“Terrorism has no religion; it has no homeland.”
-Rev. Dr. Andrea Zaki, CEOSS General Director
I had the pleasure of visiting St. Mark’s Cathedral a few months ago with members of a delegation from Global Ministries, Week of Compassion, and One Great Hour of Sharing. The grounds of St. Mark’s house the offices of BLESS (the Coptic Orthodox Church Bishopric of Public, Ecumenical and Social Services), the Coptic Orthodox counterpart to CEOSS.
The grounds also house a small chapel with that has a shrine containing relics of St. Mark, the apostle of Jesus. My favorite thing about St. Mark’s, in addition to the relics and incredible architecture that anyone with a religion degree is required to love, is the smell and taste of fresh bread.
Coptic Orthodox churches and cathedral’s all have their own bakery. These bakeries specialize in one thing—Ourbana. Ourbana is used for communion, as well as sold after services for children and families to share and enjoy. Whenever you enter the grounds of a Coptic Orthodox church you are greeted with the smell of fresh-baked bread, you are welcomed home.
A small group of protesters assembled late Sunday morning following a bombing that left 25 people dead, and nearly 50 more were hospitalized. 75 people who were merely attending Sunday morning mass. The protesters dispersed Sunday evening and the planning for Monday mornings funeral was well underway.
With members of the so called Islamic State taking credit for the incident and threatening more like it, the sorrow, fear, and anxiety that followed the bombing were increased. These emotions will linger in the Egyptian Christian population through this Christmas season and beyond.
The anxiety and fear has left a fog of uncertainty over Egyptian Christians, but I am certain of one thing: all over Cairo and across Egypt, there will be bread; there will be mass next Sunday.
Will O'Brien, member of Union Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), St. Louis, Missouri, serves as a Global Mission Intern with the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS). His appointment is supported by Week of Compassion, Our Church’s Wider Mission, Disciples Mission Fund and your special gifts