Local Coptic Church leaders urge forgiveness after Egypt bombings

VIDEO: Coptic Church Bombing

The priest of St. George’s Orthodox Coptic Church in Kirkland said he forgives the people who bombed a Tanta, Egypt church where he once served.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for bombings at two Egyptian churches in Tanta and Alexandria, which have killed at least 37 people and wounded around 100.

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The Rev. Angelos Sarkis brought his family from Tanta to Kirkland to serve as the priest for St. George in 2003.

His son, Beshoy Sarkis, said his family served that church for about a decade. One of his friends was killed in the attack.

"We've been up almost all night, trying to get a hold of family and friends," he said. "A lot of our friends and a lot of our loved ones are impacted by this. It just saddens our heart."

He described the church community of Tanta as a small, tight-knit and loving group.

“It’s kind of nothing new, sadly," a subdeacon of the church, Avram Wahba, said. "Our church has always been sort of targeted, and we’re the church of the martyrs.”

Even for a church of martyrs, hearing this news made for a difficult time during what is supposed to be a joyous Palm Sunday.

“People who do this are just blind. They don’t – they think that they’re serving their God, but really, they’re just blind. So we pray for them,” Wahba said.

Church leaders told KIRO 7 they would be collecting donations to send to Egypt to assist bombing victims and their families.

As the congregation prepares for Easter, they will now be remembering both Jesus Christ and the lives lost in this tragedy.

“It’s almost fitting that when we go and celebrate resurrection in a week, that we’re going to be celebrating the resurrection of Christ and remembering those also that are with him,” Sarkis said.