain and Abel, the nature of this fallen world has pitted brother against brother. However, we have been called to look beyond this fallen world and to set our sight on the Kingdom of the Prince of Peace. In this manner, we will fulfill the prayer offered by our Lord on the eve of His life-creating death, “that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me” [John 17:21].
It is in this spirit that we call upon the faithful to beseech our Lord to grant peace to our Coptic brothers and sisters in the midst of their trials—and to all Egyptians of good will, in search of that “Peace which passes all understanding” [Philippians 4:7]. May the promise of the Kingdom remain before them as they continue to witness to Jesus Christ in circumstances that, for us, are unimaginable. May we speak up in their defense through whatever means are at our disposal. And may those who have lost their lives in the conflict be granted eternal rest with the saints, in the bosom of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit” [Romans 15:13].
PETITION FOR AUGMENTED LITANY
Again we pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith, especially the Christian faithful of Egypt and across the Middle East, that the Lord God will send down upon them every spiritual weapon to endure their tribulations; and that He will grant that Peace which passes all understanding upon the region, and throughout the whole world, as a foretaste of His heavenly Kingdom.