New Primate Very Rev. Parsamyan

Diocese of Armenian Church Sends Message of Sympathy to Coptic Church after Devastating Fire

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NEW YORK — In the wake of a horrific fire that swept through a crowded Coptic Church in Egypt on August 14, Diocesan Primate Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan extended the condolences of the Eastern Diocese to Bishop David, leader of America’s Coptic Orthodox community.

“Today, my heart wept as I read of the disastrous fire that destroyed the Abu Sefein Church in Giza, at the cost of more than forty precious lives, scores of injuries, and incalculable grief among our beautiful, faithful brothers and sisters of the Coptic Church,” wrote the Primate in his August 15 letter.

The latest reports calculate that 41 people died in the blaze, among them, most tragically, 18 children. The Coptic sanctuary was crowded with worshippers when the fire broke out.

Coptic Christians share ancient ties of culture, theology, and friendship with their Armenian brethren. Both communities belong to the Oriental Orthodox family of the churches, and maintain close relations internationally and in the United States.

As Fr. Mesrop wrote to Bishop David: “Let me take this moment of crisis to express again the deep sense of care, support, solidarity, and love that the Armenian faithful feel towards our brethren of the Coptic Church.” He added that both communities stand together in prayer for the lives lost at Abu Sefein Church, and for the Armenians who died in an explosion at a Yerevan marketplace on the same day.

Read Fr. Mesrop’s letter below.

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Your Grace:

Today, my heart wept as I read of the disastrous fire that destroyed the Abu Sefein Church in Giza, at the cost of more than forty precious lives, scores of injuries, and incalculable grief among our beautiful, faithful brothers and sisters of the Coptic Church.

On this occasion of sorrow, please accept my deepest sympathies, on behalf of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America and all of our people.

Bishop David, you may be aware that August 14 also turned out to be a day of pain for the people in Armenia’s capital city of Yerevan, where a fireworks warehouse in a busy marketplace exploded.  Rescue workers are still sifting through the debris, but at present half a dozen deaths have been confirmed, with casualties mounting.

That all of this happened on such a beautiful, peaceful feast day, the Feast of the Holy Assumption, only underlines for me the deep mystery of the ways of God.

Nevertheless, in the spirit of our Holy Mother-of-God, who gazes with tender love on all her children, let me take this moment of crisis to express again the deep sense of care, support, solidarity, and love that the Armenian faithful feel towards our brethren of the Coptic Church.  We all stand together in times of joy as well as grief.  Together, we pray for the intercession of our holy martyrs, who stand shoulder-to-shoulder alongside our Lord Jesus, in His kingdom.

May that same merciful Lord receive all the faithful souls who perished during these heartbreaking days.  May He grant comfort and peace to your long-suffering people, Bishop David, in the aftermath of this tragedy.  And may we all be reunited in His kingdom, on the great day of His Second Coming.

Prayerfully,

Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan
Primate

 

 

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