Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Christians killed in Egypt feud

Two Christian men have been shot dead after an Easter vigil in the south of Egypt, security sources say.

Another Coptic Christian was reported injured in the attack near the village of Qena.

Police are searching for four Muslim men suspected of having carried out the shooting, which is thought to have been the consequence of a family vendetta.

A security source quoted by Reuters said those killed had recently been freed from prison for killing a Muslim.

Vendettas are common among clans in southern Egypt, being pursued equally bitterly within faith communities as between Christians and Muslims.

Coptic and Orthodox Christians marked Easter on Sunday, a week later than their Catholic and Protestant counterparts.

Copts account for about 10% of Egypt's 80 million population.

His Holiness Anba Shenouda III
Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the Preaching of St. Mark, of Egypt, the Near East and All Africa

His Holiness Shenouda III is considered by Copts to be the 117th patriarch of Alexandria in direct succession to Saint Mark the Evangelist, author of the second Gospel. Elected to the Coptic papacy in 1971, he celebrated his silver jubilee in 1996. During his reign, the Church has been extensively reformed and expanded: there are now some 75 bishops in the Holy Synod, compared to 20 when he took the throne; in 1971 there were three Coptic parishes in North America, and today there are dozens, and hundreds in the worldwide Egyptian diaspora. Shenouda has visited the US on several occasions.