Catholic Bishops in Ethiopia Condole with Coptic Church after Church Fire in Cairo, Egypt

A blaze ripped through the St. Mercurius (Abu Sefein) Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt on Sunday, Aug. 14 2022. ACI MENA

Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE) have sent a condolence message to the leadership of the Coptic Methodist Church following the outbreak of a fire in their church in the capital city of Egypt, Cairo. 

At least 40 people, most of them children, reportedly lost their lives in a fire in the Church of Saint Mercurius (known in Arabic as Abu Sefein), reported ACI MENA, ACI Africa's partner agency for the Middle East and Northern Africa. 

Among the victims of the blaze that ripped through the Coptic Orthodox church located in Giza Governorate, Egypt, on Sunday, August 14 were 35 children between two and six years of age. according to government and church officials.

In a statement signed by CBCE President, Berhaneyesus Cardinal Souraphiel, Catholic Church leaders in Ethiopia say they “became so sad and found ourselves speechless” after learning about the fire incident.

Dear Coptic Orthodox Church leaders and all her members, it is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I write this letter to you. I would like to offer my sincerest sympathies on behalf of the Ethiopian Catholic Church and myself,” the Ethiopian Cardinal says in the Tuesday, August 16 statement


In the statement CBCE members add, “Our sincere sympathy goes to the Coptic Orthodox Church, the bereaved families, friends of all those who lost their lives in the tragic fire incident at Abu Sifin church in Cairo, and the brotherly Egyptian people.” 

The Catholic Bishops in Ethiopia assure members of the Coptic Church “our prayers to your church, the deceased and wish a full and speedy recovery to those who were injured.”

“May the Good Lord give you grace and strength to overcome this tragedy,” they say.

According to Reuters, an electrical fire broke out at the Coptic church where people gathered during the Divine Liturgy Sunday celebration. The fire reportedly blocked the church’s exit and caused a stampede. 

Following the incident, the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II, offered condolences to the families of the victims.

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"We are following with sorrow the tragic incident that occurred this morning in the Church of the Great Martyr Mercurius Abo Sefein in the Imbabah Airport area, north of Giza,” he said August 14. 

The Patriarch added, "As we offer our condolences to the victims' families, we pray for the injured and wounded, trusting that the hand of God will have mercy on us all."

Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, also offered his condolences to the head of the Coptic Church in Egypt, saying his thoughts were with “the families of the innocent victims that have passed on to be with their Lord in one of his houses of worship.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.