Saturday, January 01, 2011

The Lord has Turned Our Sunsets

... into sunrise, and through the Cross changed death to life. So says Clement of Alexandria. (Exhortation to the Heathen, Chapter 11)

Last night, Father Anonymous, with his family and a few of the faithful, joined a thousand or so of their closest friends on one of the great central piazzas here in Cluj. There was rock music blaring from the steps of the opera house, and a worship service in the Orthodox cathedral, which let out just before midnight. It was cold, but not that cold. We stamped our feet and drank champagne.

At the stroke of midnight, the fireworks began, and we began to sing a Romanian song -- the one people sing at birthdays. It was all very jolly.

But not so very far away, as the crow flies, a different group of worshipers was coming out of another church. Also Orthodox, as it happens -- Coptic, rather than Romanian. And they didn't walk out into a grand civic celebration. They walked into a bloodbath, as a bomb went off and killed at least 21 of them. Riots ensued. A mosque was attacked.

It has been a long time since Alexandria was the intellectual powerhouse of the Christian world, since Clement ran his famous school, expounding on the meaning of the Logos whose Incarnation we celebrate during Christmas. But there are still Christians in Egypt -- something like ten percent of the population, meaning eight million or so people. They aren't being brutalized the way the Christians of Iraq are -- it isn't genocide in Egypt, at least not yet. But they are being brutalized.

Please pray for the victims of this atrocity. Please pray for the perpetrators, too, and for all the people of Egypt. Let them seek reconciliation now, while they can, and before their nation descends into the sort of chaotic religious war that is too easy to imagine.

No comments: