ROME, JAN. 14, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The president of the Vatican’s unity council says Christians should be united to face oppression, and also to seek peace.
Cardinal Kurt Koch affirmed this in a message to the Coptic community of Rome, in which he expressed his closeness after the Jan. 1 attack on an Orthodox Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt, which took the lives of 21 and injured dozens more.
“All Christians must be united in face of oppression and must seek peace together, which only Jesus can give,” the cardinal said.
His message was addressed to the bishop of the Orthodox Coptic Church in Italy, Barnabas El Soryany, on the occasion of Christmas, celebrated by Eastern Christians according to the Julian calendar on the night of Jan. 6-7.
The message was read on behalf of Cardinal Koch by his representative, Father Gabriel Quick, director of the pontifical council’s division for Eastern Christians.
Referring to the Alexandria tragedy, the cardinal said: “At this moment of sorrow, I am united to you and to the Coptic Christian community in prayer. We share this sorrow together; together we pray for healing, for peace and for justice.”
Cardinal Koch recalled Benedict XVI’s message decrying the attack and affirmed that the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity makes its own the words pronounced by the Pontiff.
On Jan. 2 during his traditional Angelus address, the Holy Father referred both to the attack on the Copts and to bombs targeting Christians in Iraq, and he encouraged “ecclesial communities to persevere in faith and in the witness of non-violence which comes to us from the Gospel.”