Saint Mark's Cathedral Interior - Photo Courtesy of Saint Mark's cathedral Facebook Page
CAIRO – 10 April 2017: The celebratory hymns and prayers of Palm Sunday in Alexandria’s Saint Mark’s Cathedral and Tanta’s Mar Girgis Coptic Church were replaced by mourning and cries for help after bombs exploded outside each church during services Sunday morning.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for both explosions.
It was not the first time St. Mark’s was attacked; the cathedral has faced many trials dating back to the crusades.
The cathedral was destroyed during the crusades, targeting orthodox Christianity, in 1219 and was later rebuilt. In 1798, the cathedral was destroyed a second time by Napoleon’s army during the French invasion, and reopened in 1918 during the era of Muhammad Ali.
The church is named after Saint Mark the Evangelist, the first Bishop of Alexandria, who is revered in orthodox Christianity and is believed to have written the second Gospel. St. Mark lived in Alexandria for seven years spreading Christianity, according to La Copts org. He established a small chapel to expand his studies after his arrival in AD 60 which was later expanded into a cathedral around AD 321, based on the Cathedral’s official Facebook page.
St. Mark was slaughtered and tortured to death on the festival of Serapis, a Greco-Roman religious festival held in Alexandria, and his relics buried in his cathedral. Over the decades Italian merchants smuggled Mark’s relics to Venice and interred them in Saint Mark’s basilica, leaving only his head preserved in a shrine in Alexandria.
Coptic youth gathered around the cathedral Sunday night, honoring the martyrs through singing holy hymns representing a strong bound capable of defeating terror.
Watch the video below: