Seventh-day Adventist believers in the Egyptian city of Assiut will long remember Aug. 14, 2013, the day that a mob burned down their church and tried to kill their pastor.
They also won’t soon forget March 19, 2016, the day when government and religious officials joined them in celebrating the opening of a new building to replace the destroyed church.
Government leaders, who helped rebuild the church, congratulated church members at the dedication ceremony in Assiut, located about 250 miles (400 kilometers) south of the capital, Cairo. A representative of Al-Hazar, a respected Islamic legal institute, gave a speech underscoring the importance of unity between Christians and Muslims in Egypt.
“The celebration and rededication of the Assiut church means a lot to all Adventists in Egypt,” said Kleyton Feitosa, president of the Adventist Church’s Egypt-Sudan Field.
The attack came amid widespread riots following the toppling of the country’s president in mass protests.
The pastor and his wife hid in an upstairs apartment and were not found by the attackers, who set the church on fire, ANN reported at the time. Muslim neighbors rescued them from the burning building.
“By God’s grace, we escaped the flames,” said the pastor, Salib Nasrallah, who is now retired. “But we still suffer from the emotional and psychological stress that we had to go through.”
No one has been charged or jailed in connection with the attack. Read full report