Monday 22 May 2023

Statement by His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos on escalating violence in Sudan and the increasing attacks on The Coptic Orthodox Community


Coptic Orthodox Church UK
Media and Communications Office 

Coptic Orthodox Church (Europe)
                         Media and Communications Office


Statement by His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos on escalating violence in Sudan and the increasing attacks on The Coptic Orthodox Community


22 May 2023

As we rejoice in the Risen Lord between the Feasts of the Resurrection and Pentecost in the Coptic Orthodox Church, our hearts are heavy with sadness for the people of Sudan and the conflict and war that are ripping the nation apart. The Coptic Orthodox Church has a large and vibrant community in Sudan, and I have been in contact with Their Graces Bishop Sarabamaun and Bishop Eleya over the past weeks, as well as many who have families there, and have heard first hand of the devastation and displacement faced by the thousands who have been forced to leave their homes, and all they have, in order to escape to safety. I have also heard of the immense pressures placed on those who have not been able, or did not want, to leave, and the subsequent daily dangers that they face.

While reports over the past weeks have been incredibly painful, we are now even more alarmed to hear of the targeted attacks on churches and church properties that have placed our laity and clergy at very real risk. Churches and church properties have been attacked, looted and seized by armed groups, and nuns and senior clergy have had to be moved for their own safety.

While we pray, and invite others to pray, for our sisters and brothers in Sudan, we also appeal to policy makers and those in authority to do all they can to restore order and the rule of law that ensures the safety of every person, and restores a sense of peace to a country now torn apart by war and conflict.

We lift up our hearts and our prayers for those here in Britain and around the world who are deeply concerned for the wellbeing of their families and friends who have been, and continue to be, affected by this conflict in Sudan, and we stand alongside them to do all we can to support in whatever way we can.

Although I write this message expressing the concern that I share with many, I am reminded that we are always hopeful in our God Who does not forget any of His children at their time of greatest need, and Who promises that He will never abandon us, “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5, NKJV).

While war, conflict and crisis reveal the worst of our broken humanity, they also provide an opportunity for the best of humanity to be expressed in our support for those struggling and affected. I encourage everyone who reads this message to support in whatever way they can, whether that be through prayer, raising awareness to the plight of those in Sudan, or financially, so we can all play a part to support those in greatest need at this time.

We will be dedicating the weekend of 27 and 28 May 2023 to continue to raise funds across the Diocese for our sisters and brothers in Sudan, as well as those displaced both internally and externally. I am so thankful for the generosity of so many so far in the response to our first appeal, and am sure that many will be just as responsive to this appeal, as this humanitarian catastrophe continues to affect the lives of many.