PAPAL TELEGRAM FOR VICTIMS OF FIRE IN COPTIC CHURCH IN EGYPT
Following is the telegram of condolences that Pope Francis sent to His Holiness Tawadros II, Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church, for the many victims of a fire in a Coptic church in Giza, Egypt. It was sent in the Pope’s name by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin:
His Holiness Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark,
His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened upon being informed of the recent fire at Abu Sefein church in Giza which caused the deaths of so many, including a number of children and Bishop Abdul Bahkit. In offering heartfelt condolences and the assurance of spiritual closeness to the injured and those affected by this tragedy, His Holiness entrusts the victims and their families to the merciful love of Almighty God and invokes upon all consolation and strength in the Lord. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State
A CNA news story reported that 35 children between two and six years of age were among the victims of the blaze that ripped through the Church of Saint Mercurius (known in Arabic as Abu Sefein), reported ACI MENA, CNA’s partner agency for the Middle East and Northern Africa.
In fact, twins and triplets were among the young victims.
The cause of the blaze has so far not been established. Reuters reported that an electrical fire broke out at the church where people gathered during the Divine Liturgy celebration. The blaze reportedly blocked the exit from the church and caused a stampede.