Out of seclusion, Egypt's Coptic Pope to meet Khosous victims' families

Ahram Online, Sunday 14 Apr 2013

After days in meditative seclusion following violent attacks at Egypt's main Coptic cathedral, Pope Tawadros II returns to Cairo and will meet families of Al-Khosous victims Monday

Pope Tawadros II, the 118th pope of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church (Photo: Reuters)

For the first time since last week's sectarian violence in Al-Khosous, Egypt's Coptic Pope Tawadros II will lead the Sunday Mass prayers in Saint Mark's Cathedral in Abbasiya, announces his secretary.

Pope Tawadros has been secluded since Tuesday at the Saint Bishoy Monastery in Wadi Al-Natrun near the coastal town of Alexandria shortly after the violent turn of events following the funeral service of four slain Copts at the Cathedral on Sunday, 7 April. Pope Tawadros did not attend the funeral.

Two were killed and at least 90 injured when unknown assailants attacked mourners outside the cathedral at a funeral. The service was for four Copts killed that Saturday in sectarian violence in the town of Al-Khosous in Qalioubiya, north of Cairo. The death toll by Thursday, however reached seven, including five Copts and two Muslims.

On Monday, Tawadros is also set to meet with the families of the Coptic victims injured and killed who died as a result of the violence that began on 5 April and continued for two days.  

On Tuesday, following the attack on the funeral at the Cathedral, Tawadros criticised President Mohamed Morsi's handling of the events, saying: "This comes under dereliction of duty and mis-assessment, which is the responsibility of the security apparatus."  

On Thursday, at least 20 dignitaries from Al-Azhar (the leading Sunni authority worldwide), the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Salafist Call and the Muslim Brotherhood attended a reconciliation session.

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