Monday 15 August 2022

Reflection by His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, following the fire in Abu Sefein Church, Imbaba, Egypt

 Coptic Orthodox Church UK
Media and Communications Office

Coptic Orthodox Church (Europe)
                      Media and Communications Office

Reflection by His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos,
Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, following the fire in Abu Sefein Church, Imbaba, Egypt

15 August 2022

It is with great sadness that we received news yesterday of the tragic loss of life caused by a fire in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Abu Sefein in Imbaba, on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. To-date 41 precious lives, many of whom are children, have been lost, and scores of people remain injured. What is even more tragic, is that due to the nature of Liturgical attendance, many of these fatalities and injuries were multi-generational, with families mourning numerous members.  

As many bury their loved ones today, and others support survivors in hospitals and at home, we pray repose for those who have sadly departed, comfort for those who mourn them, healing for those who will bear the physical and emotional scars, and support for the families and communities that will continue to recover from this tragedy over the coming weeks, months and even years.

While much is being said about the cause of the fire, and the response time of emergency services, this must be left to what we hope and expect will be a robust and transparent investigation. For now, we focus on those most in need of our care and attention.

I am so touched by the outpouring of support that I personally, as well as many of my colleagues, have received from friends and acquaintances across Britain and around the world. Their gracious care, and the assurance of their thoughts and prayers, will be a source of great strength and support for our sisters and brothers in Imbaba and around the world.

Two bittersweet realities arise from this tragedy. The first is that Churches in Egypt are filled by the faithful on a regular basis, and so when tragedy strikes it strikes at a high cost, and at the heart of the community. The second is that tragedy creates a platform for us to recognise and value one another while experiencing each other’s pain and comforting one another through our suffering.

These tragic moments inevitably lead people from all walks of life to empathise with the suffering of mothers and fathers who weep for their children, children who have lost parents, families who have been torn apart, and friends separated. It is in that shared experience that we find hope in our common humanity, and ability to understand, grieve with, respect and value one another and the sanctity of life that we all share.

Assured of the promise and power of the Resurrection, we bid farewell to those who have departed from this world, and pledge to pray for and support those who remain with us, so deeply affected by this harrowing experience.


The names of those who have departed:

Ereny Atef Ramzy   

Magda Nabih Habib

Demiana Zakaria Zaki        

Mariam Tamer Wagih        

Parsina Tamer Wagih        

Abraam Tamer Wagih        

Mina Saleh Fakher 

Father Abd El Messiah Bekhiet    

Mirna Atef Ramzy   

Adel Agib Ayoub     

Nadia Said Botros

Mahriel Bassem Amen       

Youssef Bassem Amen     

Philopater Bassem Amen  

Mary Naim Amer     

Kirollos Ramy Arian

Mina Ashraf Azmy   

Farg Kamal Farg     

Romany Ezzat Gad

Kirollos Nour Ataa   

Ereny Refaat

Millionare Refaat     

Nady Edward           

Mary Edward

Jomana Edward      

Elaria Ashraf

Samia Ishak 

Kirollos Saber          

Bishoy Saber

Marista Saleh          

Mirna Moussa          

Basta Ebied 

Shenouda Dandash

Abd El Malak Hanna

Rania Lamie

Zakaria Mounir        

Nawal Haleeb          

Arzak Abdou

Nadine Fayed Zakaria        

Dawood Farah         

Nady Ishak