- (Photo: Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
The Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Holy See of St. Mark the Apostle, H.H. Pope Tawadros II, has accused the Egyptian regime and security forces for failing to prevent the sectarian incidents of El-Khosos and St. Mark's Cathedral.
The patriarch added that security forces came up short in performing their duty, as it was possible to contain the situation by making the right decision to protect innocent citizens. Due to the state of unrest and idleness, forces instead chose the "leniency of law."
Pope Tawadros highlighted the negligence and complacency with which the St. Mark's Cathedral attacks were handled crossed all lines. He also pointed out that the events had reached a chaotic state and placed the responsibility on the state and President Mahmoud Morsi.
He added that President Morsi called him to calm him after the events occurred and promised to provide all the possible protection for the cathedral, but he revealed that nothing had changed and continued to point to Egyptian security forces' negligence during the attacks.
"The Egyptian Coptic Church is part of the Egyptian society … this is protected by God, with history as evidence to prove this," Pope Tawadros said, while denouncing the state's inability to control a few extremists when the majority of Egypt is moderate.
His Holiness pointed out that Egypt's image before the world is now "in tatters," as there is no clear positive action by the state while demanding that the law must be enforced.
Pope Tawadros II stressed that the Coptic Church expresses only itself and no one speaks for it, stating that the Church's official position is that it does not require the protection of anyone except God.
He noted that this is the first time in Egypt's history that the Coptic Orthodox Church's headquarters to be assaulted.
"My condolences to all the families of those who passed away at both incidents," His Holiness added, stating that he is following the situation and is in touch with the presidency, as well as the government, and Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayyeb.
The patriarch said that his service schedule for the time is outside of Cairo, but revealing that he is in touch with the bishops in Cairo and the security officials present there.
"My heart wrenches in pain because of the blood spilled and the unrest in the Egyptian streets," Pope Tawadros continued, calling for wisdom and to avoid provocation.
"I can understand the furious reaction by the youth inside and outside the cathedral," Pope Tawadros added. "Their anger is usually well-founded, but we must think well before taking any steps as Egypt's image is more important than anything."
The inertness witnessed on the television is shameful, His Holiness said, explaining that while he appreciates the sentiments shown by the government, the president, and all Muslims, those sentiments alone do not suffice in such matters. The Pope demanded that swift action be taken.
St. Mark's Cathedral will be holding a funeral service for Khosos and cathedral victims next Thursday, with Pope Tawadros II and many bishops in attendance.