WORDS of love, despite intense pain and grief, are on the lips of Brisbane priest, Fr David Mahrous, after masked gunmen attacked a bus of Coptic Christians south of the Egyptian capital, killing 29 people and injuring dozens more.
Speaking to Fr Mahrous, parish priest at the Virgin Mary Coptic Orthodox Church in Calamvale, is to be reminded of the way suffering fuels the faith.
“You’ve got people being interviewed in the hospital who have lost at least ten members of their family and extended family, saying these people who attacked us are a blessing,” Fr Mahrous (pictured) said.
“We pray for them (the terrorists) to know God.
“We love them and whatever they do to us we will still love them.”
Terror attacks and bombings targeting Christians are now happening with gruesome regularity in Egypt, yet the Coptic community is standing steadfast.
Even from across the world in Brisbane, Coptic brothers and sisters are sending prayers that the Lord will support their Egyptian relatives in their suffering.
“There is such incredible grace working in the Church at the moment,” Fr Mahrous said.
“Not people filled with hatred but filled with more courage, more love, more forgiveness.
“From another point of view we’re counted worthy to die for the Lord.
“That is the mindset that is in the Church at the moment. It is not a mind of vengeance.
In this latest attack, those killed were Coptic pilgrims on their way to a remote desert monastery.
They were stopped by terrorists who ordered the men off the bus, and told them to renounce their Christian faith, or die.
They chose death.
The following day, Pope Francis prayed for the victims and lamented that there were more martyrs today than in early Christian times.
“We are a church of martyrs,” he said.
“Every liturgy we have the lives of the saints read to us and 90 per cent of the time it’s a martyr.
“We are very used to this sort of martyrdom in our Church.
“The fact that it is now very visible and it is coming back almost like the first three centuries of Christianity, that’s maybe taking us by surprise.
“But the Lord has been giving a lot of grace to us to look at this with a heavenly perspective.”